I began my work with children and families as a Mental Health Technician at Youth Focus Psychiatric Residential Treatment Center (PRTF) for children and adolescents with severe mental health issues while completing my undergraduate degree at Greensboro College. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with Minors in Ethics and Child & Family Studies, I returned to my home state of Maryland to work at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the Department of Developmental Psychopathology. During that time I also coached high school wrestling and lacrosse. While at NIMH, I assisted with the collection and analysis of data in longitudinal studies focusing on the relationship between adolescents with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and their mothers. Additionally, I assisted on a similar longitudinal study for adolescents diagnosed with Conduct Disorder and a third study on brain lateralization with people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Despite a strong interest in researching moral development in children and adolescents, my experience at NIMH helped me clarify my long-held belief that my skills would be best applied by interacting with others in a therapeutic setting versus one of data collection and analysis. My initial interest was to focus on helping children and adolescents individually. I wanted to be able to work with those age groups to minimize the need for out of home placement in facilities like PRTFs or Group Homes. As I thought more about my personal and professional experiences, I could not ignore the role that families played in a child’s illness and recovery. This led me to seek out a graduate program that took in to account the importance of addressing the larger picture of one’s interactions with others and his/her environment.
My formal education as a Marriage & Family Therapist was completed at the University of Maryland, College Park; one of the most competitive and recognized Marriage & Family Therapy programs in the nation. Since graduating, I have worked for agencies in Maryland and North Carolina providing a range of services, including Intensive In-home therapy, Community Support Team services and work with individuals, couples, and families in their home and community. I have also provided supervision to provisionally and fully licensed Outpatient Therapists and Intensive In-home Team Leads. I completed the training to become an American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) Approved Supervisor in 2012. I have been fully licensed in North Carolina (license number 1151) since 2006 and in private practice since 2008.