While I was born in Washington, DC, I grew up mostly in the San Antonio area. With a love for the outdoors and for science, I attended Stephen F Austin State University in East Texas where I graduated with a Nursing degree. During that time I met and married my Dallas husband of twenty six years now. After twelve years of struggling with infertility, my husband and I adopted two of our children. Fifteen months later and 3 years after that we gave birth to our next two children. We currently call Dallas our home and while we miss the tall pines of East Texas we love the warmth of friendships that have been formed since we moved here 20 years ago.
As all couples go into marriages and parenting with presuppositions and expectations, we did as well. We were not prepared for the challenges of adopting children with attachment struggles. Nor were we prepared to then work through the problems this would bring to our marriage relationship.
As I worked with counselors to help our children with attachment, I realized that I didn't have a healthy attachment myself and couldn't take my kids to a place that was unfamiliar to me. During this time I also discovered that my insecure attachment came out of growing up in a co-dependent family. Both of these things affected the way I related to my husband and my children in unhealthy ways.
For the past ten years I have worked with counselors, been through classes, workshops and worked to gain a healthy attachment and become a healthier functional adult. During this time I developed the desire to help walk with others as they struggle in areas of relationship that I have struggled in. With this in mind, I attended Liberty University where I earned a certification of an Advanced Certified Life Coach. This gave me the framework to use all that I have learned through my struggles in coaching others. My love for science and my work in nursing still play a part in my life coaching though, as I seek to know how discoveries in neuroscience can help in healing ourselves and relationships. My desire is to help others work toward healthier relationships in all areas of life.
What sessions include:
- Facilitate the exploration of needs, motivations, desires, skills and thought processes to assist the individual in making real, lasting change.
- Use questioning techniques to facilitate client’s own thought processes in order to identify solutions and actions.
- Support the client in setting appropriate goals and methods of assessing progress in relation to these goals
- Observe, listen and ask questions to understand the client’s situation
- Creatively apply tools and techniques which may include one-to-one training, role playing, counselling & networking.
- Provide resources in the form of reading and referrals.
- Encourage a commitment to action and the development of lasting personal growth & change.
- Maintain unconditional positive regard for the client, which means that the coach is at all times supportive and non-judgemental of the client, their views, lifestyle and aspirations.
- Encourage clients to continually improve competencies and to develop new developmental alliances where necessary to achieve their goals.
- Work within my area of personal competence, qualifications and experience.
Areas of Focus
We often associate grief with death. However, with any loss we experience grief. This could be the loss of a friendship, job, community, expectations, dreams and nurturing we missed out on as a child to name a few. When we fail to recognize our grief and dismiss it the grief still remains. It will continue to affect us for example, through building walls in order to not be hurt again or through sadness and depression. I had lots of grief that had not been dealt with pertaining to my basic needs that were not met growing up, undue expectations and dreams about parenting and marriage and trauma I experienced as an adult.
After attending a workshop on grief I was able to process all areas of grief in my life. This has been instrumental in getting unstuck and moving forward in my life. I am honored to be able to help others in their journey of healing their grief.
What is attachment? Attachment is wrapped up in the main caregiver's response to, "Will you be there to meet my needs? (To know... I have worth and value, I will be protected, I have the right to make mistakes, My basic needs will be met.)" Attachment can be interrupted by early childhood trauma such as abuse (physical, emotional, verbal, neglect), adoption or extended hospitalization at an early age.
My own attachment was interrupted through the dis-function of my early childhood. I have been on my own journey toward a healthy attachment as well as daily walking my own children through broken attachment toward secure attachments. Our attachments whether healthy or unhealthy affect all our relationships and are passed down from our parents to us. It is a privilege to be able to walk others in bringing healing and secure attachment in their own relationships.
It is said that parenting is the hardest job you will ever have. Add the fear and hurt of rejection as you may have in adoption or foster care and that increases the intensity and the difficulty. Through eighteen years of working with two children with attachment struggles I have learned some practical techniques to help bring and have lots
Relationships can be difficult when you weren't taught how to relate to others in a healthy way. Not only that but when two people coming from different family backgrounds unite it inevitably brings conflict into the relationship.
As a Life Coach I can help you identify problem areas or areas where you are "stuck" and give you practical solutions to move forward in your relationship.
What is co-dependency? It has been described as, "When I lose myself and take on the emotions, thoughts or wants of another as my own." In childhood, children often take on the wants, thoughts or needs of their parents in order to bring peace to the home or to get basic needs met. These are coping skills developed at an early age in order to cope with the unhealthy family system. These coping skills served a purpose for a time but as an adult can be harmful and keep emotional intimacy and vulnerability out of relationships.
Growing up in a co-dependent family I learned at an early age to go along and not say a word in order to "survive." I lost my voice and who I really was. What was entrenched as a resource for me when a child no longer served a purpose as an adult. However, I knew nothing else. So I came into relationships, in some ways, with the skills of a child. I needed to "find my voice" and who I really was in order to have deeper healthier relationships.
It is my desire to help others work through the process of discovering their dysfunctional ways of relating and learning healthier ways to have relationships. As a Life Coach I will help you recognize maladaptive tools you're using and offer healthier ways to relate to others.
Adoption brings it own set of rules to parenting. Kids who are adopted have experienced the trauma of a break in attachment at an early age and therefore often need extra help in forming a secure attachment or bond. My goal in working with adoptive families is to provide teaching, resources and practical tools in helping families to parent while building connection with their children.
Stories from my clients
Jane was discouraged that other kids in school had the same difficulties she was up against however, they didn't seem to be as affected by them as she was. She needed to understand the significance of not having a parent to help her learn to regulate self and process through difficult times. Once she understood that, she felt relieved to know that she wasn't "crazy" or "not enough" and she could move forward in learning through our time together how to regulate self and to face difficulties in the future.
Mary came to me struggling in her marriage and her self worth. Her dad had left her when she was a child and in fall out of divorce her preciousness was never mirrored to her as she grew up. She was following the same patterns as her mom in marriage. Through coaching, Mary learned to recognize her worth apart from her husband. She gained a voice and was able to set boundaries in her marriage.
Beth stated that she feels disconnected from her son. She feared that her husband was influencing her son in a way that was against her. We discussed a plan for her to show support, love and availability to her son in a way that was safe and not condemning or "fixing" him.
Jen came to see me and had already done some great work with her past counselor. But now that she was away in college she just needed someone to hear her and validate her thinking or give her some feedback. During our time together she stated she struggles with anxiety. We came up with a plan to deal with her anxiety. Several times Jen came to our meeting stating that she had some success that week in dealing with her anxiety. I celebrated with her and encouraged her in the work she was doing.