“My primary strengths as a therapist are my genuineness, authenticity, and sense of humor.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I think, like most therapists, I was always curious about other people and found myself often in a helping or supportive role. I resisted majoring in psychology initially; however, I eventually realized it was the perfect blend of science and human connection. I knew I wanted a doctorate specifically because it would (and has) afforded me the opportunity to study human behavior while also creating endless opportunities to connect with and support people on their life journeys.
What should someone know about working with you?
I am a firm believer that the right fit in a therapeutic relationship is critical. Finding a provider who makes you feel connected and supported yet also challenged to consider alternative perspectives and grow as a person is rewarding.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I continually engage in learning by attending at least one training per year on a new therapeutic modality. This builds my repertoire of skills as a clinician. I also typically attend 1-2 conferences per year where I am exposed to different clinical approaches and techniques and emergent science in the field. My practice is part-time; in my full-time position, I am involved in contributing to the development and dissemination of research and treatment. As such, my research and clinical work are informed by one another.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
My primary strengths as a therapist are my genuineness, authenticity, and sense of humor. I was raised in a hardworking family and was the first person in my family to receive a graduate degree. I was taught to appreciate and welcome opportunities, to stand up for what you believe in with absolute conviction (even when there’s a cost), and that challenges and struggles help you learn and grow. I have always felt drawn toward connecting with others and eager to learn about and do more to understand the human condition. My values coincide with my approach to therapy and my desire to incorporate social justice into my work as a therapist, researcher, and mentor by giving people a voice.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about the increased emphasis on mental health and issues of systemic oppression in society at large. Increasingly, providers and clients alike are more communicative around their struggles with mental health and disenfranchisement, thereby leading to greater sensitivity to these concerns and willingness to engage in difficult dialogue about issues of power and privilege. I am also thrilled about my growing capacity to provide telehealth services to those who may not have otherwise been able to access treatment due to scheduling or other logistical barriers. I am able to broaden my reach as a provider and spend more time treating clients rather than traveling to and from an office.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
Much of my research work has focused on better understanding and increasing visibility of marginalized and traumatized communities and enhancing prevention and treatment efforts. I have been involved in both exploratory research to understand the needs and experiences of individuals as well as clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments. My overarching research aim is to elucidate risk and protective factors for individuals who have experienced trauma and/or neglect and other stressful experiences.
“My values coincide with my approach to therapy and my desire to incorporate social justice into my work as a therapist, researcher, and mentor by giving people a voice.”