I am a person first and a therapist second...
First and foremost, I relate and connect to you as another human being on my own journey. I've always loved listening to others' stories, and from an early age, I was the friend who others came to with their problems. My interest in "formal" psychology began in my high school psych class; I was fascinated with the idea that the mind was so powerful and that proven, evidence-based principles guided behavior. My interest in health psychology bloomed when my dad was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis while I was in college. I saw first-hand the effect that his pain had on his mood, relationships, and outlook on life. During my grad school training, internship, and post-doc training, I worked with clients with a variety of illnesses. I wanted to serve a broader audience, so I took a job in public health. I learned so much about assessing populations and disseminating information, but I really missed working with individuals and small groups.
Seeing clients, leading small groups, and teaching in the community gives me energy and purpose. As I dove back into those pursuits while maintaining a full-time job, my health declined, and I developed nearly-debilitating back pain. I had all of the excuses why I didn't have time for my own self-care: I'm too busy; I have family responsibilities; I have work responsibilities; I don't have the money to spend on self-care, etc., etc., etc. I finally became my own client and used the self-care strategies that I teach to heal my body, and I'm on the road to becoming even healthier than I was before. I am a lifelong student learning every day. From my own experience and training, I know the value in being heard and having someone really listen and understand you. I've struggled with pain, stress, behavior change, "stuckness," and loss and have learned strategies and mind-set shifts to move through those issues.
As a self-proclaimed "health nut" with a love for travel, healthy food, chocolate, and nature, I connect the mind, body, and spirit to my life and my psychology practice. I am also a wife and a mom, and I love spending time with my family.
Selected Education, Experience, and Training
Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC) with the Nutritional Therapy Association
Licensed psychologist in Maryland (License No. 04289)
Postdoctoral training in health psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD
APA-certified clinical internship in behavioral medicine at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA
M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Medicine from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Clinical Health Psychologist in Private Practice for 10 years
Sample of Clinical Experience
Clinical Psychologist and Provider Psychologist
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Weigh to Stay Counselor
U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion & Preventive Medicine Aberdeen, MD
Leading interactive health behavior change courses for weight management
Stanford Healthy Lifestyles Certified Counselor
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Leading small groups for weight loss and maintenance
Clinical Psychology/Behavioral Medicine Intern
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Internship rotations: Behavioral Medicine Service-Providing individual and group therapy for patients with medical issues; motivational interviewing for weight loss
Psychology Service Extern
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baltimore, MD
Providing individual therapy and neuropsychological testing to patients with chronic illness
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (Basic and Advanced Courses), Fort Hood, TX (2016)
Complementary and Integrative Approaches for Mental Health (2014)
U.S. Army Provider Resiliency Certified Facilitator for the Provider, Resiliency Training Program, San Antonio, TX (2010)
Franklin Covey POWER Resiliency Program Facilitator Training, Landstuhl, Germany (2010)
Benson Henry Institute and the Harvard Medical School Clinical Training in Mind Body Medicine, Boston, MA (2008)
Center for Mind Body Medicine, Food As Medicine Clinical Training, Baltimore, MD (2008)
Integrative Restoration, Level I (2008) Center for Mind Body Medicine, Mind Body Skills Instruction Level 1, Minneapolis, MN (2007)Duke University's Center for Spirituality Summer Workshop (2006)
Forys-Donahue, K. & Brannen, S.B. (Feb 2012). Literature Review of Mind-Body Techniques Used in the Military Population. White Paper
Riordan-Lagana, C., Brannen, S., Forys, K., Gallaway, M.S., & Millikan, A.M. (Jan 2012). Combating Behavioral Health Stigma among Military Service Members and Families. White Paper.
Astin, J.A., Sierpina, V., Forys, K., Clarridge, B. (2008). Integration of the Biopsychosocial Model: Perspectives of Medical Students and Residents. Academic Medicine, 83, 20-27.