“I recognize that trust is essential to any therapeutic relationship and initial sessions are spent gathering background information and collaboratively setting goals for treatment.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My love of science and passion for helping others initially inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. However, during my undergraduate studies, I found myself drawn to psychology coursework. I was particularly fascinated by child cognitive development and the power that early experiences may have on later emotional and social functioning. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant on various projects, examining the efficacy of cognitive behavioral protocols in addressing anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults. Given my interest in early intervention, I transitioned in grad school to researching these treatments in children and adolescents. While this research has informed my practice greatly, I find the most value in working directly with individuals and families and helping them meet their goals.
What should someone know about working with you?
I recognize that trust is essential to any therapeutic relationship and initial sessions are spent gathering background information and collaboratively setting goals for treatment. At the same time, I make an effort to build up my client’s confidence in the therapeutic process. To help with this, I am fully transparent in my work with individuals and families. I introduce clinical techniques and skills to the client to help the individual and family become more independent in meeting their goals. While everyone’s process is unique, I generally utilize cognitive behavioral techniques in my clinical work. This involves psychoeducation about emotions and behaviors, introduction and practice of cognitive and behavioral strategies, and at-home practice to help with the generalization of skills.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I always take developmental considerations into account when weighing the best practices for collaboration. For example, interventions with young children always involve working with a community of care providers. My extensive experience in school settings allows me to understand how teachers serve as essential collaborators in addressing student goals; I always collaborate with school providers and parents in developing and implementing interventions, especially when working with younger children. As children become teenagers, and become more active agents in their own progress, they often require extra care when establishing trust around the confidential nature of treatment. At times, excessive collaboration can undermine this trust process; I always inform adolescents of collaboration and make sure that they are open to this type of outside communication.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Starting therapy can bring on a lot of uncomfortable feelings and it can be tough to share your concerns and goals with someone you just met. It’s important to be up front with your provider regarding any worries you may have about beginning therapy. It’s also okay to feel uncomfortable with the first provider you meet; each clinician is different in his or her approach to treatment and a strong match between the provider and client is necessary for progress. I advocate for an initial phone consultation before beginning therapy to help individuals lessen their anxiety and determine if the provider feels like a good fit.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Telehealth has helped with generalization of strategies in a way that took much longer previously, especially when working with parents and their younger children. It has also greatly improved access to consistent high-quality care. While the benefits of in-person therapy can’t be understated, I am excited to see many individuals and families finding the enhanced value of teletherapy.
“I introduce clinical techniques and skills to the client to help the individual and family become more independent in meeting their goals.”