I am lively, warm, interactive and highly attuned to how your feelings reveal themselves as we talk. I listen to your words as well as pay close attention to your facial expressions, tone of voice and how your body moves and holds itself to gather clues about the emotional content at play. I can be quite directive, however I’m just as comfortable giving you my quiet attention if that is what’s needed. Overall, I am rigorously dedicated to making our time together meaningful and useful.
My early years as a clinician were spent at St. David’s Pavilion, a psychiatric hospital, working with patients in acute mental health crises. I was a program therapist for adults with mood, anxiety and thought disorders as well as substance abuse and eating disorders. I later became the director of the child and adolescent psychiatric unit where I supervised both inpatient and outpatient services and the adolescent chemical dependency program. My time there honed my clinical and case conceptualization skills, sharpened my critical thinking and ability to prioritize and developed my native interest in leadership and collaborative problem-solving. It also allowed me to make contact with the many dimensions of human psychological suffering and to find effective ways to help.
I have studied the work of and/or trained with many talented clinicians over the years. Those who have most powerfully influenced me include: Murray Bowen, MD (Family Systems Theory); Garry Landreth, PhD (Non-Directive Play Therapy); Ross Greene, PhD (Collaborative Problem Solving); Dan Siegel, MD (Interpersonal Neurobiology & Attachment Theory); Allan Schore, PhD (Regulation Theory); Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT (A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy); Pat Ogden, PhD (Sensorimotor Psychotherapy); Peter Fonagy, PhD, Jon Allen, PhD, Anthony Bateman, FRCPsych & Efrain Bleiberg, PhD (Mentalization-Based Treatment); Marsha Linehan, PhD (Dialectical Behavior Therapy); Ron Siegel, PsyD (Mindfulness).
I received my Master’s of Science in Social Work (MSSW) with a concentration in Mental Health from The University of Texas at Austin in 1996. I did internships at Austin Family House, a halfway house for women recovering from chemical dependency and their children, and on the child and adolescent psychiatric unit at St. David’s Pavilion. Upon graduation, I was awarded membership in the honor society Phi Kappa Phi.
My undergraduate work was in English Literature with a concentration in Women’s Studies at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where I graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1988.
I am currently the Vice President of Austin IN Connection, a nonprofit organization that provides training for professionals and community outreach to Head Start families based on the science and practice of attachment theory and interpersonal neurobiology. I served as board President of the Austin Society of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in 2009. I am also an active member of the Austin chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and was responsible for bringing the NEA.BPD Family Connections program (for family members of those with Borderline Personality Disorder) to Austin in 2007.