My passion for working with youth started when I was a kid. In middle school I served as a youth mentor for kids struggling in elementary school and led our student team to support peers who were struggling with academics, social skills, family hardships, and behavioral struggles. This process led me directly to where I am today. I attended Boise State University and majored in psychology and pre-med. While attending Boise State I worked full time as an Assistant Resident Director and a youth mentor at the Boys and Girls club. I also worked at a psychiatric inpatient hospital for adolescents. I took a full time job working as rehabilitation tech/ youth mentor at Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections while maintaining a 4.0 GPA my senior year and earned my Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in counseling.
After working for a year as a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, I attended the University of Kentucky where I earned my Masters of Science in Education and Counseling Psychology, with a specialty in Adolescent and Child Development researching gender norms as it relates to functioning and masculinity. I also became a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor with an emphasis in addictions in adolescents and young adults. I co-wrote and published a treatment plan book on co-occurring disorders. Throughout my time at university of Kentucky I worked closely with the Psychology Department and taught Psychology 101.
I have been counseling adolescents, young adults and their families for the last 9 years mostly in residential settings. I spent two years working closely as a supervisor and consult with the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. I am a certified instructor for Suicide Prevention, Adolescent/ Child Development, and Addictions. I have attended and presented at national conferences on youth and integrated family work. I serve on Boise State’s board of professionals that consult and help determine appropriateness for incoming students for their Masters of Counseling program.
While in Graduate School I was also trained and certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) by the Linehan Institute. Where I use a lot of the elements of DBT in my daily use related to Collaboration, Emotional Regulation, and Distress tolerance.
I believe in trauma-informed care lens when working with youth, and I taught a trauma-informed care curriculum for Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections (IDJC) based on research we conducted on trauma in that setting.
I was the IDJC representative on a state wide crossover program with Health and Welfare that met with legislators, judges, and directors to find ways to better collaborate on cases where youth ended up in multiple systems (i.e. health and welfare and justice system)
I was selected as one of 50 people in Idaho and surrounding states to be trained in neuro bio feedback at Boise State University by some of the top people in the field.
As for my motto I believe all youth have a desire to succeed and be functional members of society, but often through organic brain problems, trauma, and other life stressors they developed ways of dealing with the world that can lead to dysfunction later in life (maladaptive coping skills). If they had the skills, knowledge, and/or motivation to be more functional they would be. My goal is to help youth feel safe and secure so that they can explore new ways to address the world and their problems. I believe that we don’t change when we are comfortable and that our job as a counselor is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable for meaningful change and that I approach that through a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy trauma informed lens.
I have worked with some of the most difficult youth and most challenging problems and find it extremely rewarding when we can help them find solutions to complex issues and problems creating dysfunction in their life. This also serves me well in that I am able to take a calm and non-judgemental approach with all the youth I work with and thrive on helping them find ways to work through the most complex problems.
Personally I found that outdoors, sports, and active lifestyle served me well as a youth and believe that the body and mind are connected. I believe that keeping both healthy are important for achieving a satisfying life. I spend a lot of my time being active and outdoors. I have a passion for being outdoors and you can find me in the summer often white water rafting, hiking, camping,, backpacking, and generally spending time outdoors. In the winter I enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, and hot springing. I was raised in a small town by two loving parents on a small farm in small town Idaho and have strong connection with my family where we regularly find ways to spend time together and have new adventures. Away from Novitas, I work hard to be the best dad and role model for my son. He holds my heart and is a constant source of joy.
I am an avid runner, including marathons; I qualified for the Boston Marathon and enjoy races like the Tough Mudders and Spartan races. When not active I also like to read, play chess, and challenge myself to learn and grow.