I am a therapist with over 20 years of experience and specialize in working with adolescents and young adults with anxiety, depression, anger, behavioral challenges, substance abuse issues, social skill deficits and learning disabilities. My approach is direct, compassionate and creative and I use alternative strategies (like equine therapy) to connect with clients and help them discover their best self.
I am the author of “Wild at Heart: Adolescents, Horses & Other Kindred Spirits” which draws on over 20 years of experience with adolescents and a lifetime love of horses. I outline the striking similarities and the important differences between horses and teens and how we can work more effectively with teens by applying principles effective with horses.
As an effective public speaker, I enjoy presenting to audiences of all sizes on a variety of topics generally related to adolescents, mental health, addictive behaviors and LGBTQ issues. I pride myself on altering my presentation to the specific needs of my audience and engaging the audience to create a fun and thought-provoking experience.
After earning my BA in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 1989, I worked with adolescents for ten years in a variety of settings including Residential Treatment, Psychiatric Hospital, Day Treatment, Intensive Out-Patient and Private Day School before returning to school at the University of Maryland, Baltimore where I earned my Masters in Social Work in 1999.
From 1999-2005, I worked with ED / LD (Emotionally Disabled and Learning Disabled) adolescents at The Dominion School in Springfield, VA.
From 2005 – 2010, I served as the Assistant Director & Dean of Students at Accotink Alternative Learning Center.
In 2011, I was recruited to develop an equine therapy program for Child Help, a residential treatment center in Lignum, VA.
Since 2012, I have been fully self-employed.
I have a private therapy office in Fairfax, VA and I offer equine therapy in partnership with Project Horse, Inc. in Purcelleville, VA.
My true professional passion and gift is in connecting with teens, young adults and families through non-traditional therapy. I use recreation, horses, art, music, sand tray and the vast outdoors to help people relax and feel safe in the therapeutic relationship.