Kristen was born and raised in Utah and received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Utah in 2006 (Go Utes!). She moved to Missouri shortly after graduating and got her Master of Social Work in 2008 from Missouri State University. Having lived in Joplin since 2007, Kristen feels very connected to the community here. She is licensed in Missouri and Oklahoma and has worked as a counselor for 13 years with experience in several different settings. Her career began at a domestic violence shelter/substance abuse treatment center for women. Next, she went on to work in outpatient substance abuse treatment with men and women, a community mental health center, and an outpatient clinic for Native Americans. She has experience working with a multitude of issues including depression, LGBTQIA+ issues, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, life transition stress, religious trauma, self-esteem, substance abuse, anger management, PTSD, stress and depression related to physical health problems, and survivors of mental/physical/sexual abuse. Kristen is passionate about helping people recover from childhood trauma no matter how big or small it may seem.
Kristen enjoys working with people ages 14 and up and has experience with all age groups in that range from high school and college students transitioning into adulthood, people navigating romantic relationships, new parents with young children, parents with adolescents, empty nesters, and people approaching or well into retirement. Kristen has experience in individual, couple’s and group therapy. She recognizes how hard it is to share distressing ideas with a stranger and works to create a therapeutic relationship where people can feel comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts.
Kristen is trained in EMDR, which has been shown to be an effective treatment for many issues but is especially well documented as a treatment for people with a history of trauma. Often traumatic experiences are stored as more than just a picture or memory of what happened and can show up in the body as physical symptoms (pain, digestive issues, muscle tension) and emotional responses that do not always seem to fit the situation. EMDR can be a highly effective tool at working through those things. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is another tool Kristen uses to help people understand how their thoughts influence their behaviors. She has found that often people need help seeing the gray areas in life instead of viewing things as “black or white.” It is important to Kristen to use the treatment modality that fits the client best giving her a flexible approach to the therapy process.
In closing, Kristen stated, “I feel it is an honor to be a part of a person’s life journey and I am grateful to experience their growth and capacity for change firsthand.”