I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in La Quinta and serving the Coachella Valley in Southern California.
I completed 14 years of a college education. I was able to indulge my deep love of literature and earn my undergrad degree in English. I concurrently earned my degree in speech and theatre. My studies provided me with a rich appreciation for our cultural history, and theater. To this day, literature continues to feed my soul as well as nourish my mind.
I also earned my teaching certification and began my career as a high school English teacher and speech coach. I was assigned to teach the students determined to be “at risk.” I enjoyed working with this population because I was drawn to students who were troubled and in need of support. This led me to train to become a full time school counselor. I entered the Counseling Masters Program. I earned my masters and was trained and certified as a counselor. I began working with students experiencing a great deal of pain. I also worked closely with teachers and parents to provide a team approach of support to my students and their healing.
I segued from school counseling into community counseling. The organization I worked for contracted services with Polk County to provide counseling for families who were torn apart by drugs and alcohol. I was commissioned to handle many painful cases of parents who lost their children because of their drug and alcohol use. My goal was to provide individual counseling to the parents - which was part didactic and part therapeutic. I was teaching parents about their disease of addiction and encouraging them as they progressed along a recovery path. I also provided counseling to the children of these parents, helping them understand that they were not responsible for the addiction, couldn’t fix it, but could learn tools to help themselves. I helped them work through their conflicted feelings of hating the disease and loving their parents. My greatest joy came from helping the families reunite and begin the recovery journey together. I deeply believe that families function best when they can work together and support one another into healing.
While earning my doctorate, I taught graduate students counseling courses at Drake University. I found a great deal of satisfaction teaching professionals to develop their skills as therapists.
My doctoral dissertation topic is: Sharing the Final Experience: Caring for a Terminally Ill Spouse into Widowhood. This topic was very near and dear to my heart. I also trained in Hospice end-of-life care and provided support to the terminally ill and their loved ones.
Once I relocated to California I worked as a therapist in a group home for troubled youth. Again these were young people separated from their families for a myriad of reasons. Through individual and group counseling my ultimate goal was to help reunite these young people with their families – when possible.
I also worked as a therapist for foster children and families. In addition to this work, I also taught parenting classes to hopeful foster parents.
My tenure at the Betty Ford Center provided me a wide range of opportunities. As a trainer for professionals, I facilitated addiction and recovery training for medical students from medical schools all over the country. I also provided education for professionals in the field of Law, Education, Mental Health, and Entertainment, just to name a few. I was fortunate to work with intelligent, thoughtful professionals from a myriad of careers interested in understanding the disease and treatment of addiction.
I worked with The Betty Ford Center physicians to design the week long addiction and recovery curriculum, I hosted visiting professionals from countries around the world; including Finland, Turkey, England, Japan, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand, among others.
I have presented to various organizations including: "Sigma Chi" and "It Can Happen to Boys, too", local law enforcement agencies, mental health agencies, and schools.
Topics I've presented on include:
Addiction and Recovery
;Identifying the addict in your life and how you are impacted; Understanding Deaf Culture;
Parenting a deaf child and how to navigate challenges to create opportunities
; How can therapists work with the Deaf?; Working with oppositional and defiant adolescents;
Spiritual growth through emotional challenges;
Integrating the essence of the inner child with the adult; and Mindful meditation.
I am certified in Hypnotherapy
I am certified in Life Span Integration - a technique designed to facilitate healing from anxiety, depression, and trauma.
I am certified in Level 1 of Gottman Marriage Counseling Methods
I am certified in Intervention (Alcohol and Drug) Intervention
Working in private practice is my first love. My focus is client-centered. I am dedicated to providing a safe, secure, confidential environment for clients who are motivated to move through painful life events into transformative, life-affirming opportunities of new growth.
All of us walk a journey through life. All of us have a story to tell. In my life I have experienced the ravages of addiction in my family.
I was care-giver for my spouse dying from cancer, and then I was a widow at the age of 31. My daughter and I spent the next five years attempting to create a new life with a million fractured pieces. I understand the fragility of grieving in a society that is often insensitive to the journey. I lived it and I trained for it.
Marriage in the second part of life - of course there have been challenges! We've had difficulties blending our two families. After all, the only one who really invited me to the family is my spouse. We adopted an older child with special needs, parenting, coupling, professional life, college, and the gamut of emotions that surface by being present in my own life.
I am in a committed and caring marriage to my best friend, Bob. With awe, joy, and sometimes bewilderment, I raised two children. I also have two adult bonus-children, and I get to be G'Ma to their lovely children. We are notorious dog lovers and are well trained by our furry friends.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” Richard Bach