Jill founded Free Spirit Counseling in 2019 with the hopes of bringing her varied experience to the Peninsula to help others have a more fulfilling life. She splits her clinical schedule between counseling and clinical supervision. Jill is a clinical supervisor of Residents in Counseling for the state of VA and Free Spirit is a site for Interns in Counseling students of Masters and Doctoral programs to gain on the job training experience working with clients. In 2019 she also partnered with Crystal Ferrara, LPC, the founder of Free Spirit Collaborative, to co-create the immersive world of Free Spirit Counseling & Collaborative at its headquarters in Yorktown, Virginia and its ever-expanding digital realm.
Before Free Spirit, Jill spent over seven years in private practice work in Virginia Beach and Norfolk with Eden Counseling Center. She also has prior counseling experience with students in a community college Women’s Center, residents of a local domestic violence shelter, outpatient substance dependence recovery, and pastoral care at her churches. Her previous careers included a business career in Human Resources Management and active-duty service in the U.S. Army.
Clinical Specialties and Approach
Jill works online and in-person with diverse populations, children, teens, individuals, couples, and families. She has specializations in Trauma and PTSD, Military and Military Families, Grief and loss, Christian Counseling, and Supervision of Residents in Counseling in Virginia. Additional areas include Relationship Issues, Marriage and Family, Women’s Issues, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Chronic Illness, Life Transitions, Spirituality, and Substance and Alcohol Abuse.
Building the counseling relationship is the first element that Jill uses with her client centered approach, as an ideal way to learn the best interventions to apply to the client’s situation. Some of these interventions include Narrative Therapy, Animal Assisted Therapy (with Therapy Dog Linus), various forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Family Systems and other forms of Family Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), elements of Feminist Theory in Therapy, and more.
Jill has been a member of the military community her entire life. She grew up as a Navy brat living as far west as Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and as far East as Bermuda in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She spent 6 years on active duty in the Army after graduating college, and then later married an Army soldier.
Jill participated in and led Family Readiness Groups (FRG) for the unit and Battalion while her husband was deployed twice to Iraq for a total of two years during the OIF and OEF timeframes. She also led a group at her church at that time for women with deployed husbands/boyfriends. Two of her sons are also in the military, one in the Air Force and the other a Marine Reservist. Additional elements of educational and professional experience with the military community are highlighted below.
Counseling is a great tool to work through issues that are hindering your life balance. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to be part of this growth process in one’s life. Everyone is an individual, so I don’t use a ‘cookie cutter’ approach with my clients. I learn who you are through building a relationship with you and then I determine the best approach to help you.” Jill regularly receives feedback from clients about their appreciation of how she listens and works through their challenges with them, and that they also tell their friends about her. “The best compliment I receive is getting their referrals.”
Jill believes quality clinical supervision is just as important as quality counseling and client care. She is passionate about building good professional relationships with her Residents and Interns in Counseling to help them to feel comfortable in the sharing and feedback process related to their professional growth and helping their clients. She supervises Residents in Counseling who come to work at Free Spirit, as well as some who work at other organizations. She accepts Interns in Counseling at Free Spirit to fulfill their education hours in their internship courses.
Professional Training and Public Speaking
Jill has a passion for learning and training others on topics in the counseling profession. She has professionally presented to a variety of audiences in local, regional, and national conferences in both the United States and Canada. As an expert in the field, she has presented to other professionals on topics involving the military and military families. She has also been an instructor of various courses in Counselor Education and Supervision Masters programs. Find out more about Jill and Professional Training and Public Speaking with Free Spirit.
Educational Background and Publication
After earning her M.A. in Counseling in 2010 from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Jill became a Certified Traumatologist after training with the Regent Trauma Team. She deployed with the team to Romania during that summer to work with traumatized populations. She received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Adams State University in Alamosa, CO in 2019. Her major work of research was: “Inspiring Military Cultural Competence in Counselor Education: A Narrative Inquiry of Nonmilitary- Connected Master’s Students.”
Along the way, Jill has written articles published in journals related to the mental health field. Based on her expertise with the military culture, she was hired by the Counselor Education and Supervision department of The College of William and Mary for nine months to create the first three courses for the new Military and Veterans Counseling concentration.
Organizational Membership and Leadership
Jill is an active member of numerous professional organizations in the counseling field. She is currently the Journal Editor of the Virginia Counselors Journal, published by the Virginia Counselors Association. She also serves as the Treasurer for the Peninsula Counselors Association. As the owner/founder of Free Spirit Counseling, Jill provides leadership and consultation to those who train and work at our center.
Fun Facts About Jill
- In her free time, Jill loves to play with her dog, read, do puzzles, cook and bake, listen to music, and visit with her kids and grandkids.
- She also loves to help Crystal complete complex design projects at Free Spirit and has installed all 9 of the giant wall murals at the Yorktown headquarters!
- Her favorite color is deep blue.
- Her favorite bands are Chicago, and The Eagles, plus she really likes jazz.