“People tend to experience me as nurturing and down-to-earth in my therapeutic approach.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
A few different threads came together on my path. I have always been introspective and observant of others, always deeply curious about human emotions and behavior. But my brief career teaching basic writing skills at community college did not sufficiently engage this part of me. I was tasked with teaching grammar skills but felt more compelled by the ways emotional difficulties and life circumstances (including the strong influence of oppressive systems) made it nearly impossible for many of my students to be present enough to learn. Meanwhile, my own experience in therapy helped me gain a healthier sense of self and confidence in my capacity to move through painful experiences and emotions rather than feeling paralyzed by them. I wanted to provide that kind of healing experience to others and went to social work school. This turned out to be the right path!
What should someone know about working with you?
People tend to experience me as nurturing and down-to-earth in my therapeutic approach. I think of the client as the true expert on their experience and add to this my observations and reflections as well as questions designed to clarify and provoke insight into thoughts, feelings, identities, patterns of behavior, and relationships with others. I frequently seek to contextualize my clients’ experiences in the larger world around us. For many, it can be important to identify and work on rewriting the stories we tell ourselves or that we have been told about ourselves that can keep us stuck. I also often draw my clients’ attention to the physical sensations that are present alongside their emotions and explore methods of mindfulness and grounding that can reconnect us to our innate healing capacity.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Through reading, reflecting, and attending training and conferences, I am continuously deepening my understanding of the impact of trauma on the mind, body, and spirit, not only the impact of single major traumatic events but also the subtler day-to-day traumas of discrimination and systemic oppression. I also continuously work at enhancing my cultural competency and cultural humility through study as well as by identifying gaps in my knowledge or understanding and tending to blindspots as they start to come into view. I see self-reflection as an essential part of my responsibility as a therapist (and person) and utilize a daily meditation and mindfulness practice to deepen my self-awareness and ability to be truly present with others.
“I also often draw my clients’ attention to the physical sensations that are present alongside their emotions and explore methods of mindfulness and grounding that can reconnect us to our innate healing capacity.”