I generally use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy because most (if not all) issues stem from problematic thoughts and related behaviors. It is important for the client to be able to identify any distorted thinking, negative self-talk, or even automatic thoughts instilled in them from childhood, so that these thoughts can be challenged and, later, reframed into something more realistic and productive. We are often our own worst enemy, as well as our worst critic, and say terrible things to ourselves we would never say to someone else. Because of this, I also feel it is important to implement self-care and practice self-compassion. I also help clients build communication skills to increase assertiveness, and to set and maintain boundaries with others in order to improve personal relationships.
Life is too short to be miserable, to be worried all of the time, to stay in bad relationships, to feel as if no one understands you. But change is scary, and many often stay right where they are because they know the misery/anxiety/bad relationship/loneliness. It might not be what they want, but what they don’t know is much scarier. I want to show people their potential and all they are capable of. The purpose of my work is to help the client believe in him/herself. And I do what I do because in no way does what I do feel like “work” to me. I seem to understand human behavior very well, and always have, even before any training. If what I have is a gift, then I feel it is my social responsibility to share that gift with others.
I love my work. I love meeting people and talking to people all day. When I was a kid, my teachers would tell my parents it did not matter who they sat me next to in class, I would get even the quietest kid talking! I definitely think this is what I was meant to do. It is something I am always interested in, and almost always am trying to learn more about. Just as the client is asked to do work on themselves, I, too, try to continuously work on myself.
I received my undergraduate degree from Purdue University, and worked a few jobs for a while before realizing I likely was not going to be happy doing what I was doing for the rest of my life. I did not feel like I was really contributing to society in any way, which was an unsettling thought for me. I decided to return to school and study psychology, which was always an interest of mine, but too scary of a commitment when I was 18 years old. I attended Andrews University and received my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and then decided to continue and immediately started the PhD program in Counseling Psychology. Since graduating, I have been working at the counseling center at Andrews for students to receive free services, and also have seen clients at another office in Niles, Michigan for the last year and a half.