“Through our work together, we will construct a vision of yourself as stronger and more resilient.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I started on my path to therapy in my twenties by studying psychology, philosophy, and literature—the subjects I still consider to be the bedrock of therapy. But life had other plans—I pursued a career in design and technology and had a family. Then, through my relief work in the aftermath of 9/11, I rediscovered my original passion and trained extensively and intensively to return to clinical work. I have 15 years of experience across the spectrum of mental health, as a therapist, teacher, and clinical supervisor. But my passion is still the face-to-face time I spend with my therapy clients.
What should someone know about working with you?
Every human is struggling with something—insecurities, anxieties, doubts, or regrets. I work in an existentialist and humanist tradition that starts with where you are in your life and your history, and explores your current concerns and your hopes for the future. I place great value on your development of self-awareness, curiosity, authenticity, and the search for meaning in life. Through our work together, we will construct a vision of yourself as stronger and more resilient.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Often, people come to a therapist seeking a diagnosis—a label for what they are experiencing. I have studied and taught diagnostics to dozens of clinicians, yet feel it can hide as much as it reveals. A diagnosis can feel limiting—discounting the lived experiences of the individual in favor of stigmatization or excessive medication. It can imply a power gulf between the client and the therapist. It’s better to find a therapist with whom you feel comfortable. At times, therapy (like any significant relationship) can feel uncomfortable, but evidence suggests that the best outcomes occur through developing a solid therapeutic relationship within which change and growth can occur.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
Much of my work in the past 10 years has been with creative individuals—artists, writers, and filmmakers. I have done qualitative research on the added stress that a creative career puts on the health of the artist. For instance, it can be challenging to ask for helpful and non-destructive feedback on work in progress. To address that need, I have studied and trained in the critical-response process pioneered by dancer Liz Lerman. For more general creative stress concerns, I support the evidence-based mindfulness stress-reduction program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a practice in which I have trained.
How long does therapy take to work?
The issue of time in therapy has always engaged me, especially as the field has promoted shorter-term, focused modalities. While I am trained in those modalities, I push back against a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy. Therapy is not solely the regular weekly session with the clinician, which is all too brief. It is also the lived experience you have between sessions, which is informed by the work done in session. Our time together can help you reflect on the choices you made during the previous week, how they led to change or resistance, and what you learned about yourself and your relations with others. It is progress in your life that is the ultimate determinant of outcomes from the work.
“At times, therapy (like any significant relationship) can feel uncomfortable, but evidence suggests that the best outcomes occur through developing a solid therapeutic relationship within which change and growth can occur.”