“I have primarily worked with HIV+ and LGBTQ people with complex medical, mental health, and substance use struggles.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I knew early on that I wanted to be a social worker. I felt aligned with core social work values, including valuing people for all of their identities and helping them reach their full potential.
I have primarily worked with HIV+ and LGBTQ people with complex medical, mental health, and substance use struggles. My original clinical training was primarily evidence-based and focused on cognitive models of therapy. Years ago, I became fascinated by somatic psychotherapy. While I have often integrated mindfulness in my work, I knew there was much more to the brain-body-mind connection that could be brought into therapy. That led me to attend the comprehensive Hakomi training, an integrative somatic psychotherapy model that informs my work. I have also been training in and using Brainspotting, a transformational brain-body-mind approach, to heal unprocessed material at the neurophysical level and expand what is possible.
What should someone know about working with you?
I send intake paperwork via email before the first session so that we can use your therapy time for therapy. I also may periodically send brief mental health assessments to check in on where you are and how you are progressing over time. Usually in the first session, we'll talk about what's going on right now in your life that's distressing or where you'd like to see some changes. If you're comfortable, I like introducing either somatic psychotherapy or Brainspotting for at least a few minutes during the session so you get a feel for it and a sense of how it can lead to change or a better understanding of yourself. You get to choose the direction of therapy; we may stay on the same theme for a series of sessions or something big may come up that you want to work on right away. I'm flexible and will help weave the sessions together so we can see the connections among where you've come from, how you experience yourself and the world today, and where you're headed.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I love to take continuing education to expand my skills and knowledge base. I prefer experiential training where I have the opportunity to practice skills in real therapy sessions with other clinicians. This allows me to hone my skills in real-time and experience the method from the client's perspective. This also gives me a clear sense of what the therapy feels like in my own body, teaching me whether I enjoy the process as a client and if there are any meaningful shifts from that brief experience. I carefully select modalities that are effective right from the beginning. I have taken extensive training in somatic psychotherapy (Hakomi and Inner Relationship Focusing) and Brainspotting as well as other experiential mind-body approaches. I also find that clinical consultation with other therapists helps me expand my thinking and gives me perspectives on different approaches.
“While I have often integrated mindfulness in my work, I knew there was much more to the brain-body-mind connection that could be brought into therapy.”