“Fortunately, my clients agree that this was the right path for me and describe me as very accepting, open, and caring.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I first thought about becoming a therapist as a high school student, having decided I wanted to help people who were emotionally hurting. It took me a bit of time to achieve this goal. I worked to support myself through college (I’m a former barista) and it took nine years to complete my bachelor's degree in psychology. My master's and doctorate went faster! What kept me going was the sense that helping others as a therapist was what I was made for. Fortunately, my clients agree that this was the right path for me and describe me as very accepting, open, and caring. My first decade as a licensed psychologist focused on college students with severe and persistent mental illness. I also taught at the university level and headed a training program that specialized in trauma-informed and culturally-responsive care. I now own my own practice and collaborate with a variety of other practitioners, speakers, and organizations to promote equity and access to mental health care.
What should someone know about working with you?
As a trauma-informed therapist, asking for your permission to explore topics and being collaborative are always part of what I do. Beyond that, I integrate practices from a variety of proven therapies to help clients meet their goals. We will come up with a plan together based on your personality, diagnoses, needs, and life situation. This includes deciding what fits for you in terms of frequency of sessions, types of interventions, and between-session activities. I offer a free phone consultation so that we can make sure I'm a good fit for you and you feel comfortable and confident in starting counseling. I also utilize an online intake packet of paperwork so that we can spend the first session focused on your concerns instead of business issues. My college students were from a wide variety of backgrounds, and I continue to work with a diverse group of people in my private practice. This includes a large percentage of Latinx, LGBTQ+, and neurodivergent folks.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Because I love my field, I do a lot of reading and attend a variety of trainings. I have focused on a few really important topics related to complex trauma. One is polyvagal theory, a cutting-edge approach to understanding how the body and brain respond to trauma. Another is working with adult clients of emotionally-immature parents, which addresses family dynamics stemming from issues like codependency, generational trauma, and narcissism. I also have a growing interest in spirituality as it relates to mental health topics. I've been privileged to learn more about working with survivors of religious abuse and the dangers of spiritualizing mental health concerns. On the other hand, I am also training more on using clients' spiritual practices to support their mental health.
“As a trauma-informed therapist, asking for your permission to explore topics and being collaborative are always part of what I do.”