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James being badass in the Artic

What I love most about my work is witnessing resilience, curiosity, and self-discovery.

Personally, I'm a firm advocate for enrichment through active engagement with community and supportive mentorship. Back in 2007, my career in this field was the result of both when I began work as support staff at The Refuge- A Healing Place. The Refuge is a residential treatment center for substance misuse, trauma related issues, related high risk behavior, and mood disorders located in Ocklawaha Florida.

There I started as a House Manager providing support to clients in an inpatient residential treatment setting. In 2009, I earned certification as a yoga teacher (RYT-200) and developed a program of yoga and mindfulness tailored specifically to the needs of the center where I facilitated classes and groups that addressed the relationship between trauma, high risk behavior, substance use, and recovery. Through Spirit2Spirit Healing I became a Certified Trauma Therapist (CTT) and earned credentials as a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) in the state of Florida. After that I began my role as a caseload counselor facilitating small and large groups. I often look back at my time at The Refuge with fond memories.

During this period I further explored my interests as an artist and musician. Here I flourished and was able to donate pieces to The Refuge Foundation, a scholarship program for future clients. I also participated in local art markets, and cultural events in Ocala, Florida. In addition, I continued a deep practice of yoga and developed a love for the depths of West African rhythm culture and the drum.

Since 2013, I have made my home in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2015 I furthered my academic and professional goals by earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. In 2017 I finished professional training to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. In 2018 I completed a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) at Western Carolina University and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSW-A). Throughout, I maintained addictions credentialing in Florida and in the spring of 2019 became a fully Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) in the state of North Carolina. In the fall of 2019, I was trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and continue my studies in that modality. 

In addition to my academic goals, I have remained dedicated to a well rounded professional career in helping others. Since moving to Asheville, I have worked in private and non-profit settings for children, adolescents, adults, and their families addressing a wide range of health issues. While in school, I also managed my own private practice and provided sessions with clients as a CTT and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC). In this capacity, I co-facilitated trauma intensives across the nation, including serving in roles that provided case management for clients and families, offering support between treatment settings, or assisting clients re-integrating their daily lives after intensive rehabilitation services. 

As a Master of Social Work (MSW) student, I completed internships at The Mediation Center and Mission Health, Asheville. In addition to my practicum experience, my internships consisted of research related to high risk substance use issues, it's impact on inpatient hospitalization, and our local community in Asheville. Upon completing my MSW and and completing Clinical Social Worker-Associate (LCSW-A) credentials, I accepted a role at Mission Hospital where I was trained and provided care in emergency room, adult inpatient settings, and pediatric units. While at Mission, I was a vigilant, dedicated, and assertive advocate for my patients and colleagues providing care as an outspoken proponent for marginalized communities, those struggling with substance use, and traumatic stress. In addition to clinical practice, I also had an advising role on committees at the executive level of hospital administration.

In 2020 I established Lumen Creative Therapy Services PLLC where I continue doing the work I love and grow as a professional. I'm grateful to say this community has offered me the special privilege of being able to embody my own path of personal growth and transformation while the space of Appalachia continues to inspire personal insight, and curiosity, while never ceasing to humble me. Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing from you.


Gates of the Artic NP, 2023

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