My specialization in working with women, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder began because of my awareness that for so many of us the roots of our symptoms are in trauma, defined as a highly stressful event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. Yet we might not even have considered that we have experienced anything traumatic. (That seems like such a severe word!) Trauma is in the eye of the beholder. What is traumatic to a child might not be traumatic to an adult. An adult remembering her childhood, may consider her experiences to be normal, but when understanding that children are much more easily emotionally overwhelmed than adults, she may come to understand her childhood as traumatic. I’ve heard it said that there are traumas of commission (what happened) and traumas of omission (what didn’t occur) such as neglect or missing experiences of nurturing. Traumas of omission can be just as painful and damaging and traumas of commission. It’s an “eye-opener” when clients are able to understand this and recognize this neglect for the first time. “You don’t know what you don’t know”.
I’m also someone who believes in therapy- even for myself. ESPECIALLY for myself. It’s the best way that I can think of to take care of myself. It has been the most valuable thing that I have ever spent money on. In addition, it has been extremely challenging at times and has required that I put in a lot of effort and that I be very brave. It has been worth every dollar I’ve spent and every tear that I have shed.
In the twenty plus years that I’ve been in the field of mental health, I have come to recognize that many women have been misdiagnosed or have given up on therapy because of poor results and have just accepted that they will always have to take medications for their symptoms of anxiety or depression. Often the issue is unresolved trauma, (unmetabolized physiology left over from the trauma that has been dysfunctionally stored in the nervous system with the memory) or PTSD, and it can be resolved or greatly alleviated with the right therapy.
I believe we come into this world whole and gradually, over time because of little hurts or big hurts we may disconnect from our true selves, our vulnerability, our susceptibility to be wounded, in order to protect ourselves when feeling the pain would have overwhelmed us. Most often learned in childhood, this begins a lifelong pattern of avoiding connection with ourselves and others, because to do so would require feeling uncomfortable feelings that we had learned to avoid in order to survive. Unfortunately, avoidance doesn’t work well as a long-term coping strategy. The body dysregulation caused by the repression eventually leads to psychological and physical symptoms that can not be ignored. There is a saying in the trauma healing world, “in order to heal you must feel”. Trauma processing doesn’t occur if feelings are avoided or aren’t felt. It’s like cleaning house but sweeping the dirt under the rug. The accumulation of trauma gets stored in the nervous system and shows up as symptoms of high anxiety, tension, emotional reactivity, depression and even chronic pain. Eventually, the house will have to be deep-cleaned. EMDR Therapy clears the dirt out from under the rug. It’s really powerful. The results I see in my clients continue to amaze me on a daily basis.
Trauma therapy is a specialty that requires specialized training. It’s important to work with a therapist that understands trauma in order to minimize the risk of inadvertent re-traumatization, and to get results. I have spent my career helping people heal anxiety, trauma and PTSD symptoms. It is so important to me that people who suffer trauma-related symptoms get the right treatment to heal their symptoms. I want you to know that a happy future IS possible. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.
Training and Education
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master of Social Work degree from
Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Saint Louis where I specialized in family therapy. I have over twenty years of experience as a psychotherapist. I worked at a non-profit counseling agency for eleven years before I started my private practice in Kirkwood, Missouri. I am certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and practice attachment-focused EMDR psychotherapy. I am committed to ongoing training to advance my skills.
Prior to moving to Saint Louis to attend Washington University, I was raised in Richmond, Virginia and attended Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond. After twenty-two years, I consider Saint Louis my home.