Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Child and Family Therapist
Incorporating Creativity, Expressive Arts, Nature & Play
Welcome! You are likely here to learn more about my services as a therapist, supervisor or as a presenter. Here is some information to learn more about me professionally as well as personally.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years of experience providing therapy with children, teens and families. My specialty areas are for children and youth from 3 - 19, although at times I have seen younger children (screening is necessary for two year olds) as well as through college age.
I most often use expressive and play therapies and modalities including creativity, games, mindfulness, nature, puppetry, sandtray, and other play-based activities. I include parents when possible in treatment including family therapy. We are never too old to play and be creative!
I am a huge advocate for play- especially playing outside. There are many emotional wellness benefits with play and nature. These are particularly enhanced with opportunities for free play, which does not happen nearly as much as needed. I now get to present often about NaturePlay as well as NaturePlay Therapy, and other topics including creatvity, self-care and more.
I am especially proud of a collaborate book project that four colleagues and I co-edited called: "Nature-based Play & Expressive Therapies: Interventions for Working with Children, Teens & Families" that was released in March 2022 by Routledge.
In January 2023 the Healthy Parks Healthy Person TN program releaseed a documentary about the need for activity in nature. I translate this activity as play for the children and families. I was able to share about this in the documentary. Here is the documentary link to learn more about this great program: https://youtu.be/zXWEGal3P8I
After working with a community mental health center for over 27 years, first in Murfreesboro and then later in Smyrna, I transitioned to private practice beginning in late 2016 and was full-time beginning January 2017. I was able to join a small group of independent therapists I had previously worked with, all of whom I have known for over 25 years.
I began a new journey in August 2021 as a full-time instructor at MTSU in the Dept. of Social Work! I began teaching part-time as an Adjunct Professor first with MTSU in January 2018 and then Lipscomb that summer in their Play Therapy Specialization for their Master's in Mental Health Counseling. I have truly enjoyed teaching the next generation of social workers and therapists. They inspire me!
Due to my teaching schedule, supervision requests, writing projects and presentations, my practice is currently part-time. I have more information regarding my practice, training offereds as well as supervision opportunities on separate pages of this website.
I network with other professionals and serve our community and am a member of the following organizations:
Children and Nature Network (charter member)
Educator's Neighborhood of Fred Rogers Institute (appointment for academic year 2022-2023)
Health Parks Healthy Person TN (advisory group member to represent children and mental health)
International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (professional member)
Magnolia Harbor Care Farm (board member)
Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse (previous board member)
Rutherford County Psychotherapy Association (current president)
Social Work Association of Middle Tennessee (board member)
World Assoc of Sand Therapy Professionals (co-founding board member 2019- 2020)
I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee where for most of my childhood we lived on a small farm before moving to a small town in Kentucky. I returned to Nashville to attend Lipscomb University and stayed in Tennessee afterwards.
Having always been a social person, I enjoy having friends and doing things with them- Girl's Day Outs with my female friends are important! I get pretty passionate about sports events with "my teams" involved, so it's not unusual to hear me shout for my Bisons (the "Battle of the Boulevard" in basketball is epic) or Vols in sports events- esp SEC football and now basketbal too! On a quieter side I do love to read, play games, and just be out in nature. I especially enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountains or just about any beach. I hope to someday live at least part of the year at the beach or the mountains.
I've been married for over 33 years to my childhood sweetheart! We have been blessed with two sons and have enjoyed doing things together as a family - from game nights to scouts, and especially going on vacations! That's when we can get away, relax and do some really fun things together - though it can get a little harder to get together now that they are both adults pursuing their own dreams- which means I treasure our times together even more. I have absolutley loved being their mom sharing the parenting adventure with their dad by my side. My younger son was recently married, so I now have a daughter-in-law as well! I can't wait to see what is next in store for our family.
I was also blessed with a really great mom whom I shared so much with! She taught me to enjoy life and be thankful for our blessings. Her acts of service both in and out of our church were a great example as I was growing up. She always loved working with children and was a beloved grandmother as well. When people tell me I remind them of my mom- I take that as the highest compliment! I miss her every day but so grateful for all of our time together.
Finally, my story is not complete without acknowledging how my faith is the foundation of who I am and what I do. I do not impose this on clients, but my faith is an important part of my life and helps me cope with life's disappointments, hurts and stressors. I will always be thankful for my earthly blessings of faith, family, friends and career. I often take comfort in the following scripture: