Training and Experience
I have 28 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, licensed in New York and Connecticut. I am a Board Certified Diplomate, certified by the American Board of Examiners and hold a Master’s Degree in Social Work as well as membership in the National Association of Social Workers.
Clinical Experience – Lyme Disease
Over the past 24 years, chronic Lyme disease patients have become a growing focus of my practice as I recognized the enormity of the illness and it’s impact on many of my clients. I am committed to working with adults, adolescents and children with Lyme disease, many of whom have complex cases.
For many years, I have been a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), a nonprofit, multi-disciplinary medical society dedicated to the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of tick-borne diseases. As a member of ILADS, I maintain a commitment to ongoing Lyme disease education for myself. In addition, I take a role in providing education for others, by accepting opportunities to speak at ILADS annual conferences.
Philosophy and Scope of Practice
I believe in a comprehensive approach to counseling looking at many aspects of a problem as I help my clients search for solutions. Considering the profound effect of Lyme disease on so many facets of a person’s life, a comprehensive approach is crucial. At times, my work includes consultation with the Lyme patient’s physician or other professionals in order to help my clients find solutions to problems associated with their illness and their ability to function. When children or adolescents are involved, there may be a need for me to provide input regarding school planning, either to the parents, or in a collaborative effort involving the parents and the school. I work with parents on deciding the extent to which my involvement would be helpful.
Advocating for the educational needs of children has always been important to me. It has, however, become a more significant feature of both my professional and advocacy work as I have seen many young Lyme patients who have difficulty succeeding in school, due to the impact of Lyme on their cognitive and executive functioning. I attend workshops and conferences regularly on education advocacy, and I am a member of the Council of Parent, Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).
Professional Advocacy and Accomplishments
This education advocacy has led to my deeper involvement in the Lyme disease professional and advocacy community.
In recent years, my expertise as a Lyme-Literate psychotherapist has afforded me the opportunity to speak at local and national conferences, to consult on the development of an Education Curriculum for the non-profit Lyme Research Alliance, to contribute to the development of a brochure on Lyme disease for the Lyme Disease Association, and to provide in-service training for several school districts.
I am also the Children’s & Mental Health Editor for The Lyme Times published by lymedisease.org. It is a high quality national print publication about Lyme disease, addressing the needs of patients, physicians, educators, parents, and health care policy makers. I was guest editor of two of the special issues of the Lyme Times, the Children’s Treatment Issue and the Children’s Education Issue.
I served as Program Chair and speaker at a seminar, “The Impact of Lyme Disease on the Brain.” Sponsored by the Lyme Connection (formerly Ridgefield CT Lyme Disease Task Force) and the Ridgefield Visiting Nurses Association, this seminar provided a full day of professional education to mental health practitioners. Since then, I have worked with Lyme connection to have annual seminars for mental health practitioners. The panel I assembled also did a seminar at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI co-sponsored by the RI chapter of the Lyme Disease Association, to provide training to mental health practitioners in RI and surrounding states.
I am privileged to use my skills to support the efforts of many groups to stamp out the ignorance that surrounds Lyme disease. I am also privileged to be working with Lyme disease patients and their families, who know what it is like to struggle to get well in the face of a deeply misunderstood and debilitating illness.