I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce myself as one of the many practitioners who belong to SCP. I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, a childhood significantly influenced by a parent struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. As a result of these early experiences, I was naturally drawn to study the field of psychology at the College of Saint Benedict in a quest to understand human behavior. Upon graduation, however, I continued to lack direction. Fortunately, a year as an Americorp volunteer working (and living) in a residential program for adolescent boys, helped my values and interests come into focus. The boys became my teachers that year, igniting my passion and curiosity for adolescence and identity development.
I completed my PhD in counseling psychology at Indiana University-Bloomington in 2007. Throughout my graduate studies, I focused on evaluating empirically supported family-based interventions for adolescents in the juvenile justice system as both a treatment provider and a researcher. The connection between science and practice had never been more clear for me than it was during my time in graduate school. I knew that becoming a counseling psychologist was what all of my previous experiences had prepared me to do. After completion of a pre-doctoral internship at Princeton House Behavioral Health, my partner and I moved to central Pennsylvania for his faculty position at Pennsylvania State University- Altoona.
Currently, I am privileged to work with young people in my new hometown, as I serve adolescents and families from my office in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. I had not anticipated entering into independent practice at the start of my career. However, moving to a rural area that continues to lack adequate access to mental health services motivated me to pursue this path. Similar to earlier moments in my life, unexpected challenges have resulted in remarkable opportunities. The mentorship provided by psychologists in my local area, as well as involvement in SCP (specifically the Section on Independent Practice), has provided me with the support and encouragement I needed to make my practice a success. Additionally, taking on various roles within SCP has given me the chance to learn and grow as a professional beyond the walls of my office. As past chair of the membership committee for the society, I was given the opportunity to meet and work with leaders in our field and develop a broader understanding of the organization. More recently, I have taken on the role of Chair of Section Chairs. I am looking forward to highlighting the ways in which each Section provides members an opportunity to personalize their experience within the society through connecting with counseling psychologist who share a similar interest and focus.Tags: Early Career Professionals, Independent Practice, Practice, Practitioner Profile, Service