I believe in the power of healing through connection, creative expression and self-reflection, intellectual and emotional processing, and by building skills to increase emotional and physical self-control and adaptive functioning. At an early age I experienced a wave of adversity that began with my parents’ divorce. I come from generations of military family and grew up a child of the military life. My dad lived on a ship for years and deployments lasted for months at a time. My mother and I moved constantly (I went to 10 different schools in 4 different states before graduating high school and had as many addresses as I had years of my life... a pattern that continued into adulthood) so it took a lifetime to understand and appreciate the meaning of stability and consistency. As a child I witnessed and lived for years with my mom in a household where domestic violence and abuse were "normal". I grew up fast spending many days and nights home alone from a very early age and experienced a lot of anxiety and loneliness. I remember grieving some significant losses (including my own childhood) and the impact those losses had on my family. I had insufficient means for coping with no comprehension of what it meant to regulate my emotions. As a teenager I became rebellious and temperamental. My childhood experiences created some negative beliefs about myself, significant people in my life, and the world around me.
I recall the first poem I wrote in third grade about the changing of the leaves and the resilience of trees during seasonal transitions. I loved the way language and words could change the meaning and perspective of my story; how I could create the sensations of feeling the 'cool breeze sweeping through my hair', hearing the 'soft whispers of the wind', smelling the 'sweet crispness of the air', and envisioning the 'vivid copper and crimson colors of autumn’s falling leaves'; simply by using my senses to describe the elements I envisioned. I especially loved the way I felt whenever I created a world that made me feel safer than the one I was experiencing at the time; or the way I was able to turn difficult emotions within into something I could visualize outside of myself. I didn’t realize at the time, but writing, drawing, creativity, and play were my childhood coping strategies. I was able to use these tools to self-reflect, explore, verbalize, and externalize my emotions and struggles through outlets that became my voice and ultimately resources for moments of healing.
Deep-rooted trauma; complex trauma, generational trauma, early attachment and developmental trauma can create challenges and beliefs that tend to interfere at some point in our life. These barriers often appear as negative beliefs about ourselves, our loved ones, and the world that we live in. They manifest as physical issues or responses that can feel out of our control and often are automatic or instinctual responses to distress. The time I spent pursuing my degrees in Psychology (B.S.) and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.S.), practicing as a trauma clinician, training in EMDR, learning about the connection between the brain and body, and working to understand the effects of early experiences on our current thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and beliefs I also spent learning about myself: my triggers, my beliefs, my coping skills; how my family and childhood experiences continue to impact my worldview and relationships today. Healing is a process, and trauma is imprinted deep within the brain and body, compelling a need for various levels of care. I became trained as an EMDR therapist to further examine this process and learn how to apply a technique that is proven to work so my clients can safely confront traumatic memories and reduce the symptoms that remain in the mind and body. Through my own EMDR experience I am able to testify to its positive, life-altering results.
I still reflect often upon the beauty in resilience and on the meaning and value of those changes that occur during seasonal transitions. I believe in the power of healing through creativity, connection, self-exploration, and the implementation of integrative, evidence-based interventions because I have both witnessed and experienced the consistent growth, healing, and enriching life-changes that can transpire through the use of these strategies to overcome adversity. Through the process of learning, teaching, and practicing these techniques I have been able to recognize my own resilient heart. Resilient Hearts Therapy is a reflection of my personal experiences and of my belief and vision that a reflective light amidst the storm can be a guide for others to discover and reclaim their Resilient Hearts, too.