I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. From that background, I bring a down-to-earth, practical approach to my therapy and deep respect for the importance of relationships and family.
I’ve gone through my fair share of pain in life and know what it takes to move beyond it. If you want to change your life, and you are ready to do what it takes to heal, I will ask a lot of you. But I’ll never take away your choice about if and when to make those changes. We’ll share both laughter and tears. And I won’t ask you to do something I haven’t done myself. I know how scary it can be to take those steps toward rebuilding your life — and I know how empowering healing can feel.
- Psychologist – Approved PSYPACT telehealth provider in 35 states
- National Register of Health Service Providers, #52680
- Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor
- Certified Clinical Partner Specialist-Supervisor
- Certified Partner Trauma Therapist-Supervisor
- Partner Recovery Therapist
- Partner Betrayal Trauma Therapist
- Sexual Recovery Therapist
- Certified Daring Way Facilitator TM
- Somatic Experiencing Practitioner
- Intimacy Anorexia Therapist
Philosophy of Therapy
I believe that my clients are the experts in their own lives and have the right to determine the course of their own therapy. You can improve your life and feel better about yourself without a lengthy commitment to therapy. For clients whose goal is to focus on specific, time-limited objectives, I use my background in brief therapies and solution-focused treatment to encourage an action-oriented approach to change.
For clients looking for a deeper level of change or recovering from traumatic life events, addiction, betrayal, infidelity or an intimacy disorder, our journey together may be longer. Our task becomes one of transforming suffering into meaning, empowering, and transforming your lives.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to be trained in a variety of theoretical perspectives and use a combination of these to meet the unique needs of each client. This includes solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral, experiential and various family systems therapies. I use a flexible approach that may include the practice of EMDR, Brainspotting, in combination with Somatic Experiencing for more rapid change.
I am a psychologist with over 25 years of experience in working with children, adolescents and adults. I counsel individuals, couples, and families, helping them to restore hope, find solutions and transform their lives. I have a background in brief therapy and strength-based approaches, which I use to help my clients focus on realistic action plans to deal with problems, improve their relationships, and heal from relationship and life difficulties.
My specialty is working with relationship trauma and intimacy disorders, such as sex or pornography addiction, betrayal trauma, intimacy anorexia, unresolved family of origin issues, and PTSD. I work with individuals to help them strengthen their personal boundaries and improve their self-esteem, as well as assist couples to rebuild trust and renew commitment after their relationships have been challenged by betrayal. As the first Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and partner betrayal trauma specialist in my hometown of McKinney, Texas. I support recovering addicts and spouses/partners, couples, and families to heal from the impact of pornography and sexual addiction. Additionally, I provide group therapy, customized intensives, and workshops to help spouses and partners empower themselves and heal from the wound of betrayal.
My professional foundation was in marriage and family therapy, and included specific training in the unique psychological needs of women. However, as a psychologist in the Dallas Veterans Administration, I also gained in-depth experience counseling men, particularly those dealing with depression, PTSD, and addiction.
I have extensive experience working with trauma issues, from the little hurts and rejections we go through every day that chip away at our spirit to childhood abuse and neglect to Complex PTSD to betrayal trauma, to combat-related PTSD. My current Big 3 for trauma: Somatic Experiencing®, EMDR, and Brainspotting. The higher-level picture for finding and maintaining life balance I credit to my training with Pia Mellody in Post-Induction Therapy and Peter Levine in Somatic Experiencing.
The pain my clients bring to me is profound, so I put a great deal of time, effort, and investment in the training I believe is necessary for helping others heal. I consider knowledge and training an important investment in my skills as a professional. I’m proud that I have chosen wisely in the pockets of knowledge I’ve put a great deal of time and effort in pursuing. Sometimes I followed the training choices of the colleagues surrounding me; sometimes I’ve had to lead the pack.
I am the first Certified Sex Addiction Therapist and CSAT supervisor in McKinney, the first certified Sexual Recovery Therapist in Texas, the first professional to be certified as a Partner Recovery Therapist and Partner Betrayal Trauma Therapist, as well as the first to be certified as an Intimacy Anorexia Therapist, and first Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.
I am the founder and clinical director of McKinney Counseling & Recovery, Intensive Recovery Healing, and Intensive Recovery Coaching – the three sisters in the Intensive Hope family. I was a founding member and vice-president of the nonprofit Association for Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists, the first organization dedicated to the needs of partners of sex addicts and creators of the Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model, a then radical change in recognizing and treating partner betrayal trauma. I continue to serve as a board member for APSATS and provide supervision consultation for Certified Clinical Partner Specialist candidates. I also utilize this model when working with those in recovery for sexual or pornography addiction and have found incorporating this partner sensitive approach crucial in helping both parties restore trust.
The discovery of intimacy anorexia was an absolute game changer – the missing piece in understanding how to conceptualize both sex addiction and betrayal trauma recovery. This field is in its infancy and, although a difficult relationship pattern to effect change, the quest to understand it has sparked my most recent training quest – unlocking the mysteries of attachment issues.
Somatic Experiencing, developed by Peter Levine, was a 3-year intensive training process that transformed my own nervous system in the process. I foolishly thought would end when my certification was achieved. What happened instead is I was awakened to limitless curiosity and the smorgasbord of advanced and master class trainings in pursuit of deepening my knowledge of trauma resolution, the nervous system, polyvagal inputs and the body. Additionally, I continue to assist at Somatic Experiencing trainings.
I have also trained with Dr. Brené Brown and have been a Certified Daring Way Facilitator TM since 2016. Brené’s work on shame resilience and vulnerability, and much that I learned from Pia Mellody and Peter Levine, provides an important superstructure that all healing fits into.
Additional training includes:
- Trained with Dr. Patrick Carnes, the foremost authority in the field of sexual addiction recovery, and utilize his task-oriented approach in treating internet pornography and compulsive sexual behavior. Trained with Dr. Doug Weiss, president of the American Association of Sex Addiction Therapy and utilize his trauma-based approach to the treatment of spouses/partners of sex addicts. Continue to mentor with Doug on a weekly basis.
- Sexual Compulsivity Clinical Training with Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, clinical consultant for the Meadows Dakota, extended care for sexual recovery.
- Early Recovery Couples Empathy Model-Candidate (ERCEM)
- Level 2 PACT trained by Dr. Stan Tatkin in use of the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy.
- Externship in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), an empirically based therapy created by Dr. Susan Johnson.
- Basic level trained in Trauma First Aide, a method of working directly or indirectly with the nervous system to help re-establish the mind-body connection that is lost as a result of trauma.
- Completed all modules of Body and Somatic Relational Work (BASE), a study of Relational Bodywork, Polyvagal Structures, Viscera and the Autonomic Nervous System; Social Engagement, Orienting and Trust, Fascia, Muscle; Bones, Joints, Soft Power, Cranium, Concussions and PTSD; and Eyes, Joints, Somatic Relational Work, Sensory Motor Tools
- Completed training in identifying and addressing work and financial disorders issues as part of Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist requirements.
- EMDR: Completed training in Feeling-State Addiction Protocol, a form of EMDR used to disconnect the pleasurable experience associated with an addictive behavior, thus eliminating the reinforcement that maintains the addictive behavior.
- EMDR: Completed training with Dr. Laurell Parnell on Attachment-Focused EMDR: Healing Developmental Deficits and Adults Abused as Children.
- EMDR-PRECI: Training in Therapy Protocols for Early Intervention and Ongoing Traumatic Stress.
- Completed all training modules for NARM, the NeuroAffective Relational Model of attachment.
- Completed Modules 1 and 4 of Diane Poole Heller’s Dynamic Attachment Re-patterning experience (DARe)
- Attachment: Completed Relational Development Rupture and Repair: A Somatic Developmental Perspective