My Mission: To offer clean drinking water (mindfulness), and to stop pathologizing human experience.
Experience is the keyword. I give people the chance to step into the arena of their life, experience it —not run from it, and learn to be skillful with it. They get the experience of being alive and capable— it’s great medicine. In regards to mental and behavioral health, I like to think of it as offering clean drinking water as opposed to medicine or a diagnosis.
Therapeutic Mindfulness Instructor. I hold a Master’s Degree in Counseling and I am a fully trained mental health therapist and addiction counselor. As a former mindfulness instructor at The University of Virginia School of Medicine, I continue to specialize in therapeutic and informal mindfulness practices for mental and behavioral health. I currently maintain a private studio in Charlottesville, Virginia at the Center for Wellness and Change where I work with an amazing medical team. I also contribute to Psych Central World of Psychology, Psych Central Professional, and The Fix.
For the past 10 years, I’ve been invested in mindfulness more specific to the male population, substance abuse, addictive behavior, and in clarifying the difference between traditional therapy and mindfulness. More recent work includes the value of minimalism to improve mental and behavioral health. With extensive experience working with opioid abuse, I introduce informal mindfulness skills to medication-assisted patients under the care of Dr. Erik Gunderson. Physician referred clients also see me when a temporary or non-pharmacological approach is suggested.
Education & Self-Observation. As a former psychology teacher, I have a strong focus on education; and as a mindfulness instructor, a strong focus on self-observation and stress management. It’s all stress: the stress of not knowing how to respond to thoughts, emotions, actions, relationships, and daily life.
I specialize in evidence-based mindfulness interventions (MBI’s), research-based therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC’s), and minimalism to help clients maintain a prevention-focused lifestyle.
My work is influenced by formal mindfulness training with Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli, and various other world-known meditation and yoga teachers. I maintain regular retreats at Vipassana Meditation Centers. Other specialized training includes; motivational interviewing, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectic behavior therapy (DBT), appreciative practice, work with Dr. David Mee-Lee, neurological science, acupuncture detoxification, mind-body medicine, personal nutrition, and organizational psychology.
Prior to Charlottesville, I worked in a private substance abuse treatment center for professionals, taught at University, and ran a wellness program in N. Florida/S.Georgia offering mindfulness to organizations, universities, and integrative health centers. I participated in a two-year project focused on introducing mindfulness at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital under the direction of Mike Healy, founder of Mindful Living in Athens, Georgia. My beginnings were supported and inspired by Dr. John Mansberger (founder of Archbold Integrative Health) (currently retired) who specialized in the stress aspect of fibromyalgia.
As an Advocate:
I advocate for change in the current healthcare system (specifically mental & behavioral health) due to zero, poor, or lengthy outcomes. My mission is supported by science and a deep desire to make sure people are given more options in regard to treatment. I continue efforts toward a healthcare model that reduces pharmacology and empowers patients self-reliance over their own mental and physical well-being.