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"I loved the idea that if you knew what someone was thinking and how to relate to them that you could help them through anything."

 

The journey to learn how to help

I always knew I wanted to help people, but didn't know what path to take to get there. My journey started a freshman at the University of Mary Washington (formally Mary Washington College). I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and luckily Mary Washington was up to the task of helping me find my way. That's when I fell in love with Psychology. I loved the idea that if you knew what someone was thinking and how to relate to them that you could help them through anything.  I graduated with a concentration in children and families and went on to Graduate School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Social Work.  I studied Clinical Social Work, which focused on how not only to treat the client but how to treat them within their world, including their family, where they lived, what resources they had available and many other factors.

While I was getting my Master degree I started working as a direct care worker at the Villa Maria Residential treatment center within Catholic Charities. I gained experience working with children that were traumatized and who had severe behaviors that prevented them from living in the community.  I learned how to DE-escelate a crisis and how to connect with someone who was in what we called "survival mode". Although this was a stressful job it allowed me to find out many of my strengths which included the ability to talk a child out of "crisis".

After graduating with my Masters in Social Work and passing my Licensed Graduate Social Worker exam, I spent some time in treatment foster care for Catholic Charities. I soon learned that this was not the field for me because I was not able to connect to clients in a deeper way due to the nature of the job.

I was then transferred to the Villa Maria Outpatient facility to be able to do one on one therapy with children, teens, families, and Adults. I was able to connect with my clients on the level that I felt that I needed to be able to help.

Since then I have worked as a therapist and passed my Licensed Certified Social Worker- Clinical exam which allows me to practice on my own.

In the process of learning my expertise, I have learned that I like working with teens and young adults to help with the many transitions that they experience.  I have also learned that I rely heavily on being able to understand what someone is thinking and helping to change negative thoughts in order to change feelings and behaviors.  This type of therapy is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected and that if you change one aspect you can change the rest.  It is one of the most researched forms of therapy and has been shown to be one of the most effective.  I have more information on Cognitive behavioral therapy under a link in my page above.