Training and Background
Athletics and Coaching
I was recruited to West Virginia University on a full gymnastics scholarship. I was on the team for one year before experiencing a career ending injury. From there, I spent a year coaching and traveling with the team, offering support, technical instruction, and techniques to improve mental performance. Here is a team photo of the year WVU won the EAGL conference championship, a true testament to the athletes' hard work and dedication.
I was also a tutor for student-athletes throughout my undergraduate training, and this paired with my athlete and coaching experiences gives me an important perspective and knowledge about issues pertinent to student-athletes and performers.
Sport and Performance Psychology Training and Experience
As a former Division I athlete, athlete well-being is very important to me. Athletes face a lot of different stressors and pressures, including long training hours, high-pressure competitions and shows, spending extended periods of time away from home, managing multiple relationships, being visible on social media, and many more. Athletes are also really resilient. It's my aim to build on athletes' natural resiliency and strengths to help them perform the way they want.
I have extensive training in sport and performance psychology. I have a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Psychology from West Virginia University; a Master of Science in Kinesiology and Health with an emphasis in Sport Leadership and sport psychology techniques. I am heavily involved in the Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, American Psychological Association Division 47 in leadership and membership roles. I work with a wide variety of athletes and performers, but my niche specialty is aesthetic sports and artists. Aesthetic sports are sports with some kind of visual or judging component, like diving and gymnastics. This also applies to certain performers like circus artists or dancers. In these performance environments, performers can be susceptible to disordered eating.
I have worked with a variety of athletes and teams, including college-aged athletes, youth athletes, and both college-aged and professional circus performers. When I work with performers and teams, I start by conducting an assessment of their strengths and needs. Then we work together to create a specialized, tailored performance plan to help you perform the way you want. I am very open and flexible, and ask for feedback throughout the process. It is my goal to help athletes, performers, and teams optimize well-being and performance.
Clinical Training and Experience
I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Once I complete a fellowship and pass my licensing exams, I will be a licensed psychologist capable to address mental health concerns with children, teens, and adults.
I am trained as a generalist, meaning that I have a wide variety of experiences that allow me to address a wide variety of mental health concerns across the lifespan (with children, teenagers, and adults). But I also have specialty or niche areas, including eating disorders, sport psychology, mindfuless, and others - you can find these on the Specialty Areas page.
I am trained in evidence-based psychotherapies, which is a fancy way of saying I'm trained in the most up-to-date and effective treatments. Research has shown these treatments to be effective with lots of different people, so I'm choosing treatments that have the best chance of helping you reach your goals. However, this is only part of making therapy successful for you- you get out of therapy what you put in.
I have worked in a lot of different settings, including community outpatient clinics, athletics departments, hospitals, and inpatient settings, meaning that I have a lot of experiences that are likely to be applicable to a lot of different people.
I also have extensive specialty training in eating disorders, including treating eating disorders in athletes and performers. I have worked to support individuals struggling with a wide variety of eating-related difficulties for the last 7 years. This is a topic that I am extremely passionate about, and have spent a significant amount of time conducting research, creating programs, and directly providing support to individuals and families.
I am trained in the most effective treatments for eating disorders, including Enhanced Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E), Family-based Treatment for adolescent anorexia and bulimia (FBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). I am trained in both the identification and treatment of eating and weight-related difficulties. This includes training in psychological assessment for readiness for bariatric surgery, and ongoing therapy for those who are considering or have undergone bariatric surgery.
Eating disorders are extremely dangerous and can take hold of people's lives very quickly. It is my goal to help families take measures to prevent eating disorders, help families and adults recognize and identify the signs of eating disorders, to help adolescents and adults disentangle body weight and shape from self-worth, and help people live empowered lives free from societal pressures of thinness.
Next year, I will continue to hone my training in eating disorders at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. UNCCEED is one of the international leaders in clinical work and research for eating disorders. Services include comprehensive eating disorder evaluations, outpatient therapy, inpatient program, and a binge eating treatment study program.
My Therapy and Consulting Style
People describe me as warm, compassionate, and comforting. I am also quick-witted and I love to connect with people in a meaningful way. I feel called to this profession to do what is important to me: to help empower others to live their best life.
It's important to me that you feel heard and understood, and I also aim to give you skills and tools that help you in life. I practice cognitive-behavioral therapies, which are the therapies of choice for most eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, trauma-related disorders, obsessive-compulsive related disorders, and many more. I also practice Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT), which is a treatment that focuses on managing emotions and behaviors to help you live your life to the fullest. DBT focuses on reducing barriers to treatment and learning skills that help you. It also allows the therapist to be radically genuine and to work alongside you to address what is most important to you.
*Note: I am still completing training and thus not yet a licensed psychologist, meaning that I am not able to provide psychotherapy or assessment services at this time without supervision from a licensed psychologist. If you are looking for mental health services, please check with your insurance provider or online resources like Psychology Today for licensed mental health clinicians in your area. If you are currently experiencing a psychological crisis or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.