“The first thing clients should know about me is that I am laid-back, informal, and nonjudgmental; I just refuse to be the cold, clinical therapist-type.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a therapist has been somewhat unique. I have always wanted to be in a helping/medical career and found psychology fascinating. After undergrad, I went directly to medical school with the hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. I quickly realized that I was more interested in psychology than physiology. Additionally, I could no longer deny my other passion: Performing. I made the difficult decision to leave medical school. Instead, I began a career as a professional actor in the Twin Cities and started graduate school in counseling psychology. Today, I am primarily a therapist, but I split time between acting and counseling. I love them both.
What should someone know about working with you?
The first thing clients should know about me is that I am laid-back, informal, and nonjudgmental; I just refuse to be the cold, clinical therapist-type. While compassionate and calm, I can also be energetic and fun during sessions. I believe the most important part of therapy is the alliance between therapist and client; if we don’t have a strong connection, sessions aren’t as effective. Clients often share some of their most closely guarded thoughts and feelings. I will not be the kind of therapist who is unwilling to share thoughts and feelings along with the client. It’s only fair!
I also work as a professional actor and this informs my counseling work. I think it makes me a good listener and a clear communicator. My acting work also helps me better connect with a wide variety of people, and it makes me more creative in my strategies in session. Finally, I really enjoy being a therapist and I genuinely like and enjoy my clients. I look forward to meeting you!
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I use a variety of methods to continue to broaden my therapeutic horizons. I have continued to take graduate-level courses since completing my master’s degree. I have taken advanced courses in human sexuality, adolescent counseling, and couples counseling, to name a few. I intend to go back to graduate school eventually for my PhD to start teaching/training new therapists. I also try to read as much as I can, particularly research studies that highlight evidence-based interventions for counseling sessions and their effectiveness. I occasionally attend conferences, lectures, and continuing education classes (examples include motivational interviewing and Intro to Drama Therapy). Like any good therapist, I try to consult with other therapists when I can as well. Finally, I enjoy a good, evidence-based podcast! My favorite is NPR’s Hidden Brain. Check it out!
How do your own core values shape your approach to care?
I really value being open-minded and trying to be aware of my limits, biases, and shortcomings. Additionally, it is important to me to be an honest, ethical, empathetic, and compassionate person, even outside of being a therapist. On a personal level, I really try to incorporate these values into my behavior in sessions. I also work to help my clients build these skills and qualities as well. I believe tolerance for uncertainty, open-mindedness, awareness of bias, compassion, and empathy are characteristics of well-adjusted adults. Many mental health challenges are rooted in difficulties around these issues.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I’m very excited to witness the expansion of mental health access as well as the increased variety of formats for mental health treatment. I believe that the mental health stigma has started to wane a bit. At the very least, more and more people are starting to accept and appreciate the need for mental health services. Moreover, while there is still a huge deficit, there are more services available than ever. There are also more types of treatment available, from telehealth to adventure-based counseling! I have really enjoyed starting to go for walks outdoors with my clients. For some, the movement leads to even greater emotional expression and even more insight.
“While compassionate and calm, I can also be energetic and fun during sessions.”