Getting to know me
Did I always want to be a therapist?
That's a big old nope! I always knew I wanted to be a helper but in college that looked like pursing Speech-Language Pathology. In fact, in graduate school I avoided every clinical class and didnt know how to give a diagnosis when I graduated. The universe had different plans for me though and very early in my social work career I found myself surrounded by amazing clinicians who shaped and nurtured me and helped me find my calling as a child therapist. For that I am so grateful!
Who Do I look up to?
I very much look up to the researchers at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard, particularly Dr. Jack Shonkoff, who has contributed tremendously to the knowledge base on early brain development and the impact of warm, nurturing relationships on development across the life span. One of my life's hopes is to work with him someday, and one of my girlfriends who works at Harvard makes sure to text me every time she interacts with him. #jealous
I also really love Mr. Rogers and have a practice of taking off my shoes and putting on slippers when I'm working with little ones.
What's my favorite thing about working with the littles?
I love hearing all the word-approximations that young children come up with as they're learning to talk and to have themselves understood. A couple of my all-time favorites are "whackamole" instead of guacamole and "bang bang" for bandaid. It's just the daggum cutest! I'm also always tickled by how little kids try to pronounce my name or the ways they describe me. I've been: Ms. Howley, Ms. H, Ms. Therapy, and "the girl who teaches us how to behave."
Where am I from?
I'm a California native who ran away across the country at 17 to go to college. I am the first in my family to go to college and had never left the state of CA which was the perfect recipe for a classically romantic dream of going to college "to find myself." Silly not-fully-developed brain. I ended up loving NC and stayed for fifteen years before deciding it was time for a new adventure and moving to south Florida in the summer of 2019.
Over the course of my career I've had the pleasure of specializing in and becoming an expert in the development of very young children, from birth through age 7. In a variety of roles (as a childcare teacher, an AmeriCorps volunteer, an elementary school tutor, a clinical social worker, a nanny and babysitter) and in many settings (classrooms, clinics, and homes), I've had the distinct honor of being witness to and assisting with the development of hundreds of young children. The amount of growth and the speed with which it occurs during these early years never ceases to amaze me and I am endlessly delighted by the hope and wonder that young children experience in the world as they grow.
What I have learned over time working with hundreds of families, and what is also supported by a vast body of research, is that while the period of early childhood can be magical, it is also very stressful for most families. Many parents are trying to break cycles and patterns that they experienced in their own childhoods and parenting with that goal takes a tremendous amount of intentionality, and often times, support and guidance. In our work, my role is to support you in being in charge of your child’s healing and your family’s future.
Beginning in graduate school, I have had the privilege of being mentored and trained by internationally recognized behavioral and trauma experts in the fields of infant and early childhood mental health. These incredible women instilled in me the value of evidence, research, and science that I continue to bring to my practice. Using evidence-based treatments allows me to say to clients, “If we work together and use this model or these strategies, things WILL get better;” and that’s incredible! I cant wait to be able to hear your story and your concerns and to be able to confidently give you the same hope.
Feedback I’ve Received
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
North Carolina: C008379
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Social Work
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Concentration in Direct Clinical Practice
B.A. in Linguistics with Highest Distinction
Minor in French Studies
Certificate in Early Childhood Education Studies
Graduated Cum Laude
Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH)
Rostered Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) Clinician
Completed all requirements for state and international rostering to provide PCIT.
Rostered Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) Clinician
Completed all training and requirements for state and national rostering as a CPP clinician.
Rostered Cognitive Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Completed all training and requirements to be a state and nationally rostered TF-CBT clinician.
Accredited Triple P Provider
Completed training to become an accredited provider of Level 3 individual, Level 3 group, and Level 4 Triple P (Positive Parenting Program).