No matter what brought you here today, I want you to know that I have personal experience with what it’s like to feel doomed about the future or to have profound sadness about the past. If you are in pain and have been struggling with something for a while now, you may notice that you are telling yourself you are weak, lazy or broken because you keep falling into the same hole. I hear you and want you to know there is hope.
As a therapist, trainer and leader, I have a passion to help you uncover, understand, and move through emotional pain while identifying your deeply held values. For a few seasons in my life, I deeply struggled with a substance use disorder, attending addiction treatment multiple times. I relapsed after nearly five years of continuous sobriety and it was devastating to me both personally and professionally. My struggle with substances was an attempt to numb both painful past experiences and my debilitating and chronic anxiety disorder that persisted for years in my active and vigorous efforts to stay sober. My attempt to escape my own emotional pain worsened that very same pain over time and led to depression and profound despair.
After years of hard work in my own therapy, developing and using support systems and skills—which I rely on to this day—I can now say that I am a person in long-term recovery from addiction. I say this because the path I have walked out of the hell of active addiction provides me with a unique perspective that can be useful to others as a helping professional.
My treatment philosophy revolves around uncovering and creating a meaningful life while accepting and defusing from life’s inevitable pain. My aim is to help you create individualized and unique strategies to instantly apply into your own life. These strategies can help you break unhelpful patterns and move you toward a life you start building and dreaming about.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Utah. I work part-time as a psychotherapist with clients who are struggling primarily with addiction and anxiety issues. I also love training and teaching our clinical mental health team at Kaizen Center for Mental Health. Additionally, I provide Motivational Interviewing and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training for mental health agencies and occasionally guest lecture at the University of Utah. My educational background includes a Master of Social Work from the University of Utah with an emphasis in substance abuse treatment and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Utah State University. Prior to working as a mental health therapist, I worked as a corporate coach and trainer at a few sales and marketing companies in Utah.
I have a passion for continued learning and understanding in the field of contextual behavioral psychology as it develops additional evidenced-based therapies to understand and treat human suffering. I love to learn, especially how to better serve those lost in an unwinnable war of ridding themselves of negative feelings. I’ve found the struggle with needless suffering has roots in unresolved trauma and an inability to direct our awareness to put our mind on a leash. This lack of skill with handling our own mind’s thinking, predicting, planning and ruminating can often lead to unavoidable and endless misery.
Once we learn how to show up to our own problematic thoughts and painful experiences with new skills, we can reduce the impact and influence of those same painful things that trigger avoidance behavior like drugs, alcohol, and staring at your phone during important times in your life. Pivoting out of avoidance can help us find clarity and engagement with what we care about deep in our hearts.
I have found that my own path to liberation from suffering has included learning new skills to unhook from problematic thoughts, feelings, and memories—skills that I would have likely never found without help. These skills let me feel safe enough to continue exploring my deepest pain. Personally, this exploration has helped me find the usefulness in 12-step and Buddhist recovery programs, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and the strategies borne out of psychological flexibility and the field of contextual behavioral psychology. I have been privileged to witness that on the other side of my worst, most unwanted pain, with a posture of dignity for holding my pain compassionately, are the things I care about most in this world. I invite those I work with to do the same. As Dr. Kelly Wilson states, “We may find that what is most personal is most general.”
I have extensive post-graduate training and utilize the following therapeutic modalities:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Mind-Body Bridging
I am fascinated with understanding how humans leverage deeply held values to transform and liberate us from suffering and misery into vitality and hope. I aim to challenge myself, and those around me, to live life with intention and to remember our “why” in both personal and professional endeavors.