After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in English, I became interested in counseling so returned to UNC-CH for a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work (1981). I worked for several years in Employee Assistance Programs providing counseling, consultation and training to employees and companies. I also worked at Duke University Medical Center in psychiatry and then in the Duke Alcohol and Addictions program. These experiences combined with my early training in mental health centers and two eating disorder programs (Structure House and Duke Diet and Fitness Center) gave me a broad base for helping clients with a wide variety of problems.
When I opened my private practice full-time (2000), I focused on additional training in couples work. I have completed Level I and Level II of the John Gottman Marital Institute’s Training and in 2018, completed Level I of Terry Real’s Relational Life Therapy marital training. I rely on techniques I’ve learned from Janis Abrahms Spring’s workshops on helping couples recover from affairs. This has been timely given the increased volume of emotional affairs and online secret relationships. In graduate school, I became interested in stepfamily issues and wrote my thesis on “Loyalty and Disloyalty in Stepfamilies”. Then I became a stepmother and with a much deeper understanding of the dynamics of stepfamilies, I’ve been able to further help the couples I see (most are in second marriages).
In addition to brief workshops for employees of companies in the Research Triangle Park, I also participate as a counselor in Critical Incident interventions.