About Me

Sheila listening

I am a trauma therapist who believes that you're doing the best you can. But old patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving frequently cause problems. You want love, connection and fulfillment but often feel alone, anxious, inadequate and unhappy.

To help you become your best self, I offer nonjudgmental support and feedback and teach you new skills. My job is to help you understand yourself better and encourage you to experiment with change. 

The lens I bring to therapy is the tension between acceptance and change. Many things in our lives are out of our control, whether we like it or not. We suffer when we try to change things that cannot be changed, such as other people, places or situations. I help you identify what you can change and what is best to try to let go.

My approach

Clients say I’m authentic, easy to talk with and insightful. Therapy with me helps you:

  • Increase awareness of thoughts and feelings that trigger problem behaviors;
  • Develop new ways of thinking about life situations;
  • Practice techniques to become more grounded during times of anxiety;
  • Learn skills for emotion regulation to help with anxiety, anger, and sadness;
  • Improve relationships with interpersonal effectiveness skills;
  • Reprocess traumatic memories that are keeping you stuck; 
  • Develop a better sense of your authentic self;
  • Deepen your spiritual connection.

Special Training/Credentials

  • EMDR
  • Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Subtle Yoga for Behavioral Health
  • Meditation (The Living School)
  • Psychodynamic training (Washington School of Psychiatry)
  • Master of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2002
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (NC #C004914) 

Commitment to excellence

I am a seasoned professional with more than a decade of experience in private practice. Before that, I worked for many years with people of all ages and backgrounds in psychiatric hospitals, medical hospitals and community mental health. Committed to excellence in therapy, I am a lifelong learner who continually seeks to add to my clinical knowledge. 

I regularly participate in group and individual consultation to ensure I am providing the best service I can. I am currently pursuing advanced training in EMDR and working toward certification as an EMDR therapist. 

My values as therapist:

  • Create a non-judgmental, safe, confidential environment;
  • Work from a holistic perspective aiming at balance in mind, body and spirit;
  • See you as a unique individual and tailor therapy to your needs;
  • Foster trust and collaboration;
  • Help you identify clear and achievable goals;
  • Focus on your strengths and progress, not just your struggles;
  • Willing to learn from you and acknowledge mistakes;
  • Experience and training in working with cultural, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities;
  • Embody self-care in health, recreation, attention to relationships, and spiritual practice. 

Mindfulness and meditation

In addition to extensive clinical training as a psychotherapist, I am a yoga teacher specializing in mind-body skills for behavioral health. Clients tell me the mindful movements and breathing practices I teach help them get out of their heads and feel calmer. They're happy to have simple techniques to use in stressful situations. I also have training in meditation and have led workshops on beginning a meditation practice. 

More about me

I have been married to my partner for 22 years. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running, gardening, travel, and hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

Frequently Asked Questions

In the first meeting, I hear the story of what’s bringing you to therapy, ask questions to get a picture of your life history, and help you clarify your goals. You also get a sense of what it’s like to talk with me and ask questions you may have about me or the therapy process. By the end of the session, we mutually decide if it seems like I’m a good fit as a therapist for you. If either of us decides we’re not a good fit, I am happy to offer referrals to other therapists.

We decide together after few sessions whether therapy will be short term or longer term. It takes time to get to know you and build trust. The length of therapy depends on the nature of the problem, how long it’s been going on, and your willingness to try new behaviors outside of sessions. I usually recommend committing to weekly therapy for two to three months. We can then reevaluate your progress in meeting your goals.

Therapy is process of healing, going at your pace and taking one day at a time. Each person’s therapy will look somewhat different because each person is different. I recommend weekly therapy for best results. 

I am flexible. I use my extensive knowledge, experience and practical skills to help you meet your goals. In working with you, I help you see your strengths and become less self-critical. I teach skills in:

• new ways of thinking
• emotional awareness and regulation
• physical self-care
• practices to nurture spirituality

I start with you in each session. You decide what’s important to talk about. Most people talk about recent challenging experiences, recurrent problems in relationships, unhealthy behaviors, negative thoughts, and their progress. At times, I encourage you to make connections between the past and the present. This deepens understanding of the roots of your thoughts, feelings and actions.

I am not a blank slate as a therapist. I am interactive. I balance empathic listening, objective feedback and teaching new skills.

Absolutely not. Quite the opposite. It’s a sign of strength and wisdom to acknowledge our human limitations and seek help when we need it. It's then that we can receive what we need from others and develop right relationships. This is the meaning of the often-quoted phrase, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Unfortunately, American culture often takes individualism and self-reliance to an unhealthy extreme. Messages you received early in life about asking for help likely affect your attitude today. When you keep doing the same thing again and again expecting a different outcome, it's time to do something different. I like to say, “When you keep hitting your head against a wall, turn left.”

I charge $150 for 55-minute therapy sessions.  I accept payments at the time of service by credit card, check and Health Savings Account cards.

I am out of network with all insurance companies. Please check with your insurance provider to find out about out-of-network mental health benefits. You will be responsible for paying me the $150 session charge at the end of each session. I will give you monthly receipts to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. 

Not all therapists are the same. Do you seek the best or the cheapest? Fit with a therapist is the most important element in successful psychotherapy, so I encourage you to take the time to find someone with the experience, training and personality that feels right to you. 

The reality of our mental health system today is that most therapists who accept insurance are younger and newer to the profession. This is because insurance companies pay all therapists the same amount, regardless of experience. Because of this, many experienced therapists such as myself make the decision to go out of network in order to be fairly compensated for our years of training and experience. 

What sets me apart:

  • I am a trauma specialist who helps people with family or childhood trauma get relief from anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, and have healthy relationships;
  • I'm engaged in advanced training in EMDR therapy to help people with complex trauma from childhood abuse and dysfunctional families;
  • I work with you from the start to set clear, achievable goals so therapy is focused rather than indefinite; 
  • Life experience with the issues I treat and years of my own therapy. I walk the walk, not just talk the talk;
  • Seasoned professional committed to continuing growth in treating trauma;
  • Interest, training and experience in working with racial, ethnic, gender and sexual minorities;
  • Experience with the Christian worldview, integration of faith in therapy, and the dynamics of church/religious abuse

Definitely. I particularly enjoy working with queer and gender non conforming folks. I am queer and gender affirming and continue to seek continuing education in working with LGBTQ+ people. My pronouns are she/they. 

Yes. I offer late afternoon and early evening hours on Monday through Thursday.

I'm based in Raleigh, NC. I'm offering both in-person and video sessions. I see clients in person on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons at Current Wellness in downtown Raleigh. The address is 219 S. East Street.