“Why do you love reality TV?” and other FAQs
Who are you?
I’m Dr. Jen, a recovering, anxiously attached person who went from a small-town country girl with low self-esteem to a tree-hugging psychotherapist. I help people strengthen their mental health core with tools for the brain, body, and relationships.
I listened to my first self-help cassette tape when I was 13 years old, and the rest is history!
I was four years into my almost 20-year therapy career when I had a massive shift (read: “breakdown”) and questioned everything I knew about my marriage, budding career, friendships, and my life. Only then did I start to understand what made people tick (yeah, that’s *while* I was already a practicing therapist).
What is this place?
Here, you learn simple yet robust self-help tactics to use outside the counseling room. Either with your 1:1 counseling or during maintenance mode, utilize the Self Love Toolbox to gather the necessary resources to nurture your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
I created a career built on evidence-based and holistic tools to help people explore their individual relationships with themselves and others by understanding attachment styles, personality traits, and learned behaviors. I help people create their Best Future Self (BFS) by moving from insecure relationship patterns into safe, secure relationships with themselves and others.
Why should I care?
Humans have an innate desire to feel like they belong. At one end of the Love Spectrum is unconditional acceptance and positive regard. On the other, the feeling of rejection.
Humans have survived through the years because of the quality of their tribe (i.e., who they have in their inner core). We're social animals that require interdependence on other healthy, safe, strong people. Nourishing, secure, safe relationships are required for humans to thrive and live well. Now that we’re past the “Holy crap, I’m being chased by saber-toothed tigers” phase, we know that those people's connections are the foundation of optimal mental health.
Human connections are vital, and we are constantly in a phase of give-and-take with everyone we contact. However, you can only give to others from your overflow. When you don’t have an overflow (i.e., a full emotional bank account), you’re barely able to give to yourself, and you usually have healthy external relationships either.
It’s a big ‘ole cycle of gross.
That's where I come in! I help you overflow with Self Love.
Is it true that you rode a hot air balloon over the hills of California?
Yes. 🎵 And the hills were alive with the sound of muuuuuusiiiiiic. 🎵
I can’t think of a single another dare-devil thing I’d rather do on my 40th birthday than be suspended in the air with my life in a stranger’s hands, floating over vast, sprawling grape fields. I’m not much of a risk-taker, and this was the scariest (but most gratifying) I've done to date.
Everyone has a running narrative about who they are, what they want from life, and what they feel. But there's more to your inner narrative than meets the eye. (Oh, the mystery!) My job is to help you dig deep, and unleash your Magic!
Why are you obsessed with Reality TV?
A better question might be, why would you not be?
Look, humans have the same basic needs regardless of culture, money, gender, race, ethnicity, or spiritual upbringing. No matter their current situation, every person strives to get their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs met. They may fail to meet those needs, but the need still exists.
Even though I get to peer into people’s lives every day, watching Reality TV is yet another way to get a glimpse of human behavior and interactions, and I love it.
Sometimes, I give my clients the homework assignment of going to their local coffee shop and observing others’ behavior. I want them to get curious, tune into other perspectives, and imagine what others are feeling. Then, while observing others, I ask that they tune in to themselves. Your feelings and “gut feel” are cues to understanding your best next steps. You can learn to recognize your own triggers and heightened emotions. Then, you can learn to tune into others. And that is the shiznit of connecting with your tribe.
I can’t turn away from reality television because I love observing human interaction. After years of learning about people, nothing surprises me about their behavior. (Andy Cohen may hire me as a Real Housewives on-set therapist if he reads this. #dreamjob)
What fun, rando facts would help me get to know you better?
I love being a Psychotherapist but hate the counseling and coaching industry. I think the whole field is excessive and confusing. Humans aren't that hard. There are endless theories and countless methods for changing and becoming their “best selves.” Frankly, I get grossed out by that language. We all want the same thing and are headed in the same direction. There are many ways to skin a cat, but there are more efficient ways to get the job done, IMO.
I used to speak in tongues. I'm not religious anymore, but when I went to church with my grandmother on Sundays, she danced in the aisles and spoke in tongues. She said it was because the holy ghost moved through her. Well, who doesn't want that?! So, I prayed real hard, then spoke some gibberish and pretended to speak in tongues.
I wrote a sex book that sold enough copies to put my twins through private school. And it was a reallllly bad book. Don’t buy it. But the point is, I did something courageous and out of my comfort zone, and hot dang, if people didn’t buy it!
My second dream job would be to own a winery in Napa Valley. If I suddenly stop this gig and drop off the face of the Earth, rest assured, that is what I’m up to.
Or, to be a Disney blogger.
Or, a reality television therapist.
Sky's the limit!
I was President of Future Homeworkers in High School and owned that. I would be a Home Economics (currently called "Life Sciences") teacher, but I changed my mind when choosing my Human Development and Family Studies courses. I always knew I wanted to work in a life-changing field. Unfortunately, Life Sciences isn't valued as much as it was back in my day, which is a shame. What other kid do you know these days that can cook, sew, and choose textiles like the bomb?
I’ve been to Disney World 17 18 times. (And still counting). The first time was before we even had kids. My husband and I took a 2-week road trip to Florida, where we visited the House of Mouse before visiting Miami and the Keys. Now that I have kids, we ramped up when my oldest kids were 6, and my youngest was 11 months (yep, I was diapering and feeding in the middle of an amusement park!), and we go at least once per year, but often two or three times. Fun fact: I was in graduate school when my husband and I took our first road trip. I did that right after I swore off graduate school forever. I had a moment of imposter syndrome, where I thought, "Who the heck do I think I am?! People coming to see me? This has to be the craziest, most narcissistic thing I've ever done in my whole entire life." Luckily, that time away to Florida gave me a change of heart, and 20 years later - it was a wise choice not to drop out and throw it all out the window!
I’m obsessed with my face regimen. Like, seriously. I’ve got a 123-step process I go through every single morning. If I skip a step, I feel a little mad at myself. I mean, there could be other things I’m obsessed with, so in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t bad at all.
How come you consider yourself a relationship expert?
Three things make me a relationship expert:
- I received my doctorate after enduring rigorous study of families and the systems in which they live. My doctoral studies involved several years of coursework, research, and dissertation writing, demonstrating a deep understanding of relationships and attachment. I never play small. I'm here to help you play big, too.
- I was gripped by depression and anxiety from a young age. I was a sad and lonely teen and young adult. I latched on to unhealthy people so I wouldn’t feel lonely in my 20s before finally figuring out the root of my anxious attachment in my 30s. That was the decade of change for me, all while I desperately tried to save my marriage.
- I’ve worked as a couple and relationship counselor for over 20 years.
My personal life taught me how to “do” relationships, and my degrees taught me the science behind the how. I gained competency with my Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies, became proficient with my Master’s degree in Education in Counseling, and became an expert when I obtained a Doctorate in Family Studies.
My entire adult life has prepared me for the work I do with clients, alongside the work I continue to do with myself. People aren’t complicated, I understand what makes them tick, and I believe knowledge is power. I love showing others how to boost their self-worth, feel happy in their soul, and connect with their spiritual selves. I believe love and belongingness are every human’s birthright.
I'm in. What should I do next?
I believe everyone deserves to have access to good mental health care. I created the "8 Key Components to Optimal Mental Health" download to give you a high-level view of the 8 Self Love Tools for Optimal Mental Health. Download that now.
Second, take The Happiness Assessment.
I have many online resources for you to choose from, but let's build our relationship first so I can better help guide you toward what you need. I send weekly emails, so you'll get to know me quickly. I'd love to hear from you, too!
Ready to make some bold moves and feel authentically happy in your life?
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The fine print...
- Ph.D. Family Studies, Texas Woman’s University
- M.Ed. Education in Counseling, University of North Texas
- B.S. Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University
- Mom of 3, all girls, including twins
- Wife of 1. He’s the hardest of all of them.
- Loving, trustworthy friend.
- Owner of I Choose Change PLLC Counseling Center.
- Psychotherapist for over 18 years.