“My work of unlocking my clients’ stories and understanding what holds them back personally and professionally is what sustains me and is at the core of my therapy practice today.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
The hand we are dealt is by chance, but the card we play is by choice. Who I had to be in my family growing up never resonated; I knew something wasn’t right but I didn't know what was wrong. I ran after ‘success’, but perhaps I just ran away. I became an analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland and a manager at McKinsey & Company in New York City. My responsibilities were to manage teams of researchers, recognize patterns, highlight stumbling blocks, and chase down solutions. Just as important, I sought a therapist of my own 20 years ago, a neutral person who reflected what I couldn’t see and who helped me tap into unknown or underused aspects of myself. I came to understand that I wanted to support people holistically rather than only with their careers. My work of unlocking my clients’ stories and understanding what holds them back personally and professionally is what sustains me and is at the core of my therapy practice today.
What should someone know about working with you?
We all have the automatic, comfortable elevator speech we tell others and ourselves about who we are. I believe in gently questioning this speech with humility and curiosity until we are surprised at the new perspectives we uncover together. The essence of therapy is a relationship - one that explicitly serves you, but a relationship, nonetheless. I believe you deserve to know what lenses influence me - including being the child of immigrants, a single mother, and sole custodian. Mutual knowledge and vulnerability help my clients feel safe enough to do the therapeutic work. Just like building new muscle takes multiple and regular trips to the gym, personal and emotional change can be awkward and strenuous. As we undertake this work together, I also believe we will uncover new strengths and heal hurtful episodes from your past which will make this investment invaluable.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I keep a purposely small practice as I enjoy partaking in extra supervision and peer problem-solving groups. I am also currently enrolled in a 2-year postgraduate trauma program with the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City where I stay current on cutting-edge research. Trauma is not necessarily a big event. It can be the everyday lack of recognition, shaming, belittling, being beholden to the power and control of another, or the many unfortunate ways a child is told that they are not enough just as they are. Such histories are responsible for keeping people from venturing down healthy paths, or alternatively, for pushing them down unsuitable paths toward burnout. Many symptoms for which clients seek medication, for example, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, and eating disorders may stem from unresolved trauma. Much like Victor Frankl studied how people made meaning out of their experiences amidst the heinous backdrop of the Holocaust, I study trauma research and documented domestic violence cases to extrapolate lessons I may apply to others.
What do you think is the biggest barrier keeping professional women from seeking care?
Fear, shame, and doubting one’s own worth are the biggest barriers keeping women from seeking therapy. Many women are extraordinarily successful at work while also fulfilling many roles on the personal front. We’re used to being in control, meeting deadlines, and making others smile. With so many plates spinning, it can be difficult to own up to our own perceived weaknesses, especially when it contradicts the image we have of ourselves professionally. As one advances career-wise, professional expectations can be at odds with personal situations, and the balancing act to achieve a seat at the proverbial table can become toxic. Speaking from my own experience, I promise you there is strength in vulnerability and great reward in unlocking it.
“There is strength in vulnerability and great reward in unlocking it.”