Call today: (616) 719-0194

Specialty and Training

I believe it is important to continue learning beyond my degrees so that I can know what treatments are available and proven to help you achieve your counseling goals. Here is a brief description about my areas of training that make me effective in treating adolescents, couples and families who experience problems with self-injury, anger, conflict, and other hard to resolve issues such as those associated with borderline personality disorder.

CBT – Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an empirically supported treatment that focuses on patterns of thinking that are maladaptive and the beliefs that underlie such thinking. CBT is an active, problem-focused, and goal-directed process. It its usefulness for a wide variety of problems, including mood disorders (depression, bipolar), anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, and psychotic disorders. Studies indicate that patients who receive CBT in addition to treatment with medication have better outcomes than patients who do not receive CBT as an adjunctive treatment.

DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy is very useful in reducing suicidal behaviors, reducing anger, reducing self-defeating behaviors, improving social functioning and relationships with others. DBT is also effective in helping individuals gain emotional control and balance their tolerance distress levels. While this treatment is effective with persons diagnosed with Borderline Personalities, it is also beneficial in many other situations. Training was completed through Behavioral Tech LLC founded by Marsha Linehan, PhD with additional training specifically for adolescents and families (adapted by Alec Miller, PsyD and Jill Rathus, PhD, Doctorate Degree reseach project, plus a variety of other seminars and trainings.

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is an information processing therapy. While there are several applications for EMDR, it is most widely used with individuals having experienced traumatic events. Levels I & II plus advanced trainings were obtained through the EMDR Institute where the founder is Francine Shapiro, PhD.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) – EFT therapists recognize individuals are emotionally attached to and dependent on their partner in much the same way a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship.

Family Systems Therapy – Family systems theory is a philosophy that searches for the causes of behavior, not in the individual alone, but in the interactions among the members of a group. The overall premise is that all parts of the family are interrelated and can be understood only by looking at the relationships and interactions among all members. Master’s Degree education plus a variety of additional workshops, seminars, and trainings.

Filial Play Therapy – Filial Therapy is an approach used by play therapists to train parents to be therapeutic agents with their own children. Parents are taught basic child-centered play therapy principles and skills, including reflective listening, recognizing and responding to children’s feelings, therapeutic limit setting, building children’s self-esteem, and structuring play sessions with their children using selected toys. The therapist typically utilizes instruction, demonstration play sessions, role-playing, group discussion, required at-home play sessions,and supervision in a supportive atmosphere to educate parents. Parents learn how to create a warm, nonjudgmental, unconditionally accepting, genuine, and understanding environment in which their child feels safe to explore the parent-child relationship and themselves, including fears, desires, feelings, and struggles. Children express themselves, try new things, learn about social skills, rules and restrictions, develop family attachments, and strengthen the parent-child relationship. Research has shown that play therapy is more effective when parents are involved, so this approach involves training parents how to effectively play with their children while exploring their own reactions to issues and understanding their children more deeply. Trainings through Association for Play Therapy and American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Gottman Relationship Therapist – Gottman Method Couples Therapy uses research-based interventions and exercises that helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships. Training through Gottman Institute.

Parenting Coordination – Helping high conflict parents resolve disputes and coparent effectively. Helping high conflict parents resolve disputes, attachment issues, parental alienation and other difficulties. Training through Association of Family and Conciliation Corts with Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Child and Family Law Center.

Play Therapy – In summary, is the process where trained therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help children prevent or resolve difficulties and achieve optimal personal growth and development. Trainings through Association for Play Therapy.

Non-Suicidal Self Injury – Courses and training designed to increase understanding and effectively respond to self-injury. Covers self-injury epidemiology, detection, intervention, and prevention. Content included: self-injury epidemiology (who, what, where, when, and why); addressing sources of contagion and spread; effective detection and intervention techniques (including development of institutional protocols); self-injury recovery processes; value of using growth- and strength-oriented approaches in addressing self-injury; key elements for intervention and prevention: emotion, cognition, and practices; and existing self-injury resources. Training through Cornell University.