I am a nonbinary marital and family therapist with a passion for helping children, families, and anyone struggling with gender identity.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Springfield, MO
My personal struggles with gender identity pushed me to become active in the transgender community and to educate myself further about the needs of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming folks. I have been formally trained on the WPATH standards, I have organized and run transgender support groups, and I pride myself on opening doors for trans people rather than being a gatekeeper.
The family conflict in my past was a key reason for my choosing to become a marital and family therapist rather than pursuing a more traditional counseling route. It has always been important to me to make sure that all voices are heard when a family is in conflict, and my goal in family therapy is to ensure that everyone is able to express their needs and desires without fear.
I have focused much of my career on helping children in crisis. My master's thesis was based around helping grieving children using bibliotherapy, and I have taken numerous trainings on sandtray therapy and other play therapy techniques, as well as crafting many of my own. I have worked with children with severe mental health concerns--I was previously the therapist for a residential treatment center for children ages 6-11, and I wrote the CBT-based program that we used to help our residents.
Therapy is not one-size-fits-all; people have a variety of needs and learn in a variety of ways. Experiential therapy is about crafting personalized therapy experiences based on the therapist's knowledge of the clients and the issues that they present in the moment. While in training, I found that this was the most comfortable approach for me--using the tools that I have gathered as a therapist to address clients' needs as they are presented rather than trying to plan too far ahead.
Much of therapy, especially with younger clients, is about the process of joining: becoming part of the client's world in order to help them work through the issues that are concerning them. I believe that there is no better way to join with clients than to sit on the floor and play. The language of play helps us talk about the things that we cannot find the words to say. Using play therapy with clients allows me to assist them in voicing their deepest hurts in a more comfortable manner.
Treatment recommendations are most effective when the clinician believes in their effectiveness, to the point where they would use those recommendations in their own life. That is why I have incorporated mindfulness into my practice--I know that it works because I use it in my own life and have seen the positive results that it can produce. I use a variety of mindfulness interventions to work with clients to increase their focus, calm, and awareness of self.