I obtained my Bachelor degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Psychology and graduated with honors. I continued on at UNLV for my Masters and Doctoral degrees. While doing this my mind was drawn to the significance of the brain and cognitive processes, leading to studying neuropsychology for my Doctoral degree. Neuropsychology is the study of brain behavior relationships, where specific evaluations provide the evidence for the functioning of distinct areas and processes of the brain.
I received mentorship working in a forensic-neuropsychology practice for two full years assessing a wide array of clients suffering from traumatic brain damage, severe mental illness, fetal alcohol exposure, congenital/developmental disorders, anoxia, and stroke. I was also able to begin learning about cognitive rehabilitation. Cognitive rehabilitation is a dynamic field of looking at how we can improve brain function. I am passionate about the importance of using assessment to make changes in the lives of the people I work with.
My internship was at Sonoma Developmental Center where I worked in a model that was entirely focused on the enhancement of positive behavior. Through using a technique called Positive Behavior Support I was taught to understand motivation and reinforcement, which has richly enhanced my understanding of the people I work with. This grounding in positive behavioral approaches was a drastic change in my perspective and continues to be an essential aspect of my approach.
Subsequent to my graduate training I did post-doctoral work under a clinical neuropsychologist at Napa State Hospital. I continued on at Napa State Hospital, working initially with crisis intervention on the admission unit dealing with trauma, substance abuse, suicide, and people in crisis. I later got more understanding of trauma and deep mental health issues on the all-female unit where instituting the use of positive behavioral practices under my direction the unit was able to reduce violence by over sixty-five percent. Within a year of being at Napa State Hospital I was quickly advanced to a position of Senior Psychologist over Neuropsychological Testing, but also led a team working with developmental disabilities. While doing this I had the opportunity to provide hospital wide trainings on neuropsychological and behavioral issues. I was able to supervise interns, teach nursing staff, and was a leader and participant on many hospital wide committees to improve the quality of care and enhance safety at Napa State Hospital. I formed the training curriculum for the Cognitive Rehabilitation Program at the hospital that centered on helping people improve the function of their brain.
Due to a need to be closer to my family I moved to Utah and took part in Wilderness Therapy with Outback Therapeutic Expeditions where I focused on working with students presenting with developmental issues, past brain injury, and more symptomatic presentations. This was a wonderful opportunity to truly work with families in rebuilding relationships. Through this training and growth opportunity I have been able to watch the transformation of several adolescents as they begin taking accountability for themselves, appreciate the power of their own choices, and as families improve the way they interact with each other.
Within the same company I was advanced to a new facility working as the Assessment Director of Aspen Institute for Behavioral Assessment, which was later named ViewPoint Center. My main job was to evaluate every case coming through the facility both cognitively and behaviorally then write an in-depth neuropsychological report on the findings. The cases typically seen at ViewPoint Center are complex cases involving multiple issues such as developmental disorders, trauma, psychosis, mood dysregulation.
I have also had the opportunity to do private assessment outside of my experiences as a part of ClearView Psychological Services. I conduct very thorough assessments that note the strengths and the limitations of every person I assess. I put the information in practical terms for family members to understand and utilize, while also providing treatment recommendations that are logical and applicable.