“I prioritize building, addressing, exploring, and ultimately learning and growing from the therapeutic relationship above all else.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always been fascinated by the healing potential of therapy. I saw my mother get help from it as a child, then I had my own extensive psychoanalysis that greatly helped me. My intimate work with my first therapist allowed me to better connect with my true self as a young adult and to nurture this healthy sense of self as I navigated life. I first worked in education, where I found myself drawn to emotional issues affecting students’ learning or behavioral struggles and successes. This led me to work in special education, and then eventually to go back to school and become a therapist. Now, I feel like I am truly aligned with my own personal calling—and this feeling only continues to grow.
What should someone know about working with you?
I value the power (and challenges!) of human relationships and see real healing as a truly relational phenomenon. Because of this, I prioritize building, addressing, exploring, and ultimately learning and growing from the therapeutic relationship above all else. I ask my clients to share whatever comes up for them while in session with me, and we work to deal with it together. In doing this, clients begin to explore new, healthy ways of being their true selves in the context of a healthy (i.e., not too directive, not too detached) healing relationship. I am careful not to let rote structures limit either the “aliveness” of the present moment or the (sometimes hidden) complexities of each individual.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I would tell them to honor both their hesitation as well as their interest. Our hesitation often comes from past experiences and relates to our attempts to feel safe amidst potential danger. A good therapist knows this and can help you appreciate and learn from this as you begin to explore your own patterns of past relational wounds and painful efforts. Just as knee pain is a good focus for (and reason to see!) a leg doctor, interpersonal hesitation can be a great topic to explore with a sensitive and compassionate therapist. It does sometimes require courage, but you don’t have to do it alone.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I continue to be heartened by the ongoing research and understanding around human trauma and how this can inform overall society as much as individual recovery. The developments in neuroscience that have refined our basic understanding of how human brains function in the face of legitimately perceived danger helps to reframe not only our approaches in psychotherapy and recovery work, but also how society itself understands, frames, and addresses this important and all too pervasive issue. I am hopeful that our criminal justice system will begin to better understand why victims can’t always tell calm, cohesive narratives, and our human tendency toward self-blame when legitimately wronged by trusted others.
What types of clients do you work best with or feel you are a good fit for?
I work particularly well when helping clients who have a genuine willingness to lean into their pain and face the areas in which they experience difficulty, rather than those only seeking to avoid it. My most sacred (and yes, challenging) job as a therapist is to be a companion in working through pain—often in precisely the ways that can feel off limits. This is, in my view, the real work of psychotherapy—for both client and therapist. What feels bad or dangerous must be confronted in order to see real change. The key to this work is that we can safely do it together.
“My most sacred (and yes, challenging) job as a therapist is to be a companion in working through pain—often in precisely the ways that can feel off limits.”