A Calling, Not a Career

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People always ask me how I became a psychotherapist, which isn’t that interesting.

I’m happy to give you my credentials:

  • BA, Communications, College of Charleston.
  • MS, Addiction Counseling, Summa Cum Laude, Capella University
  • Clinical residency, internship and employment Cabarrus County facility-based crisis center, a detox facility and mental health stabilization/treatment center.
  • Specialization training – International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP), and the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH).

It’s more interesting why I decided to become a psychotherapist, specifically a Sex Addictions Therapist.

My best friend confided in me that she is a sex addict. Like most people, I imagined a room full of pedophiles, deviants, and rapists. I bought into the false assumptions most people do about sex addiction, just like the stigma that drug addicts and alcoholics are homeless and live under bridges. My best friend wasn’t any of these things.

I started reading and asking questions. Went to some 12-step meetings with her. There were doctors, grandmas, pastors, CEOs, pro-athletes, teachers, and stay-at-home moms in these meetings. Not pedophiles or rapists. I learned sex addiction was a completely different pathology. I supported my friend instead of judging and abandoning her because I was scared.

The more I read about sex and substance addiction, the more I understood how trauma and how we attach to our loved ones and environment change us as we grow up. I wanted to help others and decided to make it my career.

One of my favorite parts of my job is to educate people about addiction. I do this by giving presentations at community group events, churches and school, like my most popular, “What your kids are really doing online and what to do about it.”

I opened my private practice in Mint Hill more than a year ago because I believe people should not have to go to Charlotte to get good mental health treatment. While eating at a local restaurant, I watched a teenager leave a needle hidden in the restaurant booth. I confronted him, gave him a chance to go get the needle and dispose of it, he refused, I told his parents.

We have very high drug, alcohol and porn/sex addiction issues in Mint Hill  – the same as larger cities do, but our denial is very strong and our shame and guilt are even stronger.

I treat tweens – adults for substance abuse, internet/gaming addiction and families dealing with addiction. I chronic infidelity, betrayal, compulsive sex/pornography use, emotional eating, gambling, exercise, spending/shopping, compulsive work habits, trauma, grief and loss, and general life stress concerns. I offer individual, couple, family and group therapy, and intensive therapy sessions.

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