To be human is to need others, and this is no flaw or weakness.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist, and I have had a passion for helping couples since I began my graduate training. I completed both my undergraduate and graduate PhD work at Michigan State University, and I did my predoctoral clinical internship at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. After receiving my PhD in 2013, I worked at Pine Rest’s Northeast Clinic where I did both individual and couples therapy. In 2015, I started at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) as a professor in the Psychology Department. I love working at GVSU, because I am able to serve in a variety of roles that I value including teaching, mentoring students, and conducting research on couples dynamics. Since I began my job at GVSU, I have also maintained a small practice one day per week at Pine Rest. In 2019, I founded “Resilient Relationships” and moved into my own private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan where I continue to work with only four to five couples each week.
As a couples therapist, I am committed to using evidence-based therapeutic techniques and working with a wide range of couples. My approach involves developing a strong relationship with each couple I work with based on trust, support, empathy, and validation. I will challenge and encourage each partner to stretch their thinking, beliefs, and understanding of one another.
I have had training in a wide range of interventions, including but not limited to Gottman techniques, Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy, and Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT). Although I tailor my treatment approach to each couple and their individual needs, I tend to practice with a greater emphasis on EFT techniques. EFT is an approach to couples therapy that views the relationship as an attachment bond and helps couples to repair rifts between them to develop deeper and longer lasting intimacy and connection. There is a good body of evidence that now exists that shows EFT can lead to significant improvement for 70-75% of couples. In addition to my training during graduate school, I also completed an externship in EFT, which is an intensive 4-day workshop on EFT.
At GVSU, I teach courses in Adult Psychopathology, Behavior Modification, and I lead the psychology department's practicum (or internship) course for students. I am passionate about teaching, and you will see that I also take a teaching-based approach to my therapy practice through education and the teaching of skills to each couple so they can strengthen their bond.