I was raised in a small, Central Pennsylvania community, the adopted daughter of an engineer and a homemaker. My childhood offered an opportunity to experience the depth and breadth of a large, extended family. It was a pretty normal childhood with experiences of supportive family interaction and a few memorable occasions of difficulties and dysfunction. The fact that I was adopted and eventually developed a relationship with my birth mother allowed me to experience the complexity of family life and has contributed to my appreciation for a wide variety of human experience.
Attending Juniata College, I gained knowledge and earned a degree but more importantly, by attending a small liberal arts college, I learned how to be curious. For me, college was a time to wonder and gain insight while keeping the bigger picture in mind. Juniata allowed students to create their own course of study. I created a combination of Psychology (the individual), Social Work (serving people in context of the community) and Art (creativity). Overall, college was an experiential turning point. It brought an opportunity for growth and change with choice. I realized, knowledge can be acquired almost anywhere. Maturity, purpose, curiosity, and awareness, on the other hand, are acquired as the result of actively participating in and experiencing one’s own life.
After graduating college, I moved to Philadelphia and attended Temple University earning a Masters in Education and a Doctorate in School Psychology. My internships included work with childhood cancer survivors at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as well as adolescent girls at an inpatient psychiatric school and hospital. These experiences helped me gain perspective. I developed an awareness of cultural differences and an appreciation for the influence of both nature and nurture. Getting to know children and adolescents facing life and death challenges with true resilience also had a profound effect on me. It helped form a foundation of empathy, interest and curiosity that underpins the clinical work I do today. I have been a licensed psychologist for over twenty years.
A thread that runs through all my experiences, both personal and professional, is my ability to think creatively. It’s my style and is intrinsic to who I am. For as long as I can remember I have loved the arts. This includes visual arts like painting and photography as well the performing arts like acting and theater. I love to paint and have done professional interior design. I’ve done some amateur acting and find that it is just another way for me to get into a different character or personality and appreciate someone else’s perspective. These interests reflect my curiosity about how things fit with each other and how new things can be created to improve an existing situation. There is a very real way in which the art I enjoy affects the therapy I do. I am always looking through the layers to understand how things fit, how harmony can be created and how changes can be introduced to create a more effective “picture.”
Like everyone, I have had my share of the bumps and bruises life offers. I have also had an abundance of privileges and opportunities. The net result of my personal and professional background is that I believe I am able to relate well to the life situations most clients bring to therapy.