“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow”
– Ritu Ghatourey
Activities & Affiliations
Associate Professional Counselor
Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia
BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
B.S. Political Science
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
Special Education Teacher Certification
M.A. Professional Counseling
Human Animal Intervention Specialist
Meet Our Therapy Dogs
Life experiences have led me to where I am today, a place where I have been able to grow and learn from my past hurts, and mistakes, and life events I had no control over. I realized in college the importance of finding professional counseling help when needed. It was frankly, a “relationship” I didn’t want to enter at all. I was going to face a stranger, put all my “dirt” on the table, and he or she was going to judge me, I was certain. Obviously, I did not have a very good idea of what it meant to enter a therapeutic relationship. Since that first counseling session I stepped into as a “hot mess” of a client, I began to realize therapy didn’t mean I was “crazy” or that I was going to be judged. It meant I was strong because I reached out to get help and there was a person willing to collaborate with me to help me get well. Years passed by, and I found myself divorced and alone. Once again, I sought out counseling. This time knowing the benefits of a professional counseling relationship. I met a wonderful Christian counselor who taught me we are all broken, but that doesn’t have to define us or how we choose to live our lives. She provided me with tools, and counseling expertise that I now aspire to emulate with my clients.
Do you feel “broken”? Would you like something other than your brokenness to define you and how you choose to live your life? Will you be strong too?
For many years, everything was going well with my life. I was teaching children, I had remarried and was living a blessed life, and then I received a phone call from my sister informing me my brother had committed suicide, and my world crashed down around me. This was an event I didn’t play a part in and had no control over. After my brother’s death, I was “sick” all the time, I was “depressed” all the time, I had no desire to live and I began to feel a pull to wanting to be where he was, thinking maybe he made a good choice. In the therapy world, that is called suicidal ideation. I KNEW I needed help beyond the anti-depressant my doctor had prescribed. I searched my area for a counselor to help me, but in my immediate area at the time I was unable to locate one. I began to pray and think a lot about my future and wondered if I was the only person searching for help. I quickly found out I was not alone, and while people struggle with allowing themselves to be vulnerable, people need and want help. Beyond just help though, people are searching for hope, and sometimes need someone to walk alongside them to help them recognize the light that can come from out of the darkness.
Have life circumstances beyond your control crashed down around your world? Are you searching for help, for healing, for hope, for light in the darkness?
After finding and getting the help needed, I began to feel better. I found myself wanting to be able to do more to help “broken” people in my community and nearby. I didn’t want them to experience the struggles of finding help that I had endured. In addition, I desired to teach people to administer ceaseless self-care for themselves, to ignite new fires/passions in their lives, to provide a place for honesty, growth, healing, and hope.
Are you willing to go the distance to the uncomfortable places to grow and develop the best version of you; The honest, passionate, healed, hopeful person living the life designed for you?
Helping women, teenage girls, and children with the traumatic challenges of their lives is an area of counseling that is near and dear to my heart, for more reasons than I can even begin to share with you here. However, I will say that I can think of many struggles I faced (face) as a woman and, also as a child, and a young teenage girl. I wish I had known there was help to be had! My time working at an elementary school also left me feeling that there was a missing piece to helping children develop and grow in emotional, behavioral, and social well-being. I wanted to serve as the missing piece, helping kids in times of need. I decided to return to school and received my M.A. in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. I was blessed to receive a practicum and an internship position with Dr. Sherie Hawkins at Hope Springs Counseling, LLC and have work as a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (APC #005833) directly under her supervision since 2016. By 2020, I should be a fully Licensed Professional Counselor and I could not be more thrilled to have found a passion that helps restore others in mind, body, and spirit!
Are you or your kiddo(s) suffering from your own struggles or traumatic situations, wishing you had someone who could help? Are you looking for restoration to feel whole again in the interweaving of your mind, body, and spirit?
I knew as I entered the counseling profession, I wanted to move beyond the four walls of a room and incorporate new and exciting, sometimes unconventional therapy practices. One of the “homework” assignments I had received in therapy was to get outside and get moving. I knew incorporating the outdoors in therapy was going to be important in my career and therefore I am working to incorporate Nature-Based Therapy when appropriate in my work.
Do you find you feel better when you are able to get outside and get moving?
In addition, I found that my dogs were an unconditional support through the tough times I experienced, and as a previous dog trainer, and animal lover, I wanted to incorporate Animal-Assisted Therapy into my practice when appropriate. I completed Animal-Assisted Therapy training through Oakland University, and I am a certified Human Animal Intervention Specialist. I believe, in some instances (and research has shown), animals provide a more comfortable environment, and can improve the therapeutic relationship between client and counselor. My dogs, Xena (the black lab) King (the white American bulldog/lab mix), and Doc (the Yorkshire Terrier) are sometimes just in the office for that “comfortable” feeling, but at times they may also assist in helping clients achieve their therapeutic goals within the counseling session for both children and adults.
Do you love animals, (or at least dogs) and believe they could be beneficial to your therapy sessions? (If not, that’s okay too…I have days they stay at home)
I think it is important to recognize that everyone has unique experiences in life and being “normal” can be overrated. I believe there is an ebb and flow to life and sometimes we reach a point where we cannot manage it alone. I am here to help, and it is my desire to provide a holistic approach that helps people to improve their lives in mind, body, and spirit.
Are you ready to champion a new life, a life that allows you to overcome feeling “broken,” a life that fosters fruitfulness (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and a life that interconnects your mind, body, and spirit? .
I hope when you are ready you will reach out to me and start your own healing journey. I don’t say this just as a counselor, I say it as a person who also just continues to take the next step: There is something beautiful waiting for you if you are willing to just take the next step.
Thank you for considering me and Hope Springs for your counseling needs.