Chris, how long have you been doing what you do and why do you do it?
I received my Masters of Social Work degree in 1997. I have worked in a variety of clinical settings with children, teens, adults, and in group therapy.
Advocating and helping people has always been a passion of mine. My giftedness lies in discerning emotional as well as physical/circumstantial needs and providing counsel and resources to help heal and fill in gaps.
I am blessed with two children, a stepdaughter, son-in-law, and grandson. My husband, John, and I have been married over 22 years. My family journey has led me through joining and creating a blended family, homeschooling, and navigating the ever-changing roles and needs I fulfill as a mother, wife, stepmom, grandmother… etc. Professional life has evolved and changed as my family has grown and changed. This personal growth has blessed me with a wide variety of experience AND a compassion for helping women and children through transitions.
Who are your clients exactly?
We at Vibrantly Live are dedicated to helping women who are stressed out, exhausted, and over-committed, or tired of living their lives on autopilot. Many of the women I counsel feel isolated and perhaps lack a good support system (or aren’t aware of how to utilize the support system they have), struggle to maintain and nurture friendships due to busy-ness or weariness from pouring out so much of themselves. They may feel hopeless in their marriage, have parenting challenges, or struggle with the transition to an empty nest. Some women struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders due to circumstances or a difficult health diagnosis.
The women I see recognize the value of investing in themselves with their time, energy and resources. They also recognize that prioritizing care for themselves is necessary for spiritual, personal, and relational health.
In addition to seeing women in counseling, I also see children and teens. How kids experience stress, trauma, and emotional issues is unique to their developmental stage. They experience symptoms of distress and need support as well. An important part of seeing kids is counseling parents and creating a supportive team to best help their child. Sometimes this includes looking at parenting techniques that aren’t working or exploring ways to restore loving communication and supportive behavior patterns. Just as teens that come to counseling must be willing to do some work… so should the parents be prepared to work as well.
What if I don’t fall into that category of client?
It’s difficult to create categories for the clients I work with. Every situation is unique! My counseling services are individualized for each woman and each child. Schedule a “Get Acquainted Call” so we can explore options of services together. If I am not the best fit for you, I will recommend a colleague that may be.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
As with all counseling services, the more work you put into healing, the better the outcome. I work best with women, parents, and kids who are ready to do the work necessary for their best emotional health.
Part of that necessary work requires a commitment to doing the work in sessions and implementing goals and tasks on your own. You must also take personal responsibility for making the changes in your life.
My counseling style is goal-directed. I will be your coach, cheerleader, and accountability partner, but will expect you to make the changes necessary to heal. We will explore barriers to change and begin chiseling away at those walls. Our work together is designed to help you have a definitive path to get you where you want to go.
What type of person will NOT be a good fit for you?
Success is dependent on us working together to achieve the best outcome. It’s important to me that we work well together. Taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings is crucial in moving forward. Being willing to be vulnerable and forthcoming in sessions, being open to reframing or redirecting when I see you are on the wrong path, and completing the work or assignments given are all very important to success. If you aren’t willing to engage in this relational work, we will not work successfully together.
I am not trained to treat substance abuse and addictions. My speciality does not include attachment disorder in children.
What exactly will we do together?
Because of the unique nature of counseling services, your treatment plan will be geared specifically to the problem you are seeking assistance with. Identifying your skills and creating goals to move forward will be the focus of our work together. Once treatment goals are established, one on one counseling sessions will be scheduled. During our 50 minutes together, I will facilitate our discussion as we explore ways to achieve your goals, identify and work on knocking down the barriers to success, identify your strengths, solidify your outside support system, and provide educational resources are only SOME examples of how our time together may look. Understanding that each individual I counsel is unique, our work toward goals will evolve and change as needed.
Included in our session will be a copy of my notes taken during the session. This will include thoughts we explored as well as goals and assignments to work on. Occasionally I may assign a book to read.
I employ a faith-based, cognitive-behavioral, and solution-focused approaches to therapy.
Does this really work?
The clients I work with are stuck and need the nudge, support, and expert guidance through counseling to get “unstuck”. Below are some results you may expect and success past clients have experienced:
- Experience freedom from negative thoughts
- Understand and recognize emotional triggers
- Learn calming techniques when you recognize your anxiety is climbing
- Recognize the supports in your life and utilize them
- Let go of worries about what others may think
- Learn how to focus on your personal goals
- Learn how to set boundaries in your schedule
- Have meaningful and fulfilling relationships
- Learn appropriate ways to manage everyday stress
- Have a sense of calm in your life
- Learn how to make caring for yourself a priority without guilt
- Create stronger, healthier relationships with others – Setting boundaries and understanding which relationships are healthy and which aren’t.
- CONFIDENCE - make decisions more easily without second-guessing yourself
- Learn skills to problem-solve issues rather than react and get upset
- Make your spiritual growth a priority
How quickly can I expect to see a difference?
Obviously this depends on how much time and energy you put into the process. Most of my clients begin noticing significant changes within the first couple of weeks. When you are FINALLY determined to confront the problem and seek professional help, it comes as a relief to just GET STARTED!
Why should I hire someone to help me? Can’t I just do this on my own?
“If you could have done this on your own, wouldn’t you have already done it by now?” Many clients have already tried to do it on their own. False starts, failed attempts, situational factors interfered, sometimes just not understanding how to change has caused many clients to feel defeated. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE by seeking counseling services! (I’m shouting this to you! :) Reading all of this information to this point is a SUCCESS in beginning your journey to health!
Another important thing to remember… your faith is not weak if you need counseling. God has equipped each of us with gifts. My gift is helping, counseling, supporting, educating and advising. I count it a blessing to serve and work with women, children, and teens. God has blessed me with life experience and a professional education to be able to bless others. Your spiritual growth is important in this process. I am thankful God allows me to be a positive support in that growth. The community of Christ is just that - a COMMUNITY of individuals with different gifts that serve and support each other.
Many of my clients are high achievers. The tendency to strive in everything creates layer upon layer of stress. This affects every aspect of a person: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - as well as relationally. That’s where I come in. I teach the tools to get unstuck and move forward to wellness. This doesn’t mean you are weak because you cannot do it on your own. It means you have the courage to admit this needs to change, and you are willing to to do the work to experience freedom.
I’m so busy, what if I don’t have time to do the work?
Isn’t being busy part of the problem? Things won’t slow down. There won’t be a “better time” for you to begin work. You’re weary, drained of energy, and can’t enjoy what you have been blessed with.
It’s time to begin work NOW. You know this. That’s why you are reading this webpage! Don’t put it off one second longer!
The patterns you have fallen into aren’t working. There are areas in your life suffering: your health, your productivity, your relationships, your sense of well-being.
Don’t let things get worse. Don’t use “I’m busy” as an excuse to continue in this pattern one second longer. It’s time to prioritize your health!
How do I know it will be worth the money? What if I can't afford it?
Consider the cost: sick days, decreased productivity, loss of relationships, lack of confidence, inability to make decisions, inability to focus, etc., etc. Even if you have paid sick days, the financial cost of functioning at your current level of stress and busy-ness adds up more than you may realize. Not to mention the shopping sprees, manicures, hair, and salon appointments to create “quick fixes” are pricey!
Beyond the monetary cost is the relational cost. Your family, marriage, and kids are priceless. Having the ability to function at your best - as you were created to be - is not only WORTH IT, it is crucial.
All too often, we quickly jump to “I can’t afford it” without really thinking things through. Try thinking of it this way: change “I can’t afford it” to “How can I afford it?” My job is to get you to think in a positive, empowered way about how to move forward. This may mean you begin to think creatively about how you can afford my supportive guidance. I’m happy to work with clients to help them find a way to pay for counseling. I ask that if you feel you’re ready to work with me that you do some thinking in advance about how you may be able to afford it.
What if I feel selfish wanting to invest in myself?
Unfortunately, that is a common reaction we ladies have to SELF care. We tend to take care of everyone else before we think about doing anything for ourselves. It is this type of thinking that contributes to the stressful mess you are experiencing. The true selfish thing is to continue in this state of martyrdom. It causes you to feel less important, taken advantage of, and leads to bitterness and resentment.
Moms are the heart of a family. The old adage is still true: “If mom ain’t happy, no one is!” In my family, my son has always been my “emotional barometer”. At a very early age, he could pick up my stress like a little sponge, and it was awful to see how it affected him. I finally realized that unless I began to take care of myself and make some positive changes, my kids were going to continue being negatively affected. They were not only emotionally affected, but were learning the WRONG way to take care of themselves and what to expect from others. What I was teaching my daughter about how to be a wife and mom, what I was teaching my son about what to expect from his wife, and how I was robbing my husband of a healthy relationship with the woman he married… all these things convinced me of the essential need to take care of myself. It should convince you too.
I need to talk to my husband about this first. How would you suggest talking to him?
Yes! You absolutely do need to talk to him. When you begin to make changes, this has a ripple-effect on those in your life… for the BETTER! But they should be informed and ready for those changes.
I suspect your husband has been worried about you for a while. He can see how tired you are, the lack of joy in your everyday experiences. He has probably tried to help lighten the load for you, but you’ve pushed the offers aside because you feel you “should” be doing everything.
I have found my clients’ husbands to be supportive. You are important to him, the kids are important to him. He has probably felt helpless to help. His instinct to want to “fix” things for you probably leave him feeling powerless. Your busy, distracted, stressful life may also make him feel neglected. I suspect he will feel not only supportive, but relieved that you are seeking help.
Step #1: Have your husband read this webpage. Step #2: Be honest with him. If you haven’t been up front about how you’re feeling and then you suddenly talk to him about seeking counseling, he won’t understand where that’s coming from. He may even be fearful about it. Step #3: Begin answering his questions truthfully. When he asks, “Are you okay?”... don’t answer, “I’m fine” when you aren’t. Talk to him about what you are struggling with, how you’ve tried to fix it, and why you need to take this next step.
OK, I’m interested in learning more. What are next steps?
Contact me by filling out the form below. My assistant will schedule a Get Acquainted Call with me to assess your needs and to see if working together will be a good fit. I look forward to talking with you!