What is your main goal when working with a client?
My main goal when working with a client is to partner with them where they are in the moment and to provide them with the space to explore their life story. Through the exploration of their story, I hope that clients will be able to experience growth, healing and empowerment.
What is your approach and what methods do you employ?
My approach to counseling is client-centered. I believe in the power of the therapeutic relationship as the basis of the therapeutic process and I meet my clients with authenticity, empathy, and a focus on the client’s needs in the moment. Together, we will explore the client’s emotions and needs and how to meet them. We will explore the coping skills that are being used and explore different ways to cope with difficult emotions as needed. We will also explore the client’s social relationships, family relationships, and personal history to explore past interaction patterns and how they are manifesting in the present in order to achieve healing from the past. I believe that the client is the expert in the room; they are the author of their story and through counseling we go through the review process to learn from the past, explore the present, and move into the future.
What age groups do you most often work with?
The age group that I most often work with ranges from about 10 years old to 30 years old.
Are you passive or active in the session, what can a client typically expect sessions to be like while working with you?
How I interact with the client in session depends on the needs of the client each session. A client can expect sessions to be a safe place where they explore their life and receive empathy, encouragement, and support, as well as healthy challenge and accountability. I enter each client relationship with the belief that it is an honor to work with each client as they work through struggles as well as make successes.
What is your background and what are your credentials?
Throughout my counseling career I’ve worked in many settings, including La Amistad where I worked with adolescents and their families in a residential hospital setting and various private schools in Central Florida in pre-K through 8th grade. I have been at Gilstrap & Associates since 2018 and have loved working with children, teens, and adults! I am trained in Prepare & Enrich for couples counseling, Sand Tray Therapy from the Institute of Playful Healing, Visual Imagery and Visual-Kinesthetic Dissasociation (VKD) and most recently completed Level 1 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training in January 2020. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
What is the reason you decided to get into counseling?
I love to sit with others and to create a safe place when the world doesn’t feel safe. I believe that God placed it on my heart to work with others to explore their lives and heal from past hurts. I truly want every person to have a safe place where they can be honest and raw with themselves and have the support of a counselor to explore and work through their “stuff.”
Tell us about your education.
I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. After graduating, I moved to Florida to attend Stetson University where I earned my Master’s degree in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling.