Mental Health Counselor
I bring 25 years of experience and my passion to each retreat. I started this journey working with teens in a southern Utah wilderness program. I loved the effect that nature had on struggling adolescents; the natural consequences, the beauty and peace that is found in nature. After several years spent learning the healing benefits of nature my focus moved to treating addiction i.e. drugs, pornography, gaming etc. There was heartbreak as I watched teens struggle at home to maintain the changes they had worked so hard for. That led me to transition work. I spent several more years working directly with teens and their families, (the whole system) directly in the home preparing each member to understand their role in successful family life.
In 2010 our family moved to Escalante, Utah where I worked as the Clinical and Executive Director of a youth program. One of the things that drew me to this program was its Christian-based “real” ranch experience. It was the first opportunity I had to combine my faith in God with the faith of others, alongside the therapeutic healing principles in nature that I knew to be effective. I loved being able to talk about God, His healing and redeeming power as it pertains to recovery and change.
For as long as I can remember, I believed in the possibility of continual spiritual promptings and inspiration, but I just was not sure how to get it. There was a warring in my soul as I tried to determine if it was my lack of effort or my own insignificance in the sight of God that kept me from experiencing what I yearned to have. Now, after months of seeking, pondering, listening, repenting, doing a number of “fearless moral inventories” and repenting again, I can testify that regular interactions with the Holy Spirit are not only possible but probable. Enlightenment came as I sat in a group of boys encouraging them to own their denial about how drug use was affecting their lives. It was then that I realized I too was in denial. I was operating under a high level of stress, anxiety, fear of failure and overwhelm due to the liability I carried in my current job. I was burnt out, had lost my passion for the work and felt overwhelmed. I was in denial of the reality that this job was sucking the life out of me. Most devastating of all was that I had lost my former closeness with God. I was just going through the motions, trying to survive.
I recognized that I was no longer helping anyone. I was living a life of obligation, fear, and blame. I knew I either needed to change or take responsibility for the situation I was in.
What followed was months of personal work. I continued the process of clearing the 'debris' in my own life; recognizing, repenting, repairing, listening, recording, waiting, and serving. Finally, after pleading with God, he began to lift me out of the faulty narrative I had created, and into a story that He and I would write together.
I asked God a stirring question…
Emerge and Become Retreats were the answer!