PHILOSOPHY OF CARE
People seek therapy for a range of reasons, from depression and anxiety to experiences of anguish, transition, and decision-making. Meeting weekly for individual therapy sessions provides an opportunity to get to know yourself and the patterns of your life in a deep and complex way. Alternatively, it can be a place to engage in healing or to receive support while coping with life events that you never anticipated would happen to you. Some people enter therapy for a specific problem or dilemma, and may remain in therapy only until their troublesome symptoms or difficulties have resolved. Others pursue therapy in an effort to make sense of larger life questions or experiences and may remain in therapy for a longer period of time. I am comfortable working in both short and longer-term modalities.
I believe that curiosity, compassion, and respect should guide the therapy process, and I take time at the beginning of therapy to discuss your wants, needs, and hopes for how we will work together and what we will accomplish. I strive to understand my patients holistically, and as such, I explore with my patients the biological, psychological, social/relational, and cultural components of their specific problem. From there, we will develop a treatment plan personalized to you. We will collaboratively choose therapeutic approaches that are based on therapy goals, your individual patient characteristics, and research-supported interventions.
When establishing goals of therapy, I like to work together with my patients to identify first order and second order change goals.
First order change goals are often practical, solution-focused interventions that help a patient reduce their recent suffering, increase their coping abilities, problem-solve ongoing difficult life circumstances, and build positive habits that can assist in protecting patients from becoming more overwhelmed. In working toward first order change goals, I often utilize behavioral or cognitive-behavioral approaches, as well as aspects of mindfulness-based interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I often utilize “homework” outside of therapy, such as asking patients to practice coping skills or track their mood throughout the week. Because different approaches work for different patients, I try to be flexible and creative in helping patients improve their repertoire for coping with their unique life challenges.
Second order change goals commonly target a patient’s sense of self; for instance: exploring and examining personal narrative, identifying and refining one’s core beliefs about themself and/or about the world around them, building new or more adaptive relational/attachment styles, and/or processing past trauma(s). For engaging second order change goals, I typically rely on trauma-informed, contextual, relational, and dynamic approaches. I will explore with the patient the nature of their family system, and how they learned to understand themselves, others, and intimacy through their family system. I also pay particular attention to how a patient’s current difficulties are manifesting in their current relationships, and how these patterns may be reenacted within their core relationships, even within the therapeutic relationship.
As a therapist, I strive to be genuine, emotionally present, interpersonally aware, as well as courageous in being vulnerable and pushing beyond my own comfort levels in the service of bringing forth my patients’ best selves.
Often patients will benefit best from a treatment team approach. Depending on the particular issues a patient is facing, it may be best to establish concurrent care and ongoing collaboration with a primary care physician, psychiatrist, social worker, couples or family therapist, or other medical or mental health care provider. Additionally, a patient may benefit from an increased level of care (e.g., inpatient hospitalization, residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment program), depending on the severity of symptoms and patient’s level of functioning.
Overall, I strive to collaborate with patients on determining clear goals and approaches to therapy. Often these goals and approaches will evolve as therapy progresses, and I will often check in with patients regarding progress toward these goals. I utilize both objective measures and subjective patient reports to track and evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy experience. I respect the fact that patients bring very sensitive and vulnerable parts of their lives to therapy, and I see it as my responsibility to make therapy a brave, welcoming, and productive space for all my patients.
Among the many identities that I hold, I am a sports fan, a partner, a daughter and a sister, a lover of nature and of the arts, a deep thinker, a seeker— I usually have a cup of something warm in my hand, and I am always eager for a good travel recommendation. I am often described as calm, steady, quick-witted, and attentive. I believe that infusing humor and warmth into the hard places can make them easier to bear, and I believe deeply in the power of honest and human connection to ease the struggles of life. I enjoy working with patients who are interested in exploring who they are, what they want, and how to live a life that better aligns with their values.
Education and LicensureLicensed Psychologist – State of Utah, since 2018
Ph.D. Counseling Psychology (APA Accredited), University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, August 2017
B.A. Psychology & Sociology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, May 2008
Clinical ExperienceI was born and raised in the desert southwest. I grew up in Tucson amongst the tall saguaros and I completed my undergraduate degree with honors in psychology and sociology at the University of Arizona. As an undergraduate, I worked as a research assistant in the Anxiety Research Group on projects examining the effects of psychological stress, anxiety, and fear on episodic memory performance.
After more than two decades of year-round sun, I was drawn to northern Utah and the Wasatch and Uinta Mountain ranges featuring four distinct seasons, each offering their own unique splendor and brilliance. I earned a Ph.D. from the APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in August of 2017. During my doctoral training, I completed yearlong clinical rotations at the University of Utah’s Counseling Center, School of Medicine, Women’s Resource Center, and Educational Assessment and Student Support Clinic, as well as off campus rotations at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, the Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment, and the Rape Recovery Center.
Broadly, my doctoral research explored how change happens—or doesn’t—in psychotherapy and in mental health care systems at large. My dissertation concentrated on understanding the utilization and effectiveness of combined (individual plus group) mental health treatment in routine clinical care. I also worked on research projects related to identifying features of effective therapists and understanding the impact of treatment delivery practices and administrative policies on patient satisfaction, service utilization and outcomes.
I headed north again, and this time more west, to the fresh misty rain and majestic natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest to complete a predoctoral internship in health service psychology at the University of Washington Counseling Center (APA accredited). There, I provided short-term psychotherapy—individual, couples, and group—to undergraduate and graduate students. I also provided career and therapeutic assessment services and outreach seminars. As part of my internship training I specialized in trauma-focused treatment and trauma-informed care for individuals with distant and/or recent histories of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse or harm. This specialization area included both supervised clinical experience and didactic instruction from a staff specialist. Multicultural competency and social justice issues in psychology were pillars of the training program, and I worked with a diverse student population from across the globe at this top-tier university.
I selected to return to Salt Lake City to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in evidence-based psychotherapies at the Utah Center for Evidence Based Treatment. Fellowship training fortified my expertise in mental health diagnosis, assessment, consultation, and intervention for adults with multifaceted clinical histories and needs in an outpatient care setting. The scientist-practitioner training program facilitated a sharper understanding of the most up-to-date scientific literature and promoted development of advanced competencies in the provision of full-model DBT (i.e., individual, skills training group, phone coaching, and consult team) as well as other empirically supported approaches and protocols for addressing psychologically and medically complex concerns related to mood and anxiety, trauma and stress-related disorders, and clinical/behavioral health.
Prior to graduate school I worked at La Frontera Center, a large state-funded community mental and behavioral health agency in southern Arizona, providing individual case management services to adults with chronic and/or severe and persistent mental illness. I also worked at Cottonwood de Tucson, an intensive and holistic inpatient behavioral health and substance abuse rehabilitation treatment facility for adults addressing addiction or co-occurring disorders.
Overall, I believe I’ve benefited from my extensive training and assorted clinical experiences helping adults of all ages, backgrounds, and presenting concerns build on their strengths to overcome their current challenges in day-to-day life, relationships, and self-development. Having experience in a wide range of treatment settings, I am comfortable working with patients in both brief and longer-term models of care and I am practiced in principle-guided therapy as well as manualized treatment approaches. I also feel comfortable assessing and intervening in instances or episodes of crisis and I value operating as a part of an interdisciplinary provider team.
If you have any additional questions about my training or qualifications, please feel free to contact me.
Professional AffiliationsAmerican Psychological Association
Association for Psychological Science
Utah Psychological Association
Area of SpecialtyHelping People With
Adjustment & Life Transitions
Anxiety & Worry
Binge Eating & Bulimia
Body Image, including Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Career Development, including career exploration, decision making, and planning
Chronic Relapse & Addictive Patterns
Fertility, Family Planning, & Pregnancy-related concerns
Grief & Loss
LGBTQ Affirmative Therapy
Medical Illness & Physical Health-related concerns
Men’s Issues, including challenges associated with traditional and nontraditional male roles and identities
Panic Disorder & Panic Attacks
Posttraumatic Stress (PTSD)
Sex & Sexuality
Sleep Disorder & Other Sleep-related concerns
Spirituality & Faith, including religious transitions
Trauma & Abuse
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Processing Therapy
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Exposure and Response Prevention
Functional Analytic Psychotherapy
Humanistic (Person-Centered) Therapy
ulticultural & Feminist Therapy
Prolonged Exposure Therapy
Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy
Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation
Solution Focused Brief Therapy
Trauma Informed Care