Feeling overwhelmed by life's many choices
Having a difficult relationship with your family
Feeling anxious, overly worried and tense more often than not
Relationship issues, like a lack of trust between partners
Breaking old patterns of reacting instead of responding
Low self-esteem and wishing you could stand up for yourself more
Wanting to feel more alive and awake
Welcome. My door and heart are open to all that you bring.
At Illumination Counseling, my focus is on treating every person that comes in my door as the unique individual they are. This means your treatment will be custom tailored to meet your specific goals. I specialize in treating young adults who are moving away from difficult families, perhaps with histories of abuse and neglect, and helping them to transition gracefully into independent adulthood by healing from grief, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Together, we will explore the heights and depths of your unique human experience and find ways of living that feel truly fulfilling to you.
Therapy is not a cure-all; it can, however, be an important element in healing and creating the life you want to live. If you feel like there has to be more to life than what you've experienced up to now, you are correct, there is so much more. Let's shine a light on your truest self and find new ways of being that illuminate your life from within.
My Journey Through Pain into Wellness
I created Illumination Counseling as a way to give back to my community in the best way I can: through supporting young adults on their journeys moving through pain, trauma, and grief towards a more fulfilled, authentic life.
My path to becoming a therapist has been laid out since birth, as I was born into a family with generations of unresolved issues that seemed to fall right into my lap starting in early childhood. When addiction, verbal, emotional, physical abuse, and emotional neglect build up over generations, they get strengthened by a familial belief that This is just how things are.
By neglecting to talk about important things like the pain of having bitterly divorced parents, how to deal with bullies, and never learning what it means to truly take care of myself, I experienced years of deep depression, low-self esteem, difficulty forming healthy relationships, and developed issues around body image and eating.
High School Years and Unhealthy Distractions
In high school, I struggled to understand how life could be so cruel and experienced what felt like an ongoing spiritual crisis. I became deeply religious, praying for an hour each night, but then became disillusioned by the rigidity of religious institutions, particularly those with strict views against the LGBT community.
I left my spirituality behind for years as the church could no longer fill the void in my soul that it had previously. I plunged into my schoolwork and extracurricular activities, which was, luckily, a healthy distraction. Yet when those distractions ceased, I was left with such pain that I turned to much less healthy outlets like self-harm, smoking cigarettes and pot, and engaging in risky behavior with my peers.
College and Steps Toward Healing
In undergraduate school, I was a failing music major, struggling to get out of bed to attend class and putting my homework off until the last minute. For a period, my depression only seemed to worsen and at times I felt so isolated in my inner experience I began to wonder if I was even alive. I knew things could be different yet couldn't seem to figure out how to change the way I viewed myself and the world.
Then I found out about music therapy, which pushed me into the psychology program and into the counseling center at my college where, after a few uncomfortable meetings with some of their therapists, I found the therapist I would work with for the remainder of my undergraduate career. I was with that therapist for 2.5 years and credit that relationship as a big reason why I am the person I am today.
What Helped Me Along the Way
Through supportive therapeutic relationships with my therapist and kind teachers, I have been able to grow immensely out of pain and depression and have been able to form relationships that truly benefit me and have learned how to best support my family without bearing the brunt of their pain.
Through rediscovering spirituality in the form of yoga, I was able to change my relationship with my body from one of suffering and disdain into one of radical acceptance and love.
Through positive affirmations and supportive friendships, I was able to learn my true worth and really feel what it is to be confident and full of self-love.
There are still remnants of the depression and pain I once knew as a daily reality; however, I know that those feelings and thoughts are impermanent and not a true reflection of who I am or how the world is. I practice loving-kindness meditation along with open-awareness meditation so I can keep my heart alive and open, instead of cold and hard as it once was.
A New Way of Living, In the Moment
I seek to have equanimity, or a warm acceptance, with all things, to see each moment, person, and experience with curiosity, not judgment or blame. This is hard work still, especially when my deepest pains and insecurities get activated, yet I stay on the path.
The path never ends. I hope you will allow me to join you on your path, as I know how lonely and isolated it can feel to be on your own. Things can get better, you too can heal from within.
Check out my Blog to find resources, inspiration, and articles to help you along your way. If you feel ready to face your challenges and live a more fulfilling life, please don't hesitate to Get in Touch.
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate (#0014042), Supervised by Reneé Rosario, MA, LPC. I received my Master of Arts in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University, during which time I completed a 700-hour internship at Mental Health Partners in Boulder, CO as an adult therapist and assessment specialist, 1 year as a Volunteer Youth Advocate at Mental Health Partners, and 10 months working at Attention Homes in Boulder, CO with homeless youth ages 15-22. I was also a student participant with classmates at the 2012 Colorado Counseling Association's annual conference where we presented on Mindfulness-Based Counseling.
Before coming to Colorado to attend Naropa University, I lived in Northampton, MA where I worked for 1.5 years as a case manager and counselor at a crisis center/respite house for adults at Clinical and Support Options in Florence, MA as well as a 9 month internship with Joann Lutz, MSW, learning about the use of yoga in psychotherapy. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at UMASS Lowell, where I was a member of the Honors Society and presented a thesis entitled, "The Rest Cure: A Critique on Modern Psychiatric Medicine".
Throughout my time as a young adult, I have accrued 7 years experience as a client in individual therapy and 2 years of participation in mindfulness-based group therapy. I know what it's like to be scared to reach out for help; trust me, you won't regret it.