MSW, LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Mary studied social work and psychology while earning her Bachelor of Arts degree at Anderson University, in Anderson, Indiana. She earned her Masters of Social Work degree, with a focus on individual and family therapy, through advanced placement at Indiana University in Indianapolis.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mary has been working with individuals and families for over 20 years. In her earlier years she worked at Lutheran Hospital of Indiana, helping people deal with difficult medical issues. In recent years, Mary has been providing counseling to children, adolescents, and their families, as well as couples and adults of all ages.
Mary has a passion for creating a safe place for others to sort through life’s many challenges, such as anxiety, depression, grief, relationship matters and behavior concerns. She believes in getting to know another person well enough to help bring resolution of past hurts while focusing on present concerns. Ultimately, Mary wants to help others recognize and apply strength and hope to their current situation, and to build a repertoire of tools for use now and in the years to come. Mary recognizes that we are all complex individuals, with emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual aspects which combine to make us who we are. Based on the client’s preference, she is also open to incorporating each person’s spiritual values as a part of the therapeutic process.
Mary grew up in a small town in central Indiana, and came to Fort Wayne in 1982. Mary and her husband met while volunteering with Youth for Christ’s Campus Life program at a local high school, and they now have two teenage sons. Marriage and the parenting process have been the source of countless life lessons for Mary. Mary also enjoys reading, music, gardening, walking, riding bikes, and refinishing furniture, and is also involved in leadership of a discipleship ministry at her church.
During her years at Lutheran Hospital, Mary helped people to deal with the complex emotional and practical changes brought about by such medical issues that can change a life forever. She assisted with such challenges as cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, aftermath of a spinal cord injury or the birth of a child experiencing a critical illness.
Mary especially enjoys the teaching aspects of counseling and is interested in the stories of a person’s life. Her desire is help others discover that it is safe to share concerns, to accept self, and to consider options for change and growth. There are a few special picture books and narratives from classic books that she has found to be helpful in the therapeutic process with clients of all ages. Mary has found that stories can open the way into sharing and exploring situations and options for change. Creating visual analogies can provide structure for a person to apply strength to the current struggle, and can bring new narratives into a person’s life which can be used to build upon in the future. She is excited when she sees clients gain insight and begin to use tools that will help down the road, long after counseling is concluded.
In her work with children, Mary sees Play Therapy as a path for each child to express himself and to process life challenges. Play therapy can involve the use of books, drawings, games, and manipulation of figures in sand tray, doll house, or other setting. Children do not have words to describe their questions or their pain; play therapy helps a child give voice to his thoughts and feelings, perhaps in the way that keeping a diary or journaling helps an adult to sort through their own issues.
Faith in Christ is central to who Mary is and how she lives her life at home and in her work as a counselor. For Mary, God is the unchanging source of love and joy, strength and hope. It is her prayer that others will know God as their true source of hope and strength. Her passion for helping people resolve conflicts and restore relationships continues to be renewed as she works with so many amazing and complex people. Life happens in an imperfect world, and it is a good thing for people – parents, spouses, families, to seek help.