Tree of Hope Counseling and Wellness Center
Mental and Behavioral Health
How did you get into this industry?
In 1995, I began working for a community psychiatric rehabilitation center in Jefferson City. I spent 20 years with the agency gaining very valuable knowledge and training. I chose to follow my childhood dream to one day open a private practice. The doors at Tree of Hope Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC, opened in 2017. I was motivated to be able to work with all ages and stages of people’s lives. I wanted to have opportunities to share my skill set and embrace all new personal and professional challenges. In 2022, I took the dream to another level by opening Rejuvenation Stations at the Branch, LLC. The concept is to offer the public a unique self-care experience while addressing both physical and mental health as they work in conjunction with one another.
What sets you apart?
I offer a personalized approach to helping my clients create their own mental health toolbox. We work together to fill it with coping skills and interventions specific to their goals. I have a natural ability to truly connect with all ages and personalities. I have never been shy or unapproachable, and I am always open-minded to where a person is at in their life.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about mental health?
The industry is about the change process! Most people seeking counseling want little or big change(s) to happen in their life. Change also brings about fear/anxiety, which allows clinicians in this field to help a person address those issues head-on so the process can become smoother and long-lasting.
How do you stay current in your field?
Being a member of several counseling organizations like the National Board for Certified Counselors, American Counseling Association, and NAMI, while also staying current on my continuing education, allows me to learn new treatment modalities in my field.
What are the top three skills needed to be a master in your industry?
Having an open mind, encouraging a teamwork approach to treatment planning, and the ability to connect with people through a variety of listening and problem-solving skills.
When someone is looking to hire a therapist, what should they look for?
A positive attitude, consistent work ethic, an out-of-the-box thinker, and a person with thick skin (meaning they can work with all types of people and difficult issues). In this industry, we work with people who are experiencing hardships, trauma, grief, life changes, and multiple diagnoses, so being able to adapt and let your empathy emerge in a genuine way is what will make the best connections and build a solid rapport.
How do you define success and how do you celebrate a win?
My success is when a client is living a more quality-filled life each day. If a person comes back to see me and has highlights to share regarding a certain skill, they might have implemented into a situation that resulted in a positive outcome— that is a win! I love hearing a person say, “I am trying,” and I can see it in their eyes and body language. Making a solid connection with someone, who ends up putting their trust in me, which resulted in working together as a team. I celebrate these kinds of wins by feeling a personal reward in helping to support a person’s change process.
What has been your biggest struggle?
Grieving my dad and husband has been the most intense personal struggle for me as a professional due to the mental and emotional toll it took on me and my family. Looking back, the two of them have been my strength and inspiration to stay in the mental health field. The Tree of Hope and Rejuvenation Stations being available to the public are my personal silver linings to the tremendous losses of these two wonderful men. I feel like an expert in the grief process and have overcome the obstacles allowing me the ability to help others in their path to healing from a loss.
What is your favorite way to unwind?
I enjoy my commute home from the office. This is a time I can reflect on the day and self-talk about how I want the evening to line out. I live by the quote, “Work hard, play hard.” I always feel validated in playing hard (enjoying time with my Ohana and friends, engaging in many hobbies, traveling, and trying new things) because I put in the necessary days’ work first.
What are you most thankful for in your line of work?
Having the skill set and location to offer a variety of mental, behavioral, and self-care options to anyone seeking change in their life. Also, knowing I am naturally capable of connecting and being a resource base to help people help themselves provides me with much gratitude.
Do you feel like you have work/life balance?
I would not have the amount of balance in my life if it was not for the support of my family, friends, community, and staff members. Knowing I can count on so many people in my life helps me navigate my days. My natural supports help reduce my stress and provides the peace I need in knowing I have quality people I can count on.