Around a decade ago, I lost my job – a huge wake-up call I desperately needed. Once the dust settled (and I uncurled from the fetal position), I took a good look around, and realized nothing about my life was actually working, and hadn’t been for a long damn time. I was the poster girl for burnout, and it showed: disarray in my home, miscommunication and unhealthy sacrifice in relationships, a constant state of stress and exhaustion, lack of personal time, lack of energy, and a job I had hated.
And oh yeah, I was nearly 100 pounds overweight.
In a flash of insight uncharacteristic for me at the time, I realized that unemployment could be some grand opportunity to “course-correct” my life. I actually began to pay attention to myself, and to what I was truly thinking and feeling, perhaps for the first time ever. I started listening to my body, and what it wanted and needed. I became painstakingly honest with myself, and began to make small changes in small increments with small steps. I reached out to friends and family for support. I banished the word “diet” from my vocabulary, realizing that I didn’t just want to lose weight, but change my entire lifestyle. And to do so intuitively, consistently and permanently, instead of quickly or “perfectly.”
When you lose 95 pounds, people always want to know the specifics, as in what food and exercise plan you used. Let me state for the record that I am not a nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer or fitness expert. Something different works for everyone in those realms. What I am is a mental health professional, here to assist you with your "emotional weight."
I lost the weight by reframing thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions that had always held me back, and by changing all-around unhealthy habits.
I began to deeply respect the connection between emotional weight and the number on the scale. As well as the connection between emotional weight and your overall satisfaction with yourself and your life.
Keeping the weight OFF, however, was an entirely different story… And required a much deeper level of healing.
Because here’s the thing: there was a lot of pain beneath those 95 pounds, and it all came to the surface as I was losing the weight, and for a period of time after I had met my goal. Our bodies store emotions and events – especially painful ones. I had moments when I sincerely questioned if I was losing my mind. (Really – some emotional releases and meltdowns were so epic I named them.) The new reflection in the mirror was overwhelming, as was the new identity I was creating. Everything was an adjustment, a learning process, and required me to once and for all heal and “reprogram” everything that had led me to gain the weight in the first place. Despite anticipating this on some level, even preparing myself for it, I had underestimated the magnitude.
When all was said and done, I realized that perhaps others would appreciate talking to someone who understands, and who has been there.
So what qualifies me to help you? My credentials are listed below. I’ve left out the details of my rather extensive, diverse and impressive resume, because quite frankly, I don’t feel like retyping it and you’d probably be bored reading it. Suffice to say I’ve been in the mental health field for nearly 20 years, and I’ve gotten around.
Perhaps the greatest qualification I have to offer is this: I can help you because I used to be you. My hope is that I learned all of this the hard way so that you don’t have to.
I value a sense of grounding, balance, and overall warmth and comfort in my work. I’m all about healthy boundaries, but I’m not a fan of detached, “stuffy” professionalism. (Yes, you are allowed to curse during sessions – in fact, I encourage it. And above all, humor is essential!) I won’t just smile and nod, because despite the importance of active listening, your friends, family, spouse (or hell, household pet) could “just listen” to you. What I am is passionate – about you feeling better, healing, taking care of yourself, reaching your potential, and learning how to truly accept yourself. I view therapy as an alliance, and we are equals along your journey. That being said, no therapist can “fix” your struggles, but merely guide and support you as you do the work. Everyone’s process is different, and it’s a matter of discovering together what works best for you.
Chestnut Hill College - M.S. in Counseling Psychology
Moravian College - B.A. in Clinical/Counseling Psychology
License, Certifications & Awards
Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania
EMDR Institute - Basic Training Part One
Professional Activities and Memberships
Psi Chi - The National Honor Society in Psychology