In 1991, I began my career as the Coordinator of a Victim Services Unit with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I actively used crisis intervention and short term counseling methods to support survivors of sexual abuse and assault, domestic violence, families of suicide victims, bereavement, and trauma. One of the most fulfilling aspects of this position was working with a collective of other professionals to establish a group treatment program for women who were coping with domestic violence and a corresponding program for their spouses/partners. That program served an under-resourced rural community for over 20 years.
I have had the honor of working to support people in their personal journeys of health, recovery, and personal growth since 1991. My career began in working with crisis intervention and trauma recovery. It expanded to incorporate the expressive arts therapies in 1998 because I felt limited by verbal therapy when it seemed my clients were wanting to express and explore their experiences in ways that moved beyond words. Since 2013, Miami Counseling and Resource Center is my professional home, where I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Florida and a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist (BC-DMT). I continue to maintain my license as a Psychologist in Alberta, Canada.
I strive to continuously update and enhance my skills in evidence-based techniques like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Humanistic Psychology, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Art Therapy, and Dance/Movement Therapy. Further, I offer supervision to aspiring Dance/Movement Therapists and Peer Consultation in the Expressive Arts Therapies. I am proud to serve the community of Dance/Movement Therapists as the Chair of the Alternative Route Education Subcommittee of the American Dance Therapy Association.
Subsequently, I became Director of the Sexual Assault Centre at the University of Alberta, the first of its kind in Western Canada. We offered crisis intervention and short term counseling to survivors of childhood sexual abuse and survivors of sexual assault by acquaintances and strangers. Many survivors were experiencing depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of their experiences. It was here that I began experimenting with the use of the expressive arts in therapy as a way to move past the limits of talk therapy and invite higher levels of consciousness into the healing process.
In 1999, I completed my Master's in Counseling and began working toward my accreditation as a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist. During this time, I was a Counselor with Credit Counseling Services of Alberta (Money Mentors), a not-for profit agency supporting consumers in family financial management. I also began working with Children Exposed to Family Violence through a children's mental health agency.
I returned to work with interpersonal violence and trauma as a Regional Family Violence Specialist for the Province of Alberta, Canada. I was proud to help enhance the training of child protection workers in addressing the needs of children and families exposed to domestic violence. My focus was on coordinating community efforts to prevent and respond appropriately to domestic violence in mainstream, indigenous, and immigrant communities.
As I began to further my training and experience in Dance/Movement Therapy, I continued to incorporate these methods into the parent-child interaction groups for children exposed to family violence and as an individual and group therapist for Child and Adolescent Support Services of Alberta (CASA), a community-based children's mental health treatment agency.
Beginning in 2001, I developed Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Dance/Movement Therapy and Expressive Arts Group for Women Coping with Depression and facilitated the program for the YMCA . It was here that I further developed my skills in combining expressive arts therapy and psychotherapy.
I have been very fortunate to study and work with my mentor, Dr. Jo Ann Hammond-Meiers. Jo Ann is a Clinical Psychologist, an Art Therapist, and EMDR therapist, a Life Coach, and one of the Canadian pioneers in Dance/Movement Therapy. Jo Ann helped me deepen my therapeutic work with clients and helped me to learn the nuances and skills of integrating all of the methods of psychotherapy and expressive arts therapy toward a fulfilling and rewarding experience for my clients. I joined the professional psychology practice she shares with her husband Gary Meiers, in 2002 at Meiers and Associates in Edmonton, Alberta. I practiced as a Registered Psychologist and a Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist with Jo Ann until 2005. My clinical practice included talk therapy (CBT, Self-in-Relation, Psychodynamic, Attachment Theory, Jungian, Humanistic, Integrative), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Dance/Movement Therapy, and Expressive Art Therapy to treat trauma and abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and grief/loss.
In 2005, I moved to Miami, Florida to join my husband and became mother to two wonderful children. Prior to re-licensing in Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I was the Program Director and Expressive Arts Facilitator for Deliver the Dream, a not-for-profit agency supporting families coping with chronic illness and loss. I also began working with Wholesteps Creative Arts Therapies as a Dance/Movement Therapist offering social skills groups to children on the Autism and Asperger’s spectrum. As my children grew older, I began using expressive arts and attachment-based programming to facilitate Parent-Child Education groups at Temple Beth Shalom on Miami Beach.
All of these experiences have led me to my full time practice at Miami Counseling and Resource Center where I work to help my clients reclaim their lives after trauma, create better relationships, overcome adversity, and gain rich and fulfilling lives. I regularly offer professional training and present my work at American Dance Therapy Conferences and Art Therapy conferences.
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