PHILOSOPHY OF CARE
Working together, or collaborative care, is vital in psychological treatment. In my experience, individuals are driven toward self-improvement and work to find solutions to their own concerns or problems. Oftentimes when one is seeking therapy, they have attempted many solutions on their own, but have not achieved the desired results. Although this may create frustration and feelings of hopelessness, it can serve as an advantage in therapy, if utilized. Even in simple physics, it is easier to keep a moving object moving. Therefore, therapy is most effective when the energy of an individual’s efforts begun at home is combined with the efforts of a professional. By utilizing your strengths in conjunction with the strengths, techniques, and experience that I provide as a therapist, we can best achieve your desired treatment goals.
Identification of treatment goals should be a collaborative process as well. Upon entering treatment, the main focus or goal is generally clear to the person seeking help. Although the focus of therapy should center around that goal, it is important for an individual to develop sub-goals and gain an understanding of how those sub-goals are the building blocks to achieving the main goal. This will increase motivation to take the necessary steps as well as take a challenging task on in manageable parts. Furthermore, collaborative treatment planning is important in noting both short and long-term goals. Oftentimes, after working on a problem for a length of time, the focus of the individual becomes on how to solve the immediate problem, which is also the immediate goal of the therapist. However, a therapist cannot only help alleviate the immediate concern of the client, but also reduce the potential of similar concerns arising in the future by identifying long-term treatment goals as well. Finally, collaboration often needs to extend beyond the therapeutic relationship in order to be most effective. This involves the coordination of care of other pertinent professionals, such as prescribing physicians. By coordinating all the efforts an individual is making in their change, long-term success will be better ensured.
Growth, change, and self-improvement can be difficult and uncomfortable. Successfully navigating these “growing pains” requires a therapeutic relationship built on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.Such a foundation enables the necessary supportive challenge to occur within treatment. This means that while one feels safe at all times, they are challenged to consider new perspectives and attempt new behaviors with the support of the therapist.This balance of challenge and support is imperative in treatment being effective due to the difficulty of making changes.
While the foundation of a strong therapeutic relationships is important for all, individuals have different needs; therefore, therapy must be flexible as well. Within clients themselves, needs shift throughout the therapeutic process. At times, the need is for a sounding board—someone to listen and provide a new perspective and at other times the need is for more direct ideas/skills of how to make a change. Flexibility also encompasses the approach to a problem be it a focus on emotions, thoughts, or behaviors. Flexibility means customizing, taking what changes begin in the therapy room and applying them to real-world settings in a manner appropriate to individual concerns.
Education and LicensurePh.D. in Clinical Psychology, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID, August, 2010
Licensed Psychologist, State of Utah, since 2010
Clinical ExperienceI began my training in 2003 at Idaho State University in the Clinical Psychology program. This program was a generalist program focused on a wide variety of diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, marital/family discord, personality disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, etc. Throughout my training, I also worked in a variety of both inpatient and outpatient settings such as community mental health centers, university counseling centers, behavioral health units, residential and outpatient substance abuse facilities, and mental health hospitals. The capstone of my clinical training prior to graduation was an internship at the Central Texas VA, where I had the opportunity to utilize my training with veterans. In September, 2009, I moved to Utah and began working in the private practice established by Dr. Deborah Christensen.
Professional AffiliationsAmerican Psychological Association
Utah Psychological Association
Area of SpecialtyHelping People With
Grief/Bereavement & Loss
Couples/Marital/Relationship Conflict & Dysfunction
Dissociative Disorders & Dissociative Identity Disorder
LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma & Abuse
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Gottman Informed Couple’s Therapy
Interpersonal Process Therapy
Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy