Located in Ithaca
Debra has nearly three decades of experience working with teens and young adults and, collaterally, with their parents/guardians.
Debra has been licensed as a social worker in New York State since 1993 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her practice. She earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology from Houghton College before completing her Master of Social Work degree from Marywood College in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Debra recently retired after 26 years at Greater Southern Tier BOCES, with 23 of those years working in Special Education with children and teens with significant emotional and behavioral issues that limited their ability to be placed in full-time regular education programming. For students, Deb provided individual, group, and crisis therapy. She also provided parents with case management, connecting them with additional counseling, practical support, and other referrals to community providers.
Debra diagnoses and treats adolescents and adults with signs and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar, and behavior disorders such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. She also works with people who identify as Autistic, including those with intellectual disabilities.
In her helping role, Debra prioritizes developing a trusting relationship. Trust takes time for many people seeking counseling: Debra takes as long as is necessary to honor the process of building a relationship in her practice. She demonstrates respect and dignity by trying to understand how each person perceives their needs. Next, she helps people identify specific therapy goals and suggests steps to reach those goals, referencing the professional experiences, skills, and clinical knowledge developed over her career. She is eclectic in her clinical approach. Her theories and interventions are client-centered, rational-emotive, strength-based, and based on cognitive behavioral therapy.
Debra and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren spread along the East Coast. They enjoy playing tennis and pickleball, cards, and visiting natural and cultural sites in the beautiful Finger Lakes region. When not working, Deb enjoys reading and playing the piano.
Debra lives out her faith daily in her relationships by showing nonjudgmental compassion to all. Upon request, Debra will provide Christian-oriented counsel and prayer.