in the driver’s seat

    I don’t know if this is part of the driving test, but witnessing it makes it seem worth asking. What would you do if you were driving along in the left lane, and a car (let’s call him “Trouble”) came speeding up behind you? Would you: A) Stay in your lane, slow to a crawl and pump your brakes so Trouble is forced to either pass you or hit you. B) Quickly move to the right and let Trouble pass. If you chose A: You may feel the need to prove yourself. Consequently, you may experience ongoing challenges…


Lost and Found: Email-Interview with Father Kevin Walsh

I wasn’t even looking for them, and I found them!  Two gift cards.  In the process of clearing out the closet, there they were.  I love moments like that.  What could be better? Well, there may be a few things better than a couple of gift cards.  As we enter this holiday season, I thought this would be the perfect time to share Father Kevin Walsh’s email-interview, particularly with those who may themselves be feeling lost during this time. Father Kevin is the Pastor of Culpeper’s Precious Blood Catholic Church.  So much more valuable than a gift card, Father Walsh…


Making A Change

  These last couple of weeks have really been something.  The Washington Nationals won the World Series but a well-loved dog passed away.  Old friends enjoyed a chance encounter, but the Washington Redskins lost…again.   A brother passed away unexpectedly, but a niece is newly married.  A cousin is finally home from the hospital, but a neighbor is struggling with a difficult medical problem. So many big races were won and lost too in this week’s elections.  And on top of it all, Brandy Station’s Shiloh Baptist Church burned. On their face, these events may seem unrelated, with some clearly bad…


I think I can

Someone close to me once told me, “The difference between you and many others is that you really believe you can do just about anything”. Wow. Even as I sit here struggling with so many things, she was right. I do believe that ultimately, I will figure it out. Where did this come from? It came from the combination of teachers, priests, aunts and uncles, parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbors throughout my life. Luckily for me, the majority of those placed before me understood the responsibility of each moment they spent with me as a child. They understood that every…


Faith in the face of fear

  She’s almost all grown up.  But I still worry.  And each time I do, she reminds me not to.  Really, I should know better by now.  Forgive me if you’ve already heard this story, but here’s the reason why.    Almost 13 years ago, I got the call I had always feared. She was five years old and they didn’t know where she was. As I drove to her school, all I thought was “if only”, and “what if”. In between I screamed and prayed for me. Then I cried and prayed for her. I begged God to bring her…


Afraid of the dark?

  If you happened to be out and about earlier this week, you may have caught sight of how big and full the moon was in the night sky.  Waxing and waning through its phases, it seemed to be begging to be noticed.  I recalled childhood memories of riding in the family car, perceiving the moon illuminating our way as we headed home.  Without knowing why, I knew there was something comforting about that.  My daughter teased me, suggesting that I must have felt like the center of the universe, with the moon revolving around little old me.  Maybe, maybe…


Seasons of Life

I’ve always considered myself to be a “spring girl”.  I always loved the chirping of the birds, the floral scents and the warmth of the sun returning to our longer days.  There is so much hope in spring.  Things are coming alive and are so brand new.  That sense of anticipation, hope and optimism leaves me feeling like everything wonderful is possible. But then last week happened.  Suddenly I was reminded that very soon I was going to be cold. Of course, I know it’s coming. If pressed, I might even admit that it’s probably time for it.  But I…


Coaching: Email-Interview with yours truly

Normally I email-interview someone living and/or working a specific aspect of wellness and well-being.  However, due to some unforeseen difficulties, today that somebody is me. I am often asked questions about my work providing Psychological Coaching, so I thought I would share some of those answers with you. What is Coaching? I think of coaching as a dance. It is a chance for you to find your own rhythm and harmony.  People typically consider coaching when something in their lives is feeling off balance, uncomfortable or unmanageable.  As I see it, coaching is a way for a person to find…


Nature’s Way

  This one stopped me dead in my tracks.  I had been hurriedly walking from one point in town to the other, rushing from one appointment to the next.  And then there she was.  Completely out of place, this praying mantis sat (or maybe she was standing) on the driveway of a Main Street business.  What was she doing here in the middle of all this hustle and bustle?  She should have been hidden away on a green leaf somewhere.  But instead here she was shining brightly in all her green glory against the dingy white of Culpeper’s concrete jungle. …


Life Is But A Dream

  My son hurt his ankle, my back went out, the fish died, and the remote stopped working.   But worst of all, my little doggy was doused in hot tea.  And I’m so thankful. It really was a horrible scene.  She had been underfoot, enjoying the promise of a dropped morsel.  Thankfully she was ok.  In fact, while frantically trying to flush her body with cool water, my Merrily was distracted by the smell of cooked bacon.  Relieved to see that she had forgiven and forgotten what must have felt like a betrayal, I gave her the bacon.  I’m pretty…

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Psychological coaching is grounded in the art and science of psychology and is in many ways very similar to traditional psychotherapy.  They both utilize knowledge of human behavior, motivation, behavioral change, and interactive techniques in order to help a client move from where they are to an improved state of being. The differences between psychological coaching and traditional psychotherapy are related to their goals, focus, and perspective. Traditional psychotherapy seeks to diagnose and treat emotional and behavioral conditions, with the therapist serving as "expert" in support of the client. Unfortunately, many have considered the pursuit of traditional psychotherapy to be stigmatizing, in part because of this perspective of the client being "broken" and in need of repair.  Psychological  coaching offers a different point of view.  The coaching psychologist is more likely focused on developing a collaborative relationship, with the client in the "driver seat", with the perspective that the client is creative, whole, and resourceful.  The clients' capacity for wellness and healing is assumed, encouraging them to move more quickly and directly through obstacles to their happiness, success, and life satisfaction.  

As a Coaching Psychologist, my goal is to support you in creating awareness so that you can access your own skills and inner resources in order to manage the challenges you face now and into the future.  While our work together may touch on past traumas and psychiatric concerns, they will be addressed from the perspective of your strengths, rather than with a focus on ill-ness or disability.  In our larger community, it is not unusual for individuals to experience mild to moderate mental health issues, making psychological coaching an accessible and viable option.  If, in the course of our work together, either you or I have reason to believe that your mental or emotional health concerns are better addressed by another service provider, a referral will be made.  

As a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, I have 20 years of ongoing training and experience providing, consulting and supervising others in the provision of psychological services.  However,  as of now, the life coaching field is unregulated, allowing anyone to be a life coach - even those without training in the behavioral sciences.  As well, the coaching field is considered to lack a solid base in research, creating disagreement on educational and training standards. The International Coach Federation (ICF) is working to change this.  In order to ensure that your coach is not counseling others beyond their expertise, it is suggested that when considering a life coach, individuals  should seek coaches who are trained or ICF certified.  Along with my license as a Clinical Psychologist, I am currently enrolled in MentorCoach® L.L.C., one of the oldest ICF accredited coach training programs, and one that will enable me to be an ICF certified coach.