MEET DONNA

MY BACKGROUND

My endless fascination with the power and potential of the human mind since I was a teen and my own healing and transformative experiences in therapy as an adult inspired my decision to pursue psychology as a profession. I continue to pursue pathways of personal growth, most recently, wellness coaching and mindfulness practice. I moved to Austin over 20 years ago for graduate training in the UT doctoral Counseling Psychology program and received a Master's degree in Educational Psychology in 1997. I grew up in Fort Worth, graduated from the University of Dallas, a Catholic liberal arts college, and pursued post-graduate study in psychology and art at Penn State. Since obtaining my license as a professional counselor in 2002, I have worked in schools, clinics, psychological assessment, psychoeducation, and independent private practice working with all ages for over 15 years,  As an advocate for increasing access to mental health services for under-served areas through technology, I have expanded my reach outside of the local Austin area with telehealth counseling services, allowing me to connect with a diversity of people from many walks of life and all over the world which I greatly enjoy.

MY APPROACH, STYLE, AND PHILOSOPHY

Approach Solution-focused brief counseling is one of several treatment approaches I use in helping you "grow your best self." I choose to specialize in the solution-focused, brief treatment model because it can generate results quickly for many common issues through focusing on positive actions you can take in the here-and-now of your daily life, putting your strengths to work in building a more ideal version of your future life, rather than focusing on the past, problems, and symptoms. Other approaches I often use include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness training, all approaches that can help empower you to meet life's challenges with greater resilience and effectiveness, and in harmony with your values.  I draw on insights from positive psychology, a developing new branch of psychology, which has been called "the science of happiness,' to provide practical tools to help you enjoy more satisfaction and peace in your life. I use assessments or psychological "tests" to track your progress and to promote accelerated insight into your personality, relationships, and patterns.

Style Above all else, I strive to be authentic and fully present with you during sessions, to meet you where your are, with genuine appreciation and compassion for what brings you to this point in your life—without judgment, assumptions, or an agenda. I view my work as co-creating a positive and productive space for you to experience full freedom to explore, discover, and claim new aspects or disconnected parts of yourself. I've been told by clients over the years that I have a calm, positive, and reassuring presence. I especially love working with those who are new to counseling and therapy and work to make the process for newcomers less mystifying and daunting. 

Philosophy I embrace the idea that optimal well-being integrates all facets of the self—body, mind, heart, and spirit—and that cultivating greater self-awareness, gratitude, and compassion towards self and others opens the door to an authentic, meaningful, and deeply satisfying life. I believe that when our actions are motivated by love instead of fear, an ordinary life of surviving and striving can be transformed into an extraordinary life of abundance and thriving. I view counseling and therapy as one of a number of useful paths for healing and personal growth which can be instrumental in helping us find the courage and wisdom to follow an upward arc in our lives, moment to moment and day to day.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION, CREDENTIALS, AND AFFILIATIONS

Bachelor of Arts, 1987 University of Dallas, Liberal Arts, Irving, Texas, and Rome, Italy

Master of Arts 1997, University of Texas at Austin Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology doctoral training program

Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, License #17728, 2002 - current

American Counseling Association, Member

Texas Counseling Association, Member

Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS), Member

Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC), Member

Texas Association for Humanistic Education and Development, Member

Open Path Collective Psychotherapy Collective, Member

Still have questions about my experience, background, or training? You're welcome to drop me a line