I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of North Carolina. After completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Behavior, my volunteer work as an overnight crisis center counselor then as a rape crisis counselor significantly influenced my career path, leading me to earn my Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Mental Health in 1996 from San Diego State University. My training included clinical internships at a short-term acute residential treatment center, and at Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine in San Diego. I have worked with individuals, couples and groups throughout my career in home visit counseling, outpatient community mental health, inpatient psychiatric treatment, an AIDS service organization, a local birthing & wellness center for women, as well as individual and group private practices. Specializing in psychotherapy with adults, my approach is influenced by mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, attachment theory, Somatic Experiencing®, EMDR, and the work of Dr. Brené Brown.
Having completed a 3-year certificate training program with the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute (SETI), now known as Somatic Experiencing® International (SEI), I work as a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. Using an SE® lens, I draw from a body-awareness approach to guide clients in stabilizing their nervous system and accessing their body's innate capacity towards self-and co-regulation, wholeness and healing. As a means of supporting other professionals in this field, I have committed to volunteering as a Teaching Assistant at all levels of the training program and am also an approved SE® Session Provider for Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced Level Participants/Students and an approved SE® Individual Case Consultation Provider at the Beginning Level for those who wish to earn their SEP certificate. SE® was developed by Peter Levine, PhD, a therapist, author and educator specializing in the treatment of chronic stress and tonic immobility (aka post-traumatic stress disorder). For more information on SE®, visit: http://www.traumahealing.com.
I am a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator (CDWF) offering individual sessions, 8-week groups and weekend intensives. The Daring Way™, based on the research of Brené Brown, is a highly experiential approach to exploring issues around vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Its focus is on cultivating greater authenticity and wholeheartedness, while developing shame resilience skills and "daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent and lead." I am also trained in and facilitate the Rising Strong™ and Gifts of Imperfection™ curriculum.
I am a Certified Therapist in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing through the EMDR International Association. EMDR is an integrative psychotherapy approach containing elements of many effective psychotherapies, including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies. EMDR’s effectiveness, particularly for PTSD, is supported by a broad base of research and can help dissipate negative thoughts and feelings associated with disturbing memories and traumatic experiences while helping the brain to reprocess negative events and maladaptive core beliefs. When appropriate, I use EMDR to treat PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and complicated grief. More information, a review of the research, and answers to frequent questions about EMDR can be found through the EMDR Institute, Inc. (http://www.emdria.org).
In my other practice, Embodied Awakening, LLC, I provide sex & relationship coaching to individuals, couples and groups. As a Clinical Sexologist, I became a Certified Sex Coach™ at Sex Coach U which offers the only sex coach training program in the world that has been recognized by the World Association of Sexual Health (WAS). For more information, please check out www.embodied-awakening.org.
I maintain a connection with my professional community through my memberships with the National Association of Social Workers, the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute, and EMDRIA. Since 2004, I have held a Certificate in Clinical Supervision through NASW, providing both clinical case consultation to mental health professionals and clinical supervision to individuals pursuing the LCSW licensure in the state of North Carolina. I have previously served in the role of Field Instructor for MSW students in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and UNC-Charlotte.
As an adjunct clinical instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's School of Social Work (SSW), I taught at the graduate level on the treatment of trauma and violence, and as a Training Consultant for the SSW and Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), I continue to provide professional trainings and workshops for clinicians on various topics including trauma, resilience, adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and anger management. I have also presented to various community groups on mindful parenting, healthy relationships and HIV/AIDS.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner
Certified EMDR Therapist
Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator - Clinician
Clinical Case Consultant & LCSW Supervisor
Approved SE Personal Session Provider
Approved SE Case Consultation Provider
Clinical Sexologist & Certified Sex Coach*
I welcome clients from all sexualities, genders, races, and relationship structures. One of my intentions is to create a space where you can authentically be yourself, practice curiosity about all parts of your life and experiences - even those parts of yourself that may seem to conflict with one another - and find ways to live at peace with yourself. I believe that it is not just my training, skills and experience or merely your motivation for change that are vital for ensuring progress in our work together, but also that our therapeutic working relationship be one of mutual respect, collaboration, trust and open communication. I am an active, relational therapist who provides a safe and supportive space so my clients may openly express and explore their feelings, beliefs, experiences and challenges, while being met with respectful feedback, guidance and insight.
My goal is to assist you in relating more easily to others and yourself, becoming more skillful and effective in your efforts at home and work, and finding greater balance in your life. I tailor my approach in therapy, using evidence-based treatments that are specifically appropriate to your individual needs and issues. I am guided by the belief that all clients are wonderfully unique individuals who bring their own strengths, skills, internal resources and insights which I strive to support and enhance throughout our work together.
"Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self.
And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our
connectedness to others."
~Harriet Goldhor Lerner~