I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I earned an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (May 2014) and a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Women’s University (May 2011). I did my master’s thesis on “Culture, Biological Sex, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury” (Berger, 2014). I am specifically interested in Self-Injury, Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (e.g., hair pulling, skin picking, and nail-biting), gender identity, LGBTQ issues, and disabilities (e.g., physical, developmental, learning, and intellectual).
I started to learn about disabilities when I was 8 years old, and I was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma brain tumor on my left side. Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor (a mass of non-cancerous cells) on the acoustic/hearing nerve. The outcome of my surgery is complete hearing loss on my left side. The sudden hearing loss changed my life in many ways. Coping with my hearing loss has helped me with the challenges individuals with disabilities face daily.
After I completed my master’s thesis on “Culture, Biological Sex, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury” (NSSI; Berger, 2014), I learned about Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). I was surprised that BFRBs existed and were different from NSSI. I learned more about BFRBs and visited the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors website (www.bfrb.org). I also contacted therapists and support group leaders in North Texas who work with individuals who have BFRBs. As I learned more, I realized that individuals with BFRBs are usually misunderstood and perceived by others to be seeking attention or using BFRBs as manipulation or for self-injury; this perception is very wrong because there are many aspects of these individuals’ lives.