Mental Health Practitioner
I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1990 with a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling. I have been in private practice since that time, serving individuals, couples and families.
COUPLES COUNSELING: I utilize findings from the research on successful marriages and divorce prevention in my work with couples. Here is a sampling of what we know from some of the best researchers in the country. Feeling unloved is the most commonly cited reason for wanting a divorce. To take each other for granted, failing to demonstrate love and affection, is a real mistake. Many couples become overly focused on the children; it is easy to see how this can happen, especially with young kids. The marital research shows that couples need to regularly spend time with one another, without the children present, in order to enjoy each other’s company fully and have a chance to really communicate.
We also know that all couples have areas in which they disagree. These may be matters involving money management, child rearing practices, sexual intimacy or the in-laws, as examples. Sometimes continued discussion will produce a resolution. However, when couples continue to argue time and time again, without resolution, we begin to suspect that these issues reflect personality differences, and/or a difference in values. If so, couples are unable to resolve the issue, and it just keeps coming up over and over again. In situations like these, the couple may need to accept the fact that they have a difference of opinion, stop blaming the other person and find a way to compromise. This is very important, because the continual argument can do real harm to the marriage as the fighting becomes more and more destructive. At this point, individuals do not feel understood or respected. These feeling represent other commonly cited reasons for divorce. Finally, someone usually withdraws from the argument, or shuts down. This is usually the male. Unfortunately, this only serves to increase the aggravation of the other spouse.
Consider taking some time to consult with an expert on breaking these patterns. Folks who withdraw from the conflict can learn to do something else which is going to be far more useful. Spouses can also learn how to raise a complaint in a productive, rather than destructive manner.
We can get very aroused physiologically during a fight, with heightened blood pressure and heart rate. When this happens, we are not thinking clearly and logically. Couples can learn specific techniques to slow down a marital argument before it gets out of control. Learn how to monitor this and take a break from the discussion when necessary.
We know that marriages can change and we know what works! In fact, sometimes marriages can change even if one person in the marriage starts to do something different. Make an appointment for counseling, even if your spouse refuses to come with you. Your spouse may join you when you share some encouraging ideas from the sessions.
DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY RECOVERY: Depression can come about in our lives for many reasons, such as job problems, family issues, health problems, divorce or death of a loved one. Folks may feel hopeless at these times. Anxiety can come from many sources as well. Fortunately, there are many tools to help us with these problems. We know, for example, that our thoughts can become illogical when we are anxious or depressed. This impacts our moods in a negative manner. The good news is that we CAN change our thought patterns and feel better.
Some folks will need better communication or assertiveness skills; these can be learned in a counseling setting. Finally, mindfulness is a skill which can decrease our stress and anxious thoughts. Skill development in this area helps us to stay in the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or present.
TRAUMA RESOLUTION: I use a powerful tool, called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to help individuals gain emotional distance from past painful experiences. Many folks come to counseling with depression, anxiety, or just a sense of not enjoying life fully. Others will state that they have low self esteem. This can be related to being abused or neglected as a child, or other traumatic experiences. EMDR is a tool utilized to resolve this past trauma, so that life can be lived fully today and in the future.
DIVORCE ADJUSTMENT: I work with folks to help them through the divorce process. This involves grieving the loss and facing the fears about establishing a new life. I enjoy helping individuals to identify their personal strengths as they move through this major life transition.
I also have a Master of Science Degree in Speech Pathology and have worked with children and adults with communication disorders. I welcome the opportunity to provide counseling services to this population.
PHILOSOPHY OF COUNSELING: My pledge to my clients is to listen and understand. It is important to honor one’s thoughts and feelings; in fact, this is the first part of the change process. The work is a collaboration, with the therapist and client together discussing goals and the ways to achieve them in counseling. I believe that people can change and grow and that everyone has personal strengths. For some folks, this includes utilizing spiritual and /or religious beliefs. It has been my experience that when this is the case, folks are able to make many positive changes in their lives.
Please e-mail me with questions about therapy and I will answer these promptly. I maintain day, evening and Saturday hours.