Accomplished psychotherapist. Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Georgia Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, Certified Life Coach , Certified Clinical Military Counselor, and Sand Tray Specialist, experienced in counseling children and adults. What does all of that mean? It means I am a life-long learner, always looking for new and effective techniques to work with a variety of issues. My experience includes providing individual and group counseling to survivors of domestic violence, individual and family counseling to military families, elementary students, junior high, high school and college students. I have almost 20 years' experience in the dependency and family court system as a Guardian Ad Litem supervisor, custody evaluator, social investigator and child advocate. I am very proud to have been recognized by judges in the Fourth Judicial Circuit for a Lifetime of Child Advocacy. Currently, I provide parenting coordination, social investigations and guardian ad litem services. I have training as a family court mediator and use those skills to help families resolve contentious issues. I am a Board Certified Tele-Mental Health Counselor, offering telehealth virtual counseling to clients in Florida and Georgia.
My focus is YOU - assisting you with your needs and goals. Even positive life changes or transitions can create increased stress, heightened anxiety or behavior changes. I am here to help adults and children learn to accept and care for themselves, energize, become aware of their inner strengths, recognize challenges, create and achieve personal goals. I provide a safe, nurturing space where I carefully listen to your concerns and goals. Together, we will develop a plan that works best for you.
The Association for Play Therapy defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development."
More simply put, child play therapy is a way of being with the child that honors their unique developmental level and looks for ways of helping in the “language” of the child – play. Licensed mental health professionals therapeutically use play to help their clients, most often children ages three to 12 years, to better express themselves and resolve their problems.
Play Therapy works best when a safe relationship is created between the therapist and client, one in which the latter may freely and naturally express both what pleases and bothers them.
Mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and private practitioners have utilized Play Therapy as a primary intervention or as supportive therapy for:
Research suggests Play Therapy is an effective mental health approach, regardless of age, gender, or the nature of the problem, and works best when a parent, family member, or caretaker is actively involved in the treatment process.
Association for Play Therapy.
Association for Play Therapy, 2020.
Virtual sessions available in Florida and Georgia.
Fears or concerns may be expressed in behaviors. Offering pre-kindergarten through high school students opportunities to express their concerns in preparation for school. Some students may need to express their concerns about remote learning. Others may have concerns about transitioning to or returning to brick and mortar classrooms.
Assisting parents or legal guardians in implementing a parenting plan; resolving disputes; educating parties about the child's best interests; making recommendations or decisions within the scope of the court order. Court-ordered in highly-contentious divorce, custody or visitation cases that are negatively impacting children.
Providing thorough investigations with detailed reports and clear recommendation for custody or visitation -always in a child's best interest.
Providing counseling and coping skills for children affected by their parents' separation, divorce, or on-going family disputes. Communicating with parents in the child's best interests.
Providing cognitive behavior therapy and other psychotherapies to identify and reframe negative thought patterns. Recommending medical evaluation.
Aspen Sand Trays Aspensandtrays.com
Association for Play Therapy A4PT.org
Jurassic Sands Jurassicsand.com
Toys of the Trade Toysofthetrade.com
Anxiety is a common, yet very uncomfortable emotion that negatively impact the lives of children and adults. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental issue in the U.S.A., affecting 40 million adults and over 2 million children each year. In counseling, learn coping skills to manage behaviors and other symptoms related to anxiety.
In counseling, identify personal strengths and learn coping skills to manage symptoms caused by triggers connected to past trauma.
Relationship counseling can be beneficial to couples, in all stages of their relationship, who are facing challenges or who simply want to strengthen their emotional connection. This is a neutral and supportive place to discuss issues and solutions. I sometimes refer to therapists who specialize in relationship counseling or sex therapy. I invite you and your therapist to periodically meet at my office to experience sand tray as part of your treatment plan..
I offer life coaching or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solutions Focused Therapy, complimented by play therapy and sand tray therapy, because I believe therapy can be relaxing, renewing and fun! Play Therapy helps break the ice - using board games, therapeutics books and toys to facilitate communication during sessions. Sand Tray Therapy is a deeper process, used in conjunction with coaching or counseling, believed to unlock the unconscious mind, help resolve past traumas, cope with challenges, and achieve goals.
Having problems talking about things? Try telling your story with symbols from my collection. Use a traditional-size tray or a 48” diameter group sand tray. This tray was custom built by Aspen Sand Trays in Los Lunas New Mexico and installed on a matching table, custom-designed and hand-crafted by Sputt Tucker in Georgia. The group tray holds 300 pounds of beautiful, Original Therapy Sand from Jurassic Sands®, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am looking forward to seeing your sand tray expressions.
Making that first move towards your future self may feel pretty intimidating. When you are ready to start your journey, let's talk. Late afternoon , early evening and Saturday appointments are available for your convenience.
Do you remember the first awful days at a new school - or at a new job? You probably wanted to cry and act out. Children simply react more strongly to the feelings we ALL feel when faced with new or scary situations. Very young children seem to suffer more openly than older children. They often lack verbal skills to communicate their fears, so they show us with behaviors. Surrounded in a group effort that included teachers, paraprofessionals, staff, parents, administrators, and school counselors, Military Family Life Counselors and custodians, students I worked with made very successful transitions, improved reading, behavior and math grades. A number of students earned awards for positive character traits , improved grades or citizenship after they completed counseling.
Your son is expressing his feelings the only way he knows. Even the most articulate children typically lack the emotional and verbal skills to explain how they feel. Children, even teens, often feel abandoned when a parent deploys. Parents don't feel so good, either, but adults usually have developed social filters to hide raw emotions. Try creating a calendar, showing the deployment beginning and ending dates - mark off each day with a marker or sticker; ask your son to make cards and pictures to send to his dad and ask his dad to send snail mail, so your son has something tangible to look forward to; have your son stay in regular phone , SKYPE, Zoom or Face-time contact with his dad; have your son help plan a welcome home party. Send copies of school work to his dad and ask dad for positive feedback. Look for resources for your son: talk to his teacher, see if his school has a Military Family Life Counselor (free service), talk to the school counselor, ask on the base for an appointment with a military counselor, check Tri-Care for a list of counseling providers- look for a registered play therapist. Please don't delay.
I do not accept insurance at this time. I have applied to five insurance companies and I am waiting for acceptance. I expect that may occur in March - June, 2021.
Afternoon appointments are available at 5, 6, and 7 pm. Monday- Friday at the regular rate. Saturday appointments are available.
Telehealth/virtual sessions are available in Florida and Georgia.
No one wants to be subpoenaed to court but, if necessary, I will go to court, because I believe children‘s best interests should be represented in all areas. Parents have attorneys, but the most vulnerable are voiceless children. Judges do the best they can with the information presented by attorneys, but children are rarely allowed to speak in court. I will speak up for them. In counseling sessions, kids find a safe place to talk and learn coping skills to adjust to the changes in their lives caused by divorce or separation. I always work to achieve children’s best interests