I believe that my personal and professional values are similar. I value dignity and worth of people, value human relationships and believe in the concept of empowerment. I have a strong desire to see people reach their highest potential and believe that the majority of humans try to be the best person, partner or parent they can be-yet at times need support in finding their best path to do so. I believe that my education has prepared me well, however, my personal experiences-both painful and inspiring have provided the greatest insights. I believe education is crucial to human development, yet I also believe that there are human characteristics that cannot be found in textbooks or journals-such as empathy, values, intuition and instincts. I strive to apply these concepts in all aspects of my work and personal life.
I was trained in graduate school (Eastern Michigan University) in family systems therapy and completed an internship at the Michigan Department of Human Services where I was part of a research team who investigated kinship foster care interventions-modeled after the progressive approach of New Zealand's Maori population. I also conducted a qualitative research project on mental health needs of migrant farm workers.
I began my work providing mental health services to the Latino community in Lorain, Ohio where I developed culturally sensitive mental health programs for children in a bilingual school and also developed a bilingual therapy unit for children and families. I continued to work as a therapist with many diverse clients-both in community mental health and in private practice. I have focused a great deal of my career working on women's developmental issues and developing interventions for at risk populations. I conducted a social action research project in my doctoral program where I investigated the phenomenon of children and stimulant medication referrals for ADHD. I developed a new non-medical model and trained educators on creative methods of managing student's behavioral issues.
In my academic life, I have taught at Lorain Community College, Capital University and developed and implemented a new social work program at Lambuth University. I currently teach at Ohio University. I believe that my clients and students have been my best teachers in understanding human needs. I find great joy in collaborating with others on their personal development. I have come to learn after seeing hundreds of individuals, couples and groups over the years that meaningful change does not occur unless humans develop an intrinsic sense of purpose. For example, I do not just teach new material and give exams-my students share their new learning with others by giving university and community presentations, providing women's empowerment campus activities and mentoring other students. In my academic career, I have been able to work on various international research projects, such as studying non-traditional healing practices in Peru.
I have also found great joy in my life working as a consultant/trainer to many organizations and companies. It is rewarding to not only help individuals identify their strengths, but also to help larger systems operate more humanely and effectively. Similar to individuals, organizations take on a distinct personality-they can be self-absorbed and stagnant or creative and productive. I have worked with many social service agencies, health care corporations, and businesses on organizational development matters.
I am highly dedicated to my professional life, however I also enjoy spending time with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoy spending quality time with my women friends and having women's weekend retreats where we laugh, talk, listen and just relax. I enjoy socializing with all cultures and socioeconomic groups of people and find diversity to be the spice of life! I enjoy traveling and exploring new cultures-even if it is a community an hour down the road from my home. I try to stay balanced by learning new things-such as hiking, playing my Spanish guitar and learning tai chi. I am married to the love of my life Joel with whom I enjoy many adventures and a deep sense of support and companionship, we also welcomed our first child to our family, Joel Jr.