Who I am and what to expect
You’re Here. Come on in…
If you’ve navigated to this page, then you identify with what you’re seeing. If you’re seeking counseling, coaching, or improv, let’s schedule a free, 20 minute Zoom consultation to discern together whether I can be a good fit for your needs. If you’re a North Carolina or South Carolina resident, then counseling is an option. Sometime this year, my licensure will allow for me to work with clients in up to twenty-eight states, thanks to the about-to-be-implemented Counseling Compact. See the map of states here.
WHO WORKS WITH ME?
People who want to:
- Step into bigger voice and greater personal power.
- More fully occupy their life.
- Increase the likelihood of fulfilling their needs for intensity and connection.
- Improve the quality of their work.
- Improve the quality of their experience of living.
People come to counseling because there’s something they want to make better or different in their lives. People come to coaching because they are at the precipice of the next big thing and need an experienced collaborator to help them make the leap. People come to improv because they want to:
- Gain trust in themselves and others.
- Practice spontaneity to let their minds light up and emerge from gifted trauma.
- Transcend perfectionism.
- Experience social safety and mirroring in playful ways.
- Laugh, play, cut-up, goof off, and relax.
If you live in North or South Carolina, I’ll be able to work with you as your counselor. People in other states can access coaching and improv. By year’s end, I anticipate being able to practice counseling in many more states due to the Counseling Compact‘s implementation.
WHY WORK WITH ME?
When we work together, you will feel understood, accepted and respected as a gifted outlier. You can expect a professional who will meet you exactly where you are.
I do this work so gifted people can catapult into lives rich with meaning, connection, and impact. I serve gifted people because I am one and because this is what I love to do.
Let’s figure this out
The rejections began early for many of you. The quizzical looks, others’ confusion at seeing your uniqueness in the world. Tsking. Eyes cutting and rolling. The laughing when you expressed your interests with your vocabularies, emotions, and imaginations to people who found it all so strange.
The exasperations as you tried to shine your outlier light, to simply be yourself. Being told to sit still, slow down, do it like everyone else. The surprise you inspired when you expressed intense emotions. They said, “Relax. Lighten up. Quiet down. Stop overthinking. Stop overreacting. Stop making this harder than it needs to be. It’s not that complicated.”
You perceive whole systems and carry an innate drive to excellence. And when it seems the whole world is overwhelmed by you, is rejecting you, you may have felt alone and sought, as you do, to solve the problems.
You camouflaged, hiding your light. The effort creating internal pressure and painful anxiety. Accepting the meager rewards offered for by the neuromajority for your assimilation.
You internalized others’ view of you. Weird, emotional, spacy, hyper, stupid, deserving of rejection. These wounds created by the world can become part of gifted self-concept. Relentless self-criticism, self-rejection.
You may have rejected your authentic self in the way others did. Thinking yourself unknowable and alone, you threw water on your fire. You hid behind anger, apathy, alcohol… Day after day reinforcing the idea you are deviant and impossibly different.
Trapped in others’ perceptions and our experience of them. Powerless to be anyone other than who we’ve been told we are. A terrible certainty that you are wrong, broken, unlovable, unknowable, doomed to loneliness, and deserving of that fate.
Counseling, coaching, and improv are all paths to emerging from the masks you wear.
Retrieving, recognizing, and building your authentic self – that’s what I want to help you do.
Schedule your appointment and get your free consultation.
Why I do this work
Gifted: a word describing a consciousness that is intense, qualitatively different from the norm, outlying, asynchronous in its development, multifaceted, multidimensional.
I see this in my life: In photos of me smiling ear to ear like I am about to gnaw at life itself. An impatience with surface conversation. In intense imaginings and sensory experiences. In perceiving meaning everywhere and in wanting others’ expressions to accurately describe their experiences. In longing for peers. In others’ responses to what I’m doing. “How do you do so much?” In my drive, productivity, and desire for intensity that will match my own.
I want to utilize these characteristics to connect with gifted people and aid you in becoming more fully yourself. You will always be the expert on your own life, and when we work together I will bring over twenty years of counseling experience to a collaborative process of discovery, creativity, and movement.
You can come unstuck, even if you feel like you’ve tried everything or that your problem is too big to handle. You will move through a process of connecting, gaining awareness, figuring out where you want your life to go, and then getting there. I’ve learned what works, and people have grown immeasurably through our work together.
If counseling or coaching is going to be helpful, feeling understood is the most important element. That means having a counselor or coach who knows how to join you where you are, understand the gravity of your situation, and laugh when it’s funny.
If you’ve had your fill of counseling and coaching, or you don’t have an appetite for either, then improv may be the avenue for you. Through game play in a culture of ‘Yes, and’, gifted people find themselves transcending perfectionism, subverting social anxiety, gaining self-trust, and simply laughing together without masks or camouflage. It’s an astonishing and hilarious path to self-development.
HERE’S MORE INFO (including jargon, education, and experience!)
Raised in the suburban wilds of central Florida, my service ethic led me from Warren Wilson College (English major, Appalachian Studies minor) to two years of community reconciliation work in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
From there I continued a trajectory toward a career in service. In 2001, I graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in Community Counseling, and I’ve been a practicing counselor ever since. Since 2016, my entire practice has been focused exclusively on work with gifted adolescents and adults.
In addition to working with clients, I also served for eight years as an elected official on the City Council of Asheville, North Carolina while also serving on numerous other boards in the community.
When COVID hit, I researched ways to build intimacy online in effective ways and stumbled into improv comedy. Through working with instructors at Second City Comedy and the Improv Therapy Group, I have come to understand the power of it, especially for gifted people. Now, I’m an instructor, player, and Improv Therapy Group Advisory Board Member, ‘Yes, and-ing’ my way to greater spontaneity, community, and ease. I lead Improv experiences for gifted adolescents and adults.
I live in the Blue Ridge mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. When I’m not working with clients or playing improv games, I hike, travel, and play chess and disc golf. I write poetry and throw parties. I plant gardens. Life is a banquet, and I am grateful to have a seat at the table and place in the kitchen.
The Neurodiversity Paradigm and Autistic Adults in Therapy – Dr. Katy Higgins Lee
A Gestalt Seminar: Humor in Therapy – Heather Anne Keyes
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Intensive – Dr. Raymond Turpin
Help 2e Students Regulate their Nervous Systems – Candice Guertin
Root Causes of 2e – Austina DeBonte
Attachment Theory Meets Giftedness – Dr. Maggie Brown
Power of Play for Parents and Educators – Otto Siegel
Failure is Fundamental – Dr. Matt Zakreski
Social and Emotional Complexities of 2e+ Students – Dr. Susan Baum
Social Emotional Skills in 2e Students – Julie Bradshaw
Growing Old Gifted – Dan Tichenor, Michelle Kane
Gifted and Autistic: How do we know and what do we do? – Dr. Megan Helmen
Masking of Autism and Gifted Individuals – Dr. Layne Kalbfleisch
Genetic and Biological Factors Underlying Strengths in Autism – Dr. Jake Michaelson
Deep Roots and Wide Wings: Cultivating Authentic Growth in the Gifted – Dr. Eric Windhorst
Gifted Profiling Training – Dr. Jen Harvey Sallin
Improv For Therapists, Levels 1, 2, 3, Advanced – Improv Therapy Group
Coaching Creative, High-potential Drop-outs in their Search for Meaning
Designing Gifted Wellness
The Gifted Graduate: Transitions After High School
Electronics Use in Gifted Kids, Teens, and Adults: The Good, The Bad, and What We Don’t Know
Counseling the Gifted Adult: Advanced Methods–If the Answers Were Simple the Client Would Have Figured Them Out Already
Giving Voice to Gifted Adults
Stop Trying to Stay Ahead of Them: A Coach Approach to Working with Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Kids
Calming the Calamities: Navigating Anxiety, Angst & Anger Among the Gifted
Gifted Therapists: Working Effectively with Exceptional Children and Their Families
Gifted Psychology with Intergifted Director, Dr. Jen Harvey Sallin
EMDR Level 1
[Trainer] Gifted Adolescents, Adults, and Families at Lenoir-Rhyne University
Asynchronous Development: Practical Applications of A Concept Born from Experience – The Columbus Group.
Professionals’ Training for Treating Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
Understanding Neuropsychological Assessment
The Gifted: Frustrated and Misunderstood – part of SENG’s Misdiagnosis Initiative
Being Seen: Self Concept Development in Gifted Adults
The Psychological and Emotional Costs of the Freeze Response in Gifted Students Over a Lifetime.
The Search for Meaning: Existential Issues for Gifted Children
Deep Roots and Authentic Wings: Cultivating Authentic Growth in the Gifted
Genetic and Biological Factors Underlying Strengths in Autism
Masking of Autism and Gifted Individuals – Professional Interventions
Leveraging Privilege to Achieve Equity in Gifted Spaces
Discussing Controversy without Becoming the Controversy: Debate Strategies for Gifted Learners
Understanding and Overcoming Trauma in the Gifted Classroom
Intellectual and Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Black Children
Behind the Mask: The Dangers of Code-Switching as an Indicator of Giftedness
Improvisational Living for the Gifted (PRESENTER)