“I am not a therapist who will sit and nod her head for an hour; I am very animated and lively.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As far as I can remember, I always felt the need to help others. My empathy is my greatest gift. I grew up in a home where love was undermined by the value of perfection and I experienced significant loss at a young age with the death of my father. I have worked with so many types of people and in every single one, I see how their past affects their current state. I have training in family trauma and therapeutic play. I focus on trauma because I understand its power as a person and as a therapist. I chose social work because it is a field that encompasses all the parts of an individual; people don't have many different sides and are instead circles with endless complexities.
What should someone know about working with you?
While I am professional, I am the farthest thing from formal. An intake session will never be a list of questions, but rather a fluid conversation about the client. I view homework and goal-planning as great tools, but I will never impose them. I do find that, for some people, it is helpful to come to therapy with written thoughts they want to discuss. Sessions are different for every client and based on their needs. Sometimes a session may be very heavy and other times it can be an enjoyable conversation. The most important thing is building trust between myself and my client. I am not a therapist who will sit and nod her head for an hour; I am very animated and lively. I am, by nature, the least uptight person I know, which translates great in therapy and assures my clients never feel any sort of power dynamic.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
Holistic care is imperative to an individual's wellbeing. I enjoy working as part of a multidisciplinary team and it is always great to get insight from other professionals as a way to better improve my work with a client. I have had many supervisors who I now consider mentors. For me, being able to ask for help is extremely important and I value open communication and transparency.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
We have a professional for every single part of our being, so having someone to help you with your emotions is only rational. Being in therapy does not make you crazy or imply that there is anything wrong with you. But no one even needs to know you go to therapy, anyway. All kidding aside, unless there are extreme circumstances, therapists are banned from even admitting you exist. So, don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me!
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited that mental health is being spoken about in today's society; I am an active member of NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) and consider myself a mental health advocate. Although we’ve made progress, there is still so much more that needs to be done. I believe emotional intelligence is something that can be taught if done at a young age. Seeing schools mandating emotional learning is a huge step!
“We have a professional for every single part of our being, so having someone to help you with your emotions is only rational.”
Interested in speaking with Cari?