Over the past two decades, I have earned the reputation for being a "Teen Whisperer.” My 20-year career has included working with pregnant and parenting teen girls, kids involved in juvenile justice, high-risk girls, and expelled students. I spent 13 adventurous years as a Middle School Counselor, have conducted substance abuse and wellness programming with college students, and am currently a therapist at Solstice East Residential Treatment Center for teen girls struggling with addictions, mental illness and trauma. My superpower is understanding and "speaking teen,” which includes understanding the needs they are often communicating through their more challenging and unhealthy behaviors.
I naturally gravitated towards becoming licensed as an Addictions Clinician and Prevention Specialist after my own challenging adolescent journey. At 19 years old, I found myself in recovery from multiple addictions, self-destructive behaviors, and mental illness. In my own healing journey, I realized I could connect with others through the empathy of having walked the path myself. During my own high school and college years, my counselors literally saved my life, and now it’s my mission to do the same for others.
These experiences catalyzed my passion for the prevention, intervention, and treatment of substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors. It is with joy and honor that I have provided drug and alcohol education to thousands of students across North Carolina, delivered parenting workshops across the globe, conducted staff development for tens of thousands of educators across the country, and partnered with dozens of schools to foster "addiction-proof" students.
I blend my personal "street certified" history with clinical expertise to bring unique knowledge, authenticity, and relatability to my classes, workshops, consultation, and coaching.
My own parenting adventures have been my greatest training ground, and my kids have been my greatest teachers. I raised a resilient “twice exceptional” bi-racial son as a 100% single working mom in challenging conditions, who continues to bring me lessons as a “grown and flown” young adult. My latest educational chapter is being a step-mom to two step-teens in a beautiful multiracial family.
I received my Bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1992 and my Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College in 2003, with additional coursework in Addiction Studies and High-Risk Youth, completed in Denver.
Clearly, this work has chosen me, and not the other way around! I’m excited to share it with you!
Drug & alcohol education
Substance abuse prevention & intervention
Diversity, equity & inclusion
Communication & conflict resolution
Understanding & supporting adolescents
NCC = Nationally Certified Counselor
LCMHC = Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
LCAS = Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist
CPS = Certified Prevention Specialist
What all those letters mean...
5 Fun Facts About Me!
I traveled the world with the legendary international leadership development, service, and performance program "Up With People" after college, staying in over 80 people's homes.
Expressive and visual arts were a lifeline as a teen, and I love to sing, dance, act and create.
I'm deeply involved in organizations and work involving racial and LGBTQ equity.
An Outward Bound trip was monumental for me as a teen, and I'm happiest in nature, with my feet in the grass and arms around some trees.
My name has Sanskrit origins and refers to a set of practices, mainly breath control techniques and exercises, that are practiced to achieve a specific outcome. In other words, I have both "chill" and a purpose!