I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with experience and training in individual (children, adolescents and adults), group and family therapy, crisis, homelessness, mental health and substance abuse.
I discovered my passion for social work while in high school. Volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation connected me with my community and local children. I organized fundraisers, dances, and sold stars at basketball games to help one deserving child achieve their wish. It was an enriching and deeply important moment in my young life that compelled me to pursue this career .
In 2011, I graduated from Aurora University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. Throughout my senior year, I was an intern at the local homeless shelter, Hesed House. I gained experience working with homeless veterans and families, and with individuals struggling with addiction. I began working one-on-one with people, learning their unique stories, their motivations, their cares, and what drove each person to be strong. Through this incredible opportunity, I identified my interest in individual work. I love the connection I feel with someone who meets with me on a consistent basis, and I eagerly create the safe environment for people to learn about themselves and to gain access to the tools that will enable them to thrive.
I believe in building mutual trust between the client and myself, which begins with listening to the individual’s goals and helping them to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves. I work to reduce harm, to enable client’s self-care, and to create a sense of safety a client can utilize within all aspects of their daily lives.
While completing my Master’s in 2012, I was working as a psychiatric social work intern at Adventist Hinsdale Psychiatric Inpatient Unit where I’d start with my client’s during the crisis intervention phase in the ER., perform their intake assessments on the unit and then we’d work together during their entire stay at Adventist, focusing on short-term therapy, cognitive-behavioral group work, and discharge planning. I advocated for the client’s long-term care after discharge, and worked with the outpatient substance abuse program to provide further services to my clients.
My next step after graduation was working at Pioneer Center for Human Services. I returned to individual therapy at Pioneer, working primarily with adults struggling with mental health symptoms, such as psychosis, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. My therapy style focused on the collective life experience. We worked on everything, from their relationships with significant others and family members, to their positions at work and within their communities.
I work with clients to encourage self-help while maintaining a professional and supportive relationship, acting as a guide, advocate and broker between resources. My ultimate goal with any client is to help them achieve independence. I encourage introspection, self-reflection, and examination of past coping mechanisms in the hope that one day they’ll no longer feel a need to visit me.
Ultimately, I act as their guide, lending a hand as we go along their journey, identifying triggers, understanding and nurturing boundaries, and learning how to advocate for themselves in the community so that one day they will have the confidence and knowledge to do it on their own.
At Tabor Therapy Group, this energy is used to advocate for children with their foster parents and case workers. I nurture the bond between services, ensuring all involved are on the same page, always working towards the children’s best interest.
In a child’s therapy session, I utilize Trauma-Focused Play Therapy, which includes techniques using play, art and sand to encourage the child’s self-expression and voice. As most of the children I work with at Tabor are part of the DCFS system, we focus together on processing through trauma. Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which encourages mindfulness, is a vital part of the trauma-focused sessions. With children, I help them to break through this caustic idea that life is never safe. Through mindfulness, we work together to achieve a sense of security in the immediate moment between the child, their surroundings, and their relationships.
I provide therapeutic intervention services which facilitate the overall mental well-being of the client by utilizing Evidenced Based Practices through therapy, case management and client centered consultation.
With adults, my most frequent modalities are Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused, Client Centered, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. A large part of this is motivating the client and teaching them how to motivate themselves. Regardless of their initial goal, whether it be to use less, reduce depression, or return to school, the techniques of Motivational Interviewing encourages what we call “change talk.”
A little about me…
I grew up in Galena, Illinois on a horse farm, surrounded by a flurry of dogs, cats, and other loveable animals who joined our family along the way. I love softball and basketball, and—thanks to my husband—have become quite the Cub’s fan. I also enjoy interior design, crafting, using my creative side to create rustic spaces, and I love playing with my goofy, energetic Westie puppy, Rizzo. My family and friends are absolutely paramount, and my life would not be as enriching and complete without them.
Please contact me if you would like to schedule an appointment for yourself or your child.