"When a young tree is injured it grows around that injury. As the tree continues to develop, the wound becomes relatively small in proportion to the size of the tree. Gnarls, burls and misshapen limbs speak of injuries and obstacles encountered through time and overcome. The way a tree grows around its past contributes to its exquisite individuality, character, and beauty.”
Peter A. Levine, “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
I’m a native Texan, born and raised. I am a Licensed Psychologist and have been licensed in Texas since 2003 (#32216) and am trained and experienced in a broad range of therapeutic techniques and in providing one-to-one and group therapy with adults. I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and then my Master’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University.
I completed my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University where I had the wonderful opportunity to study under the direction of Dr. James P. McCullough, a well-known expert in the field of chronic depression who developed an evidence-based therapy model (Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy; CBASP) for this debilitating condition. I completed my internship at the Medical College of Georgia / VA Medical Center Consortium in Augusta, Georgia and then sought additional training via a three year post-doctoral fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy of Nicotine Dependence with Comorbid Depression.
Since my fellowship, I have held full or part-time positions as a Behavioral Research Psychologist at MDACC, Co-Director of the University of Houston’s Psychology Research and Services Center, and a provider of psychological services to residents of a skilled nursing facility. Since 2009, I have been employed at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center in Houston, providing psychological services in the Compensation and Pension, Trauma Recovery, and General Mental Health Care programs. Currently, I hold a part-time position in the PTSD clinic, with emphasis on the provision of services to Veterans struggling with acute trauma/stress reactions, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD, traumatic grief, and traumatic anger issues. I am also a VHA certified provider of both Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure for PTSD (PE), and I am certified by the EMDR International Association as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) therapist.
Affiliations with Veteran Organizations:
I have found working with Veterans at the Houston VA incredibly rewarding, and so I have pursued opportunities to work with this important population in my private practice work. In addition to being a Tricare-approved provider, I have been a Lone Survivor Foundation consultant since 2016, periodically assisting at Veteran retreats down at Bolivar peninsula. In addition, I became a Headstrong Project Clinical Partner in 2018, providing individual therapy to Veterans receiving assistance within this nonprofit organization whose mission it is to provide treatment for post 9/11 Veterans suffering from the hidden wounds of war.
I participated on an EMDRIA Resource Committee in January 2020. The committee was tasked to develop content for EMDRIA's Go With That magazine SPRING 2020 edition, Vol 25 / Issue 1, entitled EMDR and the Military: Combating Trauma. The committee produced educational materials which were (1) included in the magazine, (2) as separate 'Therapist Tools' [Top 5 Myths about Treating Service Members with EMDR Therapy; Top 10 Tips for EMDR Therapists Working with Veterans and Service Members; How to Create a Therapeutic Alliance with Veterans and Service Members], and (3) as a 'client handout' [EMDR Therapy for Veterans and Service Members]. Contributions are referenced at https://www.emdria.org/publications-resources/practice-resources/military-toolkit/.
I hold an appointment of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine (my BCM webpage), and previously held an appointment of Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston.
Research and Teaching:
There’s not enough room to cover all this here. If you’re interested in information on my background in these areas, including grants/awards received, publications, presentations, supervisory experience, and teaching, feel free to ask me for a list. In short, I haven't focused my efforts on research since my time at MDACC, although I did more recently serve as a study therapist in a multi-site study comparing PE to CPT in the treatment of Veterans with PTSD. In addition, I intermittently supervise psychology interns/fellows and give presentations at the Houston VA or in the community as part of my work within the PTSD Clinical Team.
American Psychological Association (APA)
EMDR International Association
Texas Psychological Association (TPA)
International Association of Trauma Professionals
On a more personal note...
I am married to a great guy who also just happens to be my best friend, and I am mother to boy/girl twins who are getting more adorable and fun as they approach 10 y/o. To top it off, I have 3 large dogs (currently a dobie, a pit, and a great dane). So, while it’s not always the calmest of times around my house, it’s certainly never boring. In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy yoga, hiking, running, reading, watching movies, learning about various EMDR techniques, and simply hanging out with my dogs.