Creative Counseling and Wellness was created from my own personal experiences with anxiety and depression.
As a tween, teen, and young adult, I struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Depression.
I didn't breathe a word of this to anyone because all I knew was that I felt lonely, weird, fearful, and disconnected despite having a nice group of friends, getting up every morning to go to school, having good grades, and not getting into trouble. I hoped that maybe, just maybe, this was the "norm" for people my age. Maybe this feeling would just go away and I could finally settle in with feeling happy.
As a teen my family could see me unraveling. They were the ones that would take my rage, anger and irritability, my emotional meltdowns, my sleepless nights, perfectionism, and my sadness.
During that time I went to therapy which, eventually, gave me the language to express how I was feeling inside. I began to draw, write poems, journal, and I gravitated toward music that filled me with understanding...This was a place of belonging and a sacred place to express my emotions.
Creating my inner world helped me to make sense of my tangled emotions and helped me become less afraid of the emotional storms that were frequently brewing.
It was my beginner's journey to understanding myself...
Fast forward to college: As I still struggled with my emotions, I expressed them through my art as a Studio Art major. I felt alive as I created and connected to the art studio; my safe place. A few weeks away from graduation, and with a BA in Studio Art (what am I going to do with this degree?!?!), I stumbled upon Art Therapy thanks to a friend who found an article in a psychology journal and brought it to my attention. The more I researched this potential career, the more I found that this was something that I had been doing since I was a teen: Using art/creativity as a tool to express myself; to express my emotions; and to feel release.
A couple of years after graduation, I was accepted into the Masters Program for Art Therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago which contributed to a deeper understanding of myself and a love for helping others find self-expression and compassion through creation.
Later in my career, I would add my LCPC (Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor) to my counseling repertoire.
It was also at that time where I began to turn to yoga to help me quell the anxiety and my inner critic that was brewing in me due to the pressures of Grad School. My weekly Friday nights were greatly anticipated. There I could release the stress in my mind and in my body and teach myself how to breathe through movement and meditation.
Since then, that breath has been the cornerstone of managing my anxiety. Yoga also helped me to pay attention to my body and how it is feeling in the moment. By tuning in, it helped me to acknowledge my emotions more fully and find acceptance for the difficult moments that life brings us.
I continued to practice yoga regularly (and even now).
In 2011 I embarked on a year-long Certified Yoga Teacher Training Program. Following this and adding energy balancing techniques to my resume, in 2016 I became a Certified Reiki Master Practitioner and, recently in 2020, adding Brainspotting Practitioner Level 1 which is a mindfulness-based emotional processing treatment method.
All of these tools, in their various forms, have helped me for over 3 decades.
Bringing these tools that I have learned over the years to you and, including, my personal understanding of anxiety and depression has become my passion and my mission to help you grow, transform, to help you find your courage, and fly like the butterfly.
The butterfly is Creative Counseling and Wellness’ symbol of transformation.
It is that reminder that we are all unique individuals capable of transforming our lives.
And, it is also a symbol of perseverance that honors my aunt who passed away from cancer.
Thank you for reading my story...
...I hope it has found a home in your heart.