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What We Offer

Quality Psychological Evaluations

I conduct quality evaluations to assess for the presence of neurodevelopmental differences (including ADHD, Autism , and Nonverbal Learning Disorders), Specific Learning Disorders, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, and a range of other mental health presentations. My evaluation process includes an initial intake via Telehealth to determine the scope of the evaluation, followed by evaluation sessions.  You will receive an individualized written report which summarizes the history, provides an in-depth description of the evaluation results, and concludes with a summary of the client's current presentation, a diagnostic impression, and a range of recommendations based upon current findings, client preferences, and best practice based on the scientific research.  Upon completion of the report, I meet with the individual or family to discuss results and talk about implications and next steps.  I am happy to collaborate with your/your child's therapist, school team, and other treatment providers.  Please keep in mind I work primarily with children and teens.  The exception is that I work with individuals throughout the lifespan who would like information regarding the presence of autism, including what was formerly referred to as Asperger's.  With over 15 years of experience working with neurodivergent individuals including autistic folks, I am happy to assist you in this regard.

Assessing and Supporting Autistic Humans

I have expertise in assessing and supporting autistic individuals.  My first experience with autism came when I was working towards my BFA in Modern Dance.  My friend introduced me to an incredible family and their young autistic children. For many years, I worked to support their children at home and school, and became lifelong friends with this family. They had an amazing impact on my life.  Because of them, I decided to pursue a career in psychology.  

 

During my time in graduate school at the University of Utah, I was employed as a research assistant at the Utah Autism Research Program.  I worked on a number of research studies including the Adult Outcome Study in partnership with UCLA.  I conducted direct assessment, behind-the-scenes research, and also led adolescent social skills groups using the PEERS Curriculum.  I also had the pleasure of working with autistic adults putting together social events for an adult social group.  During my graduate school career, I was accepted into the prestigious Utah Regional Leadership in Education and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) program.  Through URLEND, I worked directly with autistic individuals, engaged in grassroots advocacy at the state and national level, and conducted research aimed at improving the lives of autistic people and their families.  I also accepted an invitation to represent the program as an advocate for people with disabilities in Washington DC. 

 

Following graduation, I have worked with autistic individuals in a variety of capacities, including in the public school setting, through family therapy at The Children's Center, in therapy through my private practice, and through the psychological evaluation process.  I regularly work with autistic clients ages 3 through late adulthood.  I am well-versed in helping people understand the nuances and strengths of individuals who are autistic and gifted or twice exceptional (2e).  I also have an in-depth understanding of the ways autism presents differently in those assigned female at birth, and in queer, trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse populations, as well as the presentation of autistic BIPOC individuals. I have worked with many adults for whom a diagnosis of autism was validating, empowering, and provided much-needed clarity moving forward.  
 

Neurodivergent Affirming

I employ a neurodivergent affirmative approach to working with my autistic clients, which includes recognizing and working against an ableist narrative.  This approach recognizes that neurodiversity is a part of human diversity at large.  When you come to me for therapy or an evaluation, it is important to know that I am not going to seek to "cure" or "fix" characteristics of Autism.  Instead, I will work with you,  your family, or your child,  to determine the goals you have for evaluation and/or therapy.  As such, I often work with families to increase their understanding of neurodivergence and autism specifically, so that they can create a more neurodivergent-friendly atmosphere at home.  I have worked with many children and teens to help increase their social emotional capacities and self-regulation.  Additionally, I have worked with young adults around the nuanced social skills necessary for dating and workplace situations.  Working from a neurodivergent perspective, I also understand that this process is a "two-way street," and therefore I work with families and clients to advocate for more neurodivergent-friendly environments at school, at home, and in the workplace.  I regularly work with families to help them better understand their neurodivergent student.  I work on skill development for the individual as well as their families and partners.  

Our society is very narrowly constructed to best fit one "type" of person, and that person rarely actually exists.  When you come to me as a neurodivergent individual or family, we will not be working on "fixing" autistic traits to fit some outdated norm for behavior.  Rather, we will work collectively to enhance understanding from all parties to best serve the client's independence, self-determination, and happiness moving forward. 

 

Perhaps you are a family who has just received a diagnosis of Autism and you are struggling to understand what that means in regard to how you parent your child, or what types of activities will be most beneficial moving forward.  I would love to be a part of your journey in this regard.

Perhaps your adolescent has started struggling socially in middle school and feels disconnected from others.  Autism can often go undiagnosed until the social landscape becomes more nuanced and complex, particularly around middle school.  If you believe your student may be autistic, I can help with the evaluation to determine whether that is the case, and how best to support them moving forward.

Perhaps you are an adult who has struggled in relationships because there is a lack of understanding from both parties regarding expected norms for communication.  I can work with you to increase your own understanding of nuanced social skills for developing relationships, and also work to help you be able to communicate your own needs so that your partner can also increase their understanding of what you need in a relationship.  

LGBTQ+ Affirming

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, working in a helping profession, I employ an LGBTQ+ affirming approach to therapy and psychological evaluation.  I will always honor an individual's pronouns, name, and gender identity, regardless of family of origin preference.  I understand that a heteronormative narrative pervades society and causes harm to those who identify as LGBTQ+.  There is research to suggest that LGBTQ+ individuals are at a higher risk for mental health difficulties such as depression.  This is due to the negative influences of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism, which unfortunately can often result in trauma, sometimes even at home.  Therefore, evaluation and therapy with me should be a safe, affirming space regardless of gender or sexual identity.  Similar to my approach with neurodivergent populations, I recognize that the long-accepted, pervasive narrow "norms" of society need changing, not the other way around.  

Trauma-Informed Services

Regardless of the capacity in which we work together, rest assured that all of my services are trauma-informed, and this is extremely important to me.  As part of the psychological evaluation process, I always consider the impact of traumatic experiences that may be impacting an individual's current presentation.  If trauma is in fact present, I work together with the individual and family to understand the impact the trauma is having in their current experience, and take this into consideration when formulating a diagnostic impression.  Trauma exposure can have a direct impact on an individual's executive functioning skills, mood, behavior, body, and relationships.  It can often be misdiagnosed as ADHD, mood disorders, behavioral disorders, or other problems if it is not well-understood by the clinician.  Traumatic stress can also overlap with other diagnoses. Therefore, this is always taken into consideration in my practice.  Should an individual present with active trauma, I am sure to connect the individual/family with the proper resources they need.  Sometimes this includes making a report if the person is experiencing active abuse or victimization.  

In therapy, I am trained in a number of therapeutic modalities that address traumatic stress, particularly in children and families.  Following my graduate school training, I completed an APPIC internship at The Children's Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Through my training at TCC, I worked with families utilizing Child Parent Psychotherapy, the Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) method, trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), and play therapy principles. 

When you work with me at Empower Psychological Services, you will receive trauma-informed evaluation and therapy services for your family, your child, and yourself.  

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