Social Service to my community is my passion. I respect people and their journey and have had the privilege to witness such pain and such joy over the years.
Since 1994, I have worked with every age group but have learned that adolescence to adulthood to end-of-life issues are my calling. For me, once a human can explore abstract concepts then the game gets fascinating. When a person can start to challenge the "we've always done it this way" mentality and start looking into themselves then the challenging feelings can start but so does the growth. And if you take advantage and learn then you can come out the other end having a real relationship with yourself, being genuine, and peaceful/balanced. You win. And in turn you can inspire others.
I believe that people are amazing and that we all survive trauma as part of being human. We all perceive trauma differently, cope with it differently and become molded by it differently as a result. I can contain your emotions and give you honest feedback and soon you'll be able to do it for yourself. My goal is that you don't need me. My goal is that you learn your inner compass and how to trust it. That you learn how to fix it when it's off center with many powerful tools (including counseling) and get back on track.
Master's Degree in Social Work (2000), University of Maryland
License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) - in NY and NJ
Founder of Central NJ Mental Health Professionals Network (currently over 200 members)
FULL PROFESSIONAL HISTORY:
I completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology and began working with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) providing administrative support to help children who had been abused and/or neglected. There I learned to keep focus on what matters - people - and then protocols and theories. And to get the job done with no excuses.
In 1997, I began direct care work as a youth counselor with adolescents living in a group home (Baptist Home). It was by far the hardest of all my jobs but the one where I learned the most. Those children taught me more about trauma and strength than any text book ever could. When on rare occasion I hear back from those kids (who are now in their 30's) there is no greater reward.
I was then recruited to work with an after-school program (Safe Passages) geared toward adolescents with a criminal background. The aim was to provide them tangible support and resources to stay out of jail. There I learned that it's all the same human experience. Those "criminals" were no different than any other child I had worked with previously. Some of us hurt ourselves and some of us hurt others when we are hurting. And some of us do both. But the behavior is just the expression not the real problem. Once safety is established, you start the real work of facing the underlying issues.
After 6 years in the trenches of my clients' violence, addictions, self-injurious behavior, tears and laughter, I went back to school so that I could have more influence in changing the reality for the people I aimed to empower. This time, returning to work with Hearts and Homes for Youth as a Psychotherapist connecting to several programs and getting experience with latency age children and adolescents.
In 2004, I moved to California and learned about the business world. I went into the unknown and came out of it with broaden horizons. I connected to a great company (MorseGPS) and as their Director of Operations worked to triple profits in one year solely based on customer care. There I learned that applying skills - dedicated effort, true respect for people, and a curiosity to grow - can apply to worlds that you don't even know you'll encounter.
When I returned to Maryland, I took a short-term position working with the Jewish Social Service Agency providing services to seniors who lived in their own homes to get the resources they needed to stay there. I learned about life from the people who were reaching the end of theirs and struggling with a different layer to the same human issues - depression, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, etc - and the greatest perspective on how much we all need to be surrounded by meaningful relationships as well as meaningful activities.
All of my professional years of business and social service experience cumulated in my role as Executive Director of Transition Living Services, Inc. We provided housing and concrete life skills to youth ages 16-21. The aim of the agency was to propel the youth toward self-sufficiency, education, focus, and having a vision for their future success as well as concrete practice to build competence in coping with anything this world could throw their way. I was able to hire the best staff, recruit the best young adults and develop protocols that addressed the systemic (and not just the individual's) barriers to success. When I was invited to present at the CASA trainings, you can understand the full circle experience.
In 2008, I moved and began work in NYC. I worked with Novadea to provide event management and sponsorship management to hi-tech professional groups.
In 2011, I got my NJ Social Work license and joined the Institute for Personal Growth as a Psychotherapist. The Institute is nationally renowned for it's LGBTQ community work and sex therapy work since the 1980's. It was an honor to return to social service with this team.
Today, I run my own practice, lead the Central NJ Mental Health Professionals Network and teach at Rutgers University, Princeton House Behavioral Health, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, etc. on PostTraumatic Growth and Mindfulness.
Combining my passion for the growth of people and the understanding of the many challenges that can stifle that growth, I am ready to listen to you and empower you.