Licensed Social Worker -
Even though our culture has developed the attitude that something called “happiness” should be our default state, life is very often hard. Even when we have all of the basic needs of life covered, we all face difficult transitions, experience frightening situations, and often feel at the mercy of forces beyond our control. My philosophy is that much of our depression, anxiety, grief, anger, shame, and other mental states result from some kind of transition—a shift in how we see ourselves, others, and the world around us.
All human beings experience loss and change—marriage and or divorce; the death of loved ones; pregnancy, miscarriage, birth, or stillbirth; spiritual searching; graduation; moving from one place to another; natural disasters; chronic illness, and any number of others. Some transitions can be exciting and hoped for (for example, marriage or graduation), while at the same time being sources of stress (What will this be like? What do I do now?). Other transitions can take our breath away by their sheer brutality (for example, being the victim of personal violence, or the death of a child, sibling, or parent). A big part of a transition is a shift in how we see ourselves—our personal identities.
Life transitions may be planned, or they can take us by surprise, such as what happened when one of my darling daughters died in 2016. At that time, I was privileged to be able to immediately seek out a therapist who could support me as I walked through this sudden and dramatic transition. As a result of this traumatic family experience, I became a therapist out of a desire to support others as they navigate their own personal transitions.
My journey as a therapist is just as surely the result of almost 20 years of academic work as a student and university professor. I have an undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Houston (1978), and a masters (2002) and Ph.D. (2012) in Religious Studies from Arizona State University, where I have taught *secular* religious studies classes for the last 15 years. I returned to school in 2016 to earn a Master of Social Work (2018) from ASU, precisely so I could do this work while continuing to teach full time at ASU.
This education and experience also led me to a special interest in the connections between religion and mental health. I have deep intellectual and personal understanding of how religion operates in people’s lives. This focus allows me to provide an expanded level of support to clients experiencing difficulties in relation to their religious identity. Examples include conflicts related to gender issues, uses of power and authority, mixed-faith marriages and or relationships with others who are strained because of a faith change, etc.
Regardless of the issue/s that bring you into therapy, I commit to being an empathetic and compassionate collaborator with you as we explore solutions that will help you move toward—rather away from—the people and things that matter most to you. Even if you just want someone to listen, I can validate your experience and concerns, walk with you as you cultivate personal growth, and help you learn to deal with difficult emotions. You will grow and change by participating in activities that involve learning cognitive restructuring, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and personal effectiveness Skills—and, especially, by practicing mindfulness—to help deal with difficult situations you face.
In my personal life, I am extremely happily married, have five adult children, eight fabulous grandchildren, and three cats. I love traveling (especially with family and for music), sailing, films, video gaming, and the great outdoors; and I am persistently hungry for new knowledge and enhanced understanding of the world and how it works.
[I am licensed by the state of Arizona (license LMSW-17582) and I am under the direct supervision of Tandie Myles, LCSW, who is licensed and approved as my supervisor by the state of Arizona.]
Skills and Expertise
Adjustment to College
Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
Loss or Grief
Mindfulness based therapy
Navigating Identity in Relationships
Trauma and PTSD
Video Game Addiction
Acceptance Commitment Therapy
DBT Informed Therapy
Therapy unique to each client