“My place in this world is to be the foundation for people when they feel as if they have none.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My trajectory came with evolutionary stages, noticing common themes to mental health shared across generations, diverse cultures and populations, and working in various sectors. Seeking support for mental health was shameful, and the fear of being judged prevented many from asking for help. These messages perpetuated by social norms and stigma caused more debilitating effects. I witnessed those who courageously sought mental health services leave feeling deflated, neglected of their cultural identity and concerns, and misunderstood. I empathized with their distress and my sense of duty to advocate heightened. Through the culmination of my experiences, my dedication and commitment to serve the needs of others crystalized. I've also learned the healing power of psychotherapy, grounded in safety and trust, and the importance of clinical social work—the passion for the very work that is my destiny.
What should someone know about working with you?
Each session is personalized according to my client's needs and goals. Together, as a team, we make adjustments, as the natural evolution of growth involves change, including treatment and the progression of therapy. In our therapeutic journey together, clients learn more about their inner true self and situations subjected to neglect, abuse, psychological manipulation, oppression, etc. These unwanted situations may have also become cyclical throughout periods of their life, resulting in immense suffering, distress, self-blame, and guilt. Due to the complexities accompanying painful and traumatic experiences, the self becomes repressed from flourishing and expressing its beauty in authenticity. At the same time, we attend to the wounded child within, as clients continue towards the path of healing, self-compassion and self-forgiveness, inner peace, and living an abundant values-driven life, stemming from their authentic self.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I continue to deepen my learning and enhance my skills through academic coursework and advanced training in my Doctorate in Clinical Social Work program at the University of Pennsylvania. I have also received training in various couples therapy approaches, mindfulness-based interventions, emotionally-focused therapy, complicated grief treatment, neurobiological approaches, advanced clinical diagnosis and psychodynamic therapies, and other evidence-based modalities. I’m also a certified therapist in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
My place in this world is to be the foundation for people when they feel as if they have none. My duty is to provide my clients with the tools they need to continue the process of healing long after they cease from receiving my services. I am the pillar of strength for my clients to lean on until, together, we find a way for them to stand tall on their own. This is the therapeutic relationship; the definition of healing that lovingly guides me in my practice.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Years of working with various populations had revealed a palpably common thread that stood out; many of my clients experienced or witnessed forms of trauma in varying degrees in their immediate environment throughout their life. Neuroscientific discoveries in areas of complex trauma, stress, attachment, addiction, social behaviors, and interpersonal relationships have allowed providers to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of mental health stemming from a combination of various forms of trauma—whether it be bullying, rejection, abuse, neglect, violence, natural disasters, etc. By understanding the underlying neural mechanisms from these experiences, we can better conceptualize our clients’ presenting problems and tailor more effective and appropriate treatment approaches for our clients and, more specifically, with complex trauma.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I'm passionate about advancing research-informed clinical practices in the study of cognitive and affective neuroscience underlying social behavior; the neural mechanisms of circadian rhythms, perception, and sensory experiences; and how "genotoxic" environments influence the onset and course of mental health symptoms and epigenetics. As a researcher, I delved into these areas and discovered that complex trauma is often repressed and manifested in everyday interactions and functioning and effective treatment methods. Understanding the impact of environments on neuroplastic changes helps clients cultivate more self-compassion, alleviating stigma and self-blame of their symptoms, suffering, and interpersonal challenges. I provide a holistic, integrated approach incorporating psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and mind-body techniques to help clients explore and heal the unresolved, plaguing their lives and the somatosensory and neurobiological effects of complex trauma.
“I am the pillar of strength for my clients to lean on until, together, we find a way for them to stand tall on their own.”