“I love this work and I strongly believe that it is a privilege to share in people’s progress and pain, growth and loss, resilience and trauma.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I love this work and I strongly believe that it is a privilege to share in people’s progress and pain, growth and loss, resilience and trauma. Much of my early career was in the New York City child welfare system. I witnessed firsthand the intersection of poverty, mental health, politics, systemic racism, a broken juvenile justice system, and profound trauma. These experiences continue to greatly inform both my clinical work and personal life and are deeply connected to my background in trauma and loss. My training and experience with children has bolstered my ability to successfully treat adults, as I strongly believe we carry early experiences with us into adulthood. My adaptive nature and diverse training helps me to meet the client wherever they are. Specific therapies I offer include cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior-informed therapy, exposure and response prevention, and supportive parenting for anxious childhood emotions. These specific treatments have bolstered my ability to better support clients, offering tangible tools, skills, and strategies to improve their functioning and their lives.
What should someone know about working with you?
The right “fit” between a therapist and client is critical for both parties, and it can make or break the treatment process. I know that the client needs to feel comfortable, heard, understood, respected and valued; these act as the cornerstone of trust in therapy. My process begins by covering background and history and can take more than one session to cover all the relevant topics and gather sufficient information. At the outset of treatment, I collaborate with the client to identify therapy goals. These will continuously be evaluated, assessed, and adjusted as needed. Based on the client’s needs and my assessment, we will explore what type of treatment works best. Sometimes, I like to assign tasks to be completed between sessions. I use this tool because each therapy session is but a small part of your time and “the work” must go beyond sessions to help improve life functioning. If change is to be accomplished, it must be practiced and generalized.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I am committed to a lifelong process of learning, experiencing joy, fostering interpersonal connections, and growth in both my personal and professional life. These values have helped augment and deepen my sense of empathy. I’ve also taken time to increase my professional skills and knowledge by learning new treatment modalities. I try to incorporate joy into my life as much as possible. I believe that laughing is good for the soul and has a place in the therapy process. Therapy is a direct pipeline to the act of connecting. I strongly believe that a fundamental and essential purpose is to connect with others and ourselves. Some of my most meaningful and profound life experiences have been shaped by failure and loss. I see these moments as a powerful and built-in opportunity for personal reflection, action/change, and self-compassion. I see my role as incorporating these skills, tools and perspectives into treatment. There is growth potential in everything we do and therapy can be a tool to help actualize it.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I’ve come to view the COVID pandemic as incredibly traumatic and troubling but also as an opportunity for possibility and hope. The experience serves as a silver lining of sorts to expand mental health treatment to all. The stigma of mental health has often deterred people from seeking help or even realizing they might need it! It’s often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt, pain, and confusion. My hope is that our collective trauma can lead to the growing realization that seeking help is not a bad thing. In fact, knowing our areas of weakness is a strength! Hopefully, we can all embrace the ways in which mental health treatment makes us more resilient, capable, stronger, kinder, and wiser individuals.
“I know that the client needs to feel comfortable, heard, understood, respected and valued; these act as the cornerstone of trust in therapy.”