Therapist in Strongsville, OH
I'm so glad you are here.
It means, more than likely, you are a parent like me and maybe feeling a little overwhelmed or even quite concerned about your teen. You may have tried traditional routes and you are simply not seeing results. Your teen may still feel misunderstood and lonely despite individual therapy. You are beginning to shut down and loose hope that things are ever going to feel different.
As a parent, I understand how scary it can feel when our children are unhappy or spinning their wheels.
I became a therapist specializing in teens because those were the most confusing, challenging years of my life. It is where I developed a pretty bad self-esteem and entered the huge, overwhelming world with tons of deep-seated fears, intense anxiety, blossoming phobias, and a deep belief that I simply was not good enough. I used perfectionism and a shiny exterior image to try and control these scary experiences.
My super low self-esteem caused me to abandoned my dream of attending art school to pursue a “more acceptable, safer path.” This set me off on a very dissatisfying first career and I stayed creatively blocked for about a decade.
So now, as a therapist, I try to be the type of adult I didn’t have in my life when I was a teen — that someone who truly listens, who empowers people to create their own path forward, and who witnesses creativity and encourages it to be nurtured.
I want the teens I work with to gain the courage and skills to be fully, uniquely themselves in a world that doesn’t always feel welcoming.
Ursuline College: Master of Art in Counseling and Art Therapy, 2014
The Ohio State University: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1994
Certifications and License
Licensed Processional Clinical Counselor State of Ohio: E.1800768
Board Certified Art Therapist: 16-297
EMDR Trained Therapist
AMSR and CAMS Suicide Prevention and Treatment Certification
MARI Practitioner since 2014
Usui Reiki Practitioner: Level II since 2007
While most of my training and experience has been with children and adolescents, I have also worked with adults in a variety of settings. I completed my extensive clinical training at Cleveland Clinic-Lutheran Hospital Behavioral Health, Art Therapy Studio - United Cerebral Palsy, Akron Children's Hospital - Expressive Therapy Center, and New Directions - Residential Dual-Diagnosis Addiction Treatment for Adolescents.
After graduation, I had the privilege of working with adults in crisis on the acute psychology and detoxification units at the Cleveland Clinic - Lutheran Hospital. Running groups in an environment where people are often experiencing deep and profound pain, can be challenging. However, I found that art and creative expression simply found a way through the chaos and created opportunities for deep insight and a new way to cope with stress and anger. Combining creative expression with mindfulness, cognitive behavioral techniques, and education about addiction and mental health often allowed patients to envision a new way forward.
For close to 4 years I worked with children and teens at Akron Children's Hospital as an Art Therapist for the Expressive Therapy Center. It was an honor to watch patients light up when given the opportunity to be creative. Whether it was a child dealing with a complex, chronic medical condition, a parent concerned about their child's survival, or a teen experiencing suicidal thoughts and self-harming behavior, creative expression allowed them to connect to something "life-giving", something softer and kinder than their pain. Through a variety of groups, individual sessions, and home visits for palliative care patients, I was invited into each patient and family's life to witness and hold space for their pain, sadness, and stress. I was also witness to many miracles of recovery.
I bring all of this experience, passion, and care into every group, individual session, and workshop. I strive to create a non-judgmental environment so teens can find new ways forward and parents can feel supported.
TEN MORE Tidbits
I have taken several nature awareness and survival classes and spent 3 days in the forest with only water, a mosquito net, and toilet paper.
I have played volleyball since I was 13 years old and still love the game.
I have been to Quito, Ecuador and stood on the equator. Yes, you can balance an egg on a nail there.
I have been an artist for more than 30 years!
I love connecting people to their creative intuition and power.
I have two cats, Charlie and Daisy
I used to teach children's painting classes at community centers and summer camps.
I can cut a rug with the right music and enough space.
I started a community garden but the ground hogs won.
I have lived in the Cleveland area my whole life.