I came to the counseling profession in mid-life, after successfully pursuing careers in music performance, law and non-profit governance. My first exposure to mental health issues had happened in my family of origin, leaving me with a real sense of inquisitiveness about what makes people 'tick'. In the early years of my performing career I had also taken a job as a health insurance claims adjuster, a position in which I was exposed to some of the serious medical and disability issues faced by people with major mental illnesses. I had felt empathy with these people and wanted to know how to be more helpful to them.
In law school I took a course in mental health law and volunteered briefly at the civil legal clinic for the patients at the State Hospital in MacClenny, Florida. Following law school I worked with the Office of the Public Defender representing patients in involuntary civil commitment hearings for mental health or substance abuse treatment. I was struck by how little we in the legal system really understood about the struggles of those people and wanted to know more. I began reading voraciously on mental health topics and exploring hard questions about what constitutes mental health and illness, whether mental and emotional challenges were the result of nature or nurture (back then we hadn't figured out that the answer was 'both'), and how to increase one's own sense of mental and emotional wellness.
After transitioning to private law practice in the 90s, I also had the opportunity to help establish a summer chamber music series which later morphed into a local professional orchestra. Following this I ran a for-profit music school providing lessons and performing opportunities for hundreds of students of all ages every week. It was a joy to encourage and promote appreciation for music, which has so enriched my life, in others.
Yet, something was still missing for me professionally. I wanted to pursue a career in which I could help effectuate lasting, meaningful change in others' lives, not just solve single, time-limited problems as a lawyer or help people pursue an enjoyable hobby. I'd benefitted from therapy over the years and I thought, perhaps I can help others through therapy. I applied to to the Rollins College Master's in Counseling Program, was accepted, and graduated with honors at age 50. Following work in community mental health, substance abuse and court alternative programs, I established my private therapy practice in 2010. My work is trauma-informed, mindfulness-based, and focused on integrating mind-body-spirit health, on teaching and modeling practical problem-solving skills, and on enhancing our sense of values, purpose, meaning, curiosity, and wonder.
In my spare time I love contemplating big questions that I will never have answers to, travelling, music (still!), photography, reading, playing Scrabble, and spending time with my husband of 35 years and our two beloved senior cats. I'm happy to have over 22 years of continuous sobriety. And, I'm fortunate to have developed expertise in navigating through life using a wheelchair for mobility.
So, here I am - and here you are, reading this! What else would you like to know? I'd be glad to answer your questions about how I might help you if you'll reach out.
Areas of focus:
Midlife Transition Issues
Childlessness by Choice
Living Well with Disability
Depression, Anxiety and Panic
Grief and Loss
Self-Criticism, Guilt and Shame
Meaning and Purpose
People in Mid-Life (45 - 65)
Legal and Healthcare Professionals