Tell me a little bit about yourself:
I am a native of Memphis, TN, and I love art, music, different cultures, movies, and books. I studied Fine Arts in undergrad where I concentrated in ceramics and sculpture. I taught high school art while I was applying for a visa to live in China to teach English. I lived and taught in Dalian, China, for two years and made some incredible friends there. As people opened up to me over the years about their pain, I began to feel a growing urgency to get trained in mental health counseling so that I can be an effective guide in helping people heal.
How long have you lived in Colorado?
I moved to Denver to start the clinical mental health training program at Denver Seminary in 2017. Wow, I can’t believe it has been two years already. Time flies when you’re having fun!
What are your favorite activities to do during your spare time?
The training program and working in a clinic can be pretty demanding. I like to recharge by hiking, spending time outside, getting coffee with a friend, or watching a good movie in my spare time. I do not want to do anything too draining so that I can be recharged when I go back into the clinic and be fully attentive to the people I sit with.
What drove you to pursue counseling?
It was actually similar to the reason I love art. I think it is beautiful to hear an artist’s story of inspiration and process for a particular piece of art. Every aspect of a work of art is purposeful: the medium, dimensions, process, context, all of that creates the meaning of the work. It is similar to people. Everyone has unique experiences, contexts, perspectives, and gifts that come together to create their identity and meaning in life. Just as I appreciate an artist talking about their work, I also appreciate it when people share their story and make sense of their experiences. The first time I see a painting or sculpture cannot compare to how I experience it differently after the artist has talked about it. When I am working with people, I experience something similar. My understanding of people deepens as they share their story with me, and I am inspired by their resiliency, wisdom, and growing hope for the future.
What type of clients are you able to have sessions with?
I work with children, adolescents, and adults in individual, couples, and family counseling. I especially want to work with those who are wrestling through aspects of their identity, faith, or sexuality.
Will you be offering any type of group counseling during your internship?
Yes, I will be facilitating a social skills group and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) group. I hope to start more groups as I progress through my internship as well.
What can someone expect in their first session with you?
People can expect that the first session will be devoted to getting on the same page with each other. I will work hard to understand the goals of what someone will want to process, and people can expect me to do all I can to help them feel heard, understood, and hopeful for change.
How do you use your faith to guide your patients?
It is hard for me not to search for the work of God’s hand in people’s lives. Even if we do not explicitly talk about it, I assume that God has a plan and a purpose for each person. For those who have experienced events too terrible to talk about and it seemed like God was absent, I will not try to explain how God meant for this terrible thing to happen. We will mourn this kind of experience because it should not have happened, and there are no good explanations for what some people have experienced. My faith helps me to hope for the people that I work with and gets me excited to see their journey unfold.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Gabriel, or would like more information on Grace Counseling’s Reduced Fee Services, please request an appointment or call (720) 489-8555 and we will help you.