“I strongly believe that my varied experience helps me understand my clients on a deeper level and my curiosity helps me in working with my clients; often, they have similar curiosities about themselves.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
In high school, I first got the idea of going into psychology as, throughout my adolescence and emerging adulthood, I experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma. I went through my own therapeutic journey and learned to cope with these challenges. I worked in sales, as a teacher’s assistant, with autistic children, and as a care coordinator, interacting with different types of people. As a result, I became more and more curious about what makes people behave the way they do and that curiosity led me to study forensic mental health counseling. I strongly believe that my varied experience helps me understand my clients on a deeper level and my curiosity helps me in working with my clients; often, they have similar curiosities about themselves.
What should someone know about working with you?
My intake process is pretty in-depth and takes two one-hour sessions. Every client is screened for personality disorders, even if they aren't coming in for this reason, because this assessment helps me get to know each client’s personality better. My clients tend to be motivated for change or become motivated throughout the process and this is very important as there is weekly therapeutic homework. If a client is not motivated, it’s obvious and progress is much slower. At the start of each session, I review my client’s symptoms in order to track progress as well as gain insight into any patterns.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
In order to be a good therapist, I believe that continuing education is of the greatest importance as this is still a young field of science. In order to meet my own requirements, I try to attend certification training, whether in-person or online, 2–4 times a year, and I continually read clinical literature to keep up with new research and intervention approaches. Additionally, I run a peer supervision group to enhance my own self-care and learn from my peers.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My core values surround the idea of acceptance in all-encompassing ways, including sexuality, gender identity, culture, race, justice, family, and self. This is very easy to see in my therapeutic approach as I bring a non-judgmental stance to every client that comes into my office regardless of their identity, the color of their skin, or their life experience. I will treat you the same whether you have a criminal history, were abused in some way, or just need to address your symptoms. This is because your reasons for coming to therapy are always the same: To seek help and create a positive change in your life. That is what I'm here for; I’m not here to judge you, your behaviors, or your past.
What does your counseling with couples look like?
Many people come for couples counseling wanting me to “fix” their problems and not realizing how much work goes into it on their part. I help couples find better ways to communicate and express themselves, teach them to better listen to one another, and encourage them to forgive past transgressions. It always feels amazing to see the changes in their lives and the lives of their children. Other times, my help leads them to recognize that they don't want to do the necessary work, allowing them to come to terms with the end of their relationship together. Despite how sad this sounds, it is a necessary process for some couples and feels rewarding in a different way.
“My core values surround the idea of acceptance in all-encompassing ways, including sexuality, gender identity, culture, race, justice, family, and self.”