I began my work in human services as a twenty year old working in an orphanage. After returning to school for a degree in Education, I worked for Head Start for a year. I then had the good fortune to find my niche working in mental health beginning with a mental health Day Treatment program. After three years it was clearly time to return to college to earn a Masters of Social Work. After graduation I volunteered with an international health organization doing work in the Philippines. When I returned, I began my employment with Tompkins County Mental Health , which lasted for the next 19 years, supervising the Outpatient Clinic, which serves individuals with chronic psychiatric problems. I also supervised Emergency Services for Tompkins County, where I developed an innovative program that took a proactive approach to working with emotionally disturbed persons and those with mental illness. This approach was featured in a New York Times cover story and on 60 Minutes II (see Galleries and Documents). I worked on cross training for law enforcement and mental health. Through this work I became an FBI trained Hostage Negotiator, and co-founder of the Tompkins Critical Incident Negotiation Team and the Ithaca Police Department SWAT team. I am trained in threat assessment and have provided consultation to all local law enforcement agencies, the FBI, U.S. Marshal Service and the Secret Service. I also have specialized training in trauma treatment that led me to provide mental health treatment to World Trade Center survivors after 9/11.
I began as an adjunct instructor at Ithaca College in 1989 and became a full time faculty member in Fall 2006. My primary teaching interest is the intersection of theory and practice in Counseling and Social Work. I think it is very important that students have experience in the field during their undergraduate years to understand how their classroom studies translate into application in the community. This experience also gives students an opportunity to broaden their view of what community means.
Counseling Theory and Dynamics - Pyschological theories from Freud to the present. (fall)
Introduction to Human Services - Understanding the basics of the helping professions. (fall/spring)
Crisis Counseling - Looking at crisis as a continuum. It's not what happens to you, it's what you do with it. (spring)
Counseling for Change - A look at the major topics confronting all types of counselors, such as: suicde, eating disorders, self mutilation, and substance abuse. (fall)
Counseling Methods - Understanding how to put counseling skills into practice. (spring)
Supervised Fieldwork - An opportunity to put theory into practice in a local progarm or agency. (spring)
Internships - Individual placements, special permission (fall/spring)