“After undergoing personal psychotherapy myself, I began to not only recognize the power of healing through authentic connection and conversation but I also began to actually believe in the possibility of a better life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I was drawn to the helping profession at an early age due to my own experiences of emotional pain and suffering. After undergoing personal psychotherapy myself, I began to not only recognize the power of healing through authentic connection and conversation but I also began to actually believe in the possibility of a better life. After examining my own experience of human hardship and resiliency, I decided to become a therapist to provide others with the liberating experience of healing that I have received. I have years of experience providing therapy in various community-based settings, including high schools, residential treatment programs, and hospitals. Throughout my professional career, I have aimed to address injustice among vulnerable and marginalized client populations and foster curiosity about the role that early attachment, childhood experience, and socioeconomic factors have on identity formation, sense of self, and life trajectory. These experiences culminated with the training I received from the Girls Empowerment & Mentoring Services, which strives to empower youth who have been commercially and sexually exploited. It reinforced my dedication to promote healing through a collaborative therapeutic process.
What should someone know about working with you?
Searching for the right therapist is sort of like dating. In order to find the right fit, you may need to search around and get a feel for who is out there. My clinical style has been described as warm, humorous, and challenging; I believe the power of therapy evolves from establishing a safe space where client and clinician can form a sincere and genuine connection as a means to begin self-exploration. I also believe that, growing up in today’s society, it is difficult for people to develop a healthy level of self-esteem and self-worth due to various factors that impact the way people experience the world. Every client presents with unique life circumstances, experiences, and personalities, and I focus on tailoring my approach to their individual needs. My therapeutic approach reflects the importance of establishing a nonjudgmental space where authentic collaboration between client and therapist occurs; this promotes exploration of who each client is at their core without judgement or shame.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
As a provider, I believe that competency derives from education, which comes in many shapes and forms. Some of the most important forums of education are interaction, communication, and collaboration. With that being said, I believe in the importance of establishing a safe and nonjudgmental space where clients can speak about life hardships and obstacles. I believe that the client is the expert on their own life and it's my job to learn from them in order to tailor a unique approach that reflects their innate strengths while addressing their distinctive needs. I encourage my clients to take a direct approach during our time together, whether that involves providing feedback as to what is/isn’t working and/or asking questions about specific modalities or resources that they may be interested in. Mental health is dynamic and new research continues to produce enhanced insight into how the mind works. As a therapist, it is my job to explore and research new techniques that best suit each client and have the potential to help them live a life worth living.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I believe that behavior is learned and is often a function of survival. Through this assumption, people can connect with their innate resiliency and explore their most authentic form of self as a means to discover what they are seeking from therapy. I believe in existing in the "here and now" and research has shown that "trauma is stored in our body and emotions are the vehicles the body relies on to find balance after a trauma.” It is my job as a therapist to establish a positive therapeutic environment marked by a safe and nonjudgmental space where we can begin to explore internalized emotional and relational experiences that have caused ongoing pain and suffering. This in-depth processing provides insight into internalized messages and experiences impacting the client's narrative of the world, while also demonstrating a healing relational experience for each client to internalize.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
As a trauma therapist, I am mostly fascinated by the research on the mind, which has begun to normalize the need for psychotherapy and explain the role early trauma and attachment have on the body, the mind, and human behavior. Recent research reflects the brain's tendency to become "hard-wired" and react to automatic survival drives rather than conscious decision-making. With this understanding, many techniques have been developed to help facilitate resolution of the internalized painful memories that tend to compromise the nervous system, ultimately impacting the capacity to tolerate everyday life and stress. Research has shown that, through psychotherapy, we can work to explore these underlying issues in a safe and structured way in an attempt to externalize, contain, make meaning of, and integrate past experiences. In addition, this research is essential to creating a paradigm shift that explains human behavior as the result of physiological responses; we can now understand our behavior not as the result of "not doing" but rather the result of being "unable". Life is hard enough and we all deserve to receive and access the support necessary to live our best lives without dealing with the judgments of others!
“My clinical style has been described as warm, humorous, and challenging; I believe the power of therapy evolves from establishing a safe space where client and clinician can form a sincere and genuine connection as a means to begin self-exploration.”