PhD, Psychology, 2011
Northcentral University, Prescott Valley, AZ
- Specialization: Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine
- Dissertation: Stress Effects on Physical Health of Mothers of Sexually Abused Children
MA, Human Development and Psychological Counseling, 1995
Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
- Dual concentration in Addiction and Marriage/Family with specialization in sexual abuse and sex offender counseling
- Thesis: The Effects of Teaching Adaptive Defense Mechanisms to Non-Offending Spouses in Incestuous Family Systems
Portland State University, Portland, OR
I obtained a Bachelor's degree in Psychology in 1992 from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. I earned my Master's degree in Human Development and Psychological Counseling in 1995 from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. A dual emphasis in Addictions and Marriage and Family provided the framework for my training. Coursework and clinical experience focused on a sub-specialization in sex abuse and sex offender treatment. My internship was completed at Sex Abuse Intervention Services (SAIS), part of Burke County Mental Health program in Morganton, North Carolina. During that internship I initiated and facilitated a Non-Offending Spouse Group and a Parents of Adolescent Sex Offender's group, as well as providing individual and group services to offenders. The Non-Offending Spouse Group included learning coping strategies, with pre and post-testing, and my Master's thesis was titled: The Effects of Teaching Adaptive Defense Mechanisms to Non-Offending Mothers in Incestuous Families. I published an article related to the findings of my thesis research following my graduation.
I earned a PhD in Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine in 2011 from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona. As a independent project in my PhD program, I created a website for mothers of sexually abused children (www.mosac.net), offering information, support ,and resources to mothers following their child's disclosure of sex abuse. The website includes both a Facebook and Twitter page for mothers to access additional information, support, and resources. Research for my dissertation focused on the effects of disclosure on mothers of sexually abused children, investigating dissociation, PTSD, and somatic symptoms in mothers and is titled: Stress Effects on Physical Health of Mothers of Sexually Abused Children. Results were significant, showing ongoing symptoms of PTSD and negative health effects in mothers, even years after the initial disclosure.