Who Am I?
I grew up the middle daughter on a farm in Texas. In my home, I learned to use food to keep my feelings hidden and to comfort myself. I started putting on extra weight in grade school. In high school, I was active in band, drama, choir, student council, and church. The summer after graduation, I discovered what I know now as “bingeing.” Up and down the scale I went as I tried to manage my feelings and eating. I would lose weight, but my life would become rocky and I’d put the weight back on. My weight eventually reached 246 pounds.
For several years, I was angry, felt deeply disillusioned and was obviously depressed. In therapy, I was able to process my anger, speak honestly about the sources of my disillusionment, develop healthy thinking, take needed actions, and the depression lifted. Because of the shifts I made in therapy and lifestyle alterations, I lost the weight and have maintained 125-135 pounds since 2004.
With my new happiness and body, I started working on my “bucket list”. I took dance lessons and actually competed a few times. In fact, I met my husband while dancing. As I gained confidence, we started working out with Beachbody’s DVDs, backpacking, and running. My husband and I enjoy a lifestyle today that would have been so foreign to me before. We are busy being active and love to plan trips around fitness. I am so appreciative of the life that I now have and I am thrilled and proud to be a mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother.
I never met a strong person with an easy past.
Why I do this work?
People are always saying to me, “I don’t know how you listen to peoples’ problems all day.” I have never felt like that. My work is a joy to me.
This is the work I was meant to do. For me, therapy was a transforming experience and I am passionate about helping others have their own “darkness into light experiences.”
I earned my Bachelors of Science from Texas A & M in Agricultural Economics. After having worked in community development and federal lending for many years, I graduated with a Masters in Social Work (with honors) from Metro State University and served helping combat veterans as a mental health professional.
I am vastly inquisitive about humanity and why we do the things we do. I am an avid reader and keep abreast of the latest developments in my field and other areas of interest. I hold certifications in weight loss, lifestyle management, eating disorders, trauma treatment, healing daughters of narcissistic mothers, and cognitive behavioral therapy. I am also trained in and use Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Emotionally Focused Couples counseling (EFT). I am a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Colorado Society of Clinical Social Workers (CSCSW), the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA), and the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists (NACBT). I am also a certified “Will I Ever Be Good Enough” (WIEBGE) clinician and an associate member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT).
Community: I have volunteered my time at a homeless resource center and at the Denver Vet Center, which provides outpatient mental health counseling for combat veterans. I currently volunteer as a wellness coach and host challenge groups regularly to help support others’ fitness and weight loss goals.