Teenagers today must navigate more influences, noise, and pressure than any other time in history. It is understandable how overwhelming life can get for them, even in a short period of time. I find that working with the teenage population is one of most rewarding and inspirational work to be a part of. Watching a teenager, and parents, make healthy changes to their life and get much more positive outcomes continues to be the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist for me.
Early on in life I was taught the importance of loving and working with others. My parents decided to incorporate a group home experience when I was about 5 years old. We had mentally handicap female adults live with us and they would become part of the family life experience. It started out as a job, mostly for my mom, and became a way of life for all. We usually had about 5 female adults live with us at any given time. Most remained with us for many years and played a significant role in my decision to become a mental health therapist.
I received my master’s in social work in 2004 and I have had the opportunity to work in several settings, with a lot of amazing professionals and I have really enjoyed the journey. I have had many new opportunities with each setting such as a therapist, assistant clinical director, clinical director, executive director, and business developer. With each opportunity I find that my inner passion leads me back to seeing an individual find more genuine happiness, importance, and value within themselves.
Besides working with teens, I have eight children of my own that gives me plenty of opportunity to practice what I teach. My kids keep me young with dance, gymnastics, soccer, track, cheerleading, outdoor adventures, and all the other experiences of family life. As a stranger once said to me “you have your hands full, but your heart is even more full.” I do have a very blessed life.