About Justin

Born and raised in Nebraska, I developed a capacity to appreciate the long-view through a mix of the natural beauty around us, the patience required to travel anywhere, and the stark poverty in which we lived. Combined, these experiences facilitated an early understanding of “diversity.” Now, I’m married with two children - one a young adult, and one an adolescent. Our lives are enriched by the presence of my wife’s mother, as well. We all live with three dogs, two cats, and a fish. Preferred activities outside of work that nourish me include hiking, reading, doing yoga, and striving to cultivate social and racial justice.

Specialties:

Since my father was in the military, and I did well in high school, I had many paths open to me for beyond those years. I was stubbornly focused, though, on getting a liberal arts degree from a small college. Life took me to Grinnell College in Iowa. During those years, I was more focused on “helping” others than studying, and I graduated with a pretty terrible GPA. As a result, I took some time off to work in various mental health capacities. After several years of amazing clinical experiences, I decided to enroll in the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where I obtained an M.A. and eventually a PsyD in Clinical Psychology. In retrospect, taking time away from academics between degrees was a fantastic decision, as graduate studies made much more sense after connecting with people.

Following graduate school, I went on to work in numerous settings, including community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, residential substance abuse recovery, private practice, college and graduate program education, outpatient clinics, supervision, and forensic programs. Fascinating – and often difficult – experiences across the board, but not always pleasant. For example, on the night I was supposed to be graduating with my doctorate, I found myself washing dishes in a sushi bar.

Why work with Justin?

Stemming from early personal experiences, academic work, and clinical interactions, I’ve come to recognize the profoundly negative impact that experiences of oppression can have on mental health, especially if those experiences are persistent and pervasive. I’m committed to helping people understand, unravel, and work on shifting the effects of those influences. I’m dedicated to striving for diversity, equity, and inclusion, on multiple levels.

In general, I work from a Constructivist perspective, believing that we all seek to create meaning from our experiences. Sources of such meaning can be individual, familial, or cultural in nature, and shape our understandings of the world in physical, emotional, interpersonal, collective, and spiritual ways. The change process, then, involves looking at how these meanings have been put together in ways that are harmful, re-arranging or re-interpreting them. It’s often uncomfortable, but the results can be so liberating!