“Through this work, I’ve come to believe that therapy is a vital part of how we process being human, helping us with everything from fear to wonder, happiness to grief, victory to struggle.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Like many people, my career looks different than I thought it would. Originally, I intended to enter academia, study, and teach religion. Maybe, along the way, I’d retreat to a cabin in the woods and pen the next great American novel. Maybe Oprah would even put it in her book club. That all changed when I finished my masters in divinity and spent a year working as a hospital chaplain in Brooklyn. I was privileged to share intimate moments and liminal spaces during my brief visits with patients. It was an experience that moved me and altered my chosen career; becoming a clinician, once just an idea, turned into reality. Academia felt distant while clinical work felt alive and important; it felt as though it held the key to making a real difference. Through this work, I’ve come to believe that therapy is a vital part of how we process being human, helping us with everything from fear to wonder, happiness to grief, victory to struggle. It gives us a way to draw consistent meaning outside of religious practice or tradition.
What should someone know about working with you?
As a client-centric therapist, I adapt to the needs and desires of the individual. I encourage the client to direct the work, whether that’s choosing the modality or asking me to be a more active or passive participant. When appropriate, I involve creative expression as part of our sessions in order to connect to unconscious desires and motives. I merge time-tested psychodynamic methods with mindfulness and spiritual inquiry to build a sense of control and purpose around one’s life. As a cancer survivor, I know the power of the mind-body connection; I’ve had to learn to readjust my relationship with my own body and mind.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Do your research so you find the best fit! Read about modalities and ask therapists about their process and goals (therapists aren’t the only ones who get to ask questions!). You want to discover and uncover what therapy looks like for them so you’ll know if it can be effective for you. Therapy and therapeutic approaches are not one-size-fits-all; they can be tailored to the individual as part of the holistic process of developing a deeper practice of introspection. Therapy doesn't need to be thought of as a problem seeking a solution; going to a therapist isn’t about going to an expert to fix something that’s wrong. Rather, it’s an opportunity to find our best selves. It’s the chance to intersect past trauma with present experiences, ultimately improving one’s quality of life, making better informed decisions, and living intentionally.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
As a clinical social worker, I’m excited about the increasing focus on social justice and the realization that an anti-oppressive lens can empower our practice. While therapy has historically focused on the role of the family, it’s now broadening its horizons and attuning to the social and cultural role of trauma and inherited trauma. Rather than pathologizing individuals and expecting them to shoulder the burden of believing there’s something wrong with who they are, mental health professionals have increasingly begun to recognize the role of systemic factors. Economic inequality, racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia all impact a person’s resilience.
What makes your approach unique?
My approach is driven by my values and unique life experiences. I’ve walked solo across Spain along the Camino de Santiago, I’ve traveled from the source to the mouth of the Ganges high in the Himalayas, and I’ve studied social work in Israel. I maintain an approach that incorporates Greek thought, continental philosophy, Eastern traditions, Christianity, and Judaism while always seeking to find a common cultural and spiritual language with my clients. When needed, I take a direct approach and challenge my client to look at themselves and their relationships openly and honestly. I believe we have a duty to name social injustice and oppressive structures that impact the lives of so many individuals.
“I encourage the client to direct the work, whether that’s choosing the modality or asking me to be a more active or passive participant.”