“I believe that everyone can use a little help dealing with the chaotic moments in life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
From a young age, I was always fascinated by the stories of others. When I was a kid, my parents used to host parties and by the end, I knew more about their friends than they did. I grew up in a family of doctors, so I always considered going into medicine. However, as I experienced my own medical issues, I realized how scary and demoralizing the experience of being sick can be. I was offered consults with every medical specialist under the sun, but what I rarely got from my providers was an understanding of how my medical problems might impact my quality of life. I wanted to provide that support to other people, so I decided to pursue a doctorate in psychology with a focus on health psychology.
What should someone know about working with you?
I don’t underestimate how difficult it can be for patients to attend their first appointment with a therapist. My focus during the intake is to help patients understand they are in a safe and nonjudgmental setting. I believe the therapeutic relationship is the key to success in treatment and patients are entitled to work with a therapist who is a good fit with their personality and problem. In my intake sessions, I’ll focus on getting to know the patient and determining if we are a good therapeutic match. I don’t believe that everyone needs to stay in therapy for years and years. Sometimes a few sessions with a professional is enough.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I believe in a holistic approach to wellness and acknowledge that psychotherapy alone cannot always fix everything. I engage in a comprehensive assessment to determine if the patient would benefit from a referral to other professionals. I have experience working on interdisciplinary teams with psychiatrists, medical providers, nutritionists, physical therapists, nurses, and chaplains. I’ve worked with those in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private practices. One of the primary reasons I was drawn to Alma is the access to a network of professionals from a wide range of disciplines.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I have always been interested in telemental health and the Covid-19 pandemic has forced the mental health field to embrace remote therapy. As someone who is passionate about health psychology, I find that requiring patients to attend all appointments in person is a major barrier to treatment. I think that the option to provide psychotherapy in a hybrid or fully remote model will tremendously increase access to care for those who have difficult work schedules, childcare needs, medical illnesses, and many other presenting problems. We are living during a time in which access to mental health care is more important than ever and I am excited to be on the forefront of this major change in the field.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
During my first year of graduate school, I worked at a cancer center and I was surprised by how many patients changed their lives for the better as a result of their diagnosis. To understand this phenomenon better, I conducted a study on post-traumatic growth in testicular cancer patients. Tedeschi and Calhoun (1996) found that, after a trauma, approximately 75% of people experience post-traumatic growth, defined as positive change as a result of experiencing adversity. Conventionally, therapy focuses on trying to restore patients to their level of functioning before a negative event. My research provides me with hope that therapy can help patients function at higher levels and live more meaningful lives regardless of their history. In my work, I am always looking to cultivate growth by capitalizing on my patient’s strengths.
“I don’t believe that everyone needs to stay in therapy for years and years. Sometimes a few sessions with a professional is enough.”