“I want to fully understand your struggles and concerns, and I firmly believe that the therapeutic relationship is collaborative and unique in its dynamic.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I was taught at a young age that one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is your attention. For many years, I worked “in the trenches” in New York City with people from all backgrounds who were struggling with chronic mental illness, homelessness, and poverty. Through those experiences, I learned how to respond to the suffering that is part of being human. Building upon that foundation, I earned my CASAC (Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor) while working in an outpatient substance abuse program, then specialized in CBT while completing my masters. I first started to consider establishing a private practice while providing individual and group therapy for people with chronic health conditions at a public hospital in New York.
What should someone know about working with you?
First and foremost, it’s important to know that seeking therapy can stir up challenging feelings, which I will help you work through. I’m a very warm, engaging person and I approach things holistically. I want to fully understand your struggles and concerns, and I firmly believe that the therapeutic relationship is collaborative and unique in its dynamic. Because of this, my treatment is tailored to the individual. Once goals are identified, there are a multitude of ways to go about reaching them. Some people respond more to structure, which may include assignments; others find awareness through conversations. I believe the work we do together is never set in stone. It’s important to consistently evaluate and make changes accordingly.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I strongly believe in working with other professionals. I collaborate with a supervisor on a regular basis to assess my work. I also attend a monthly group with other therapists where we support each other and offer feedback. I’m very open-minded and rely on different perspectives in order to improve my own competency. I coordinate care with psychiatrists for clients needing more intensive services. I am also hyper-aware that some people are under financial strain and I always address this concern in my work with others.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
The history of talk therapy has gone through different evolutions. At one point in time, therapy was considered chic and only for the elite. At other times, it was considered taboo. People felt ashamed and went to therapy in secret. My advice is that it is okay to struggle — we are not superheroes, we are human beings. One of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves is the permission to ask for help. It can be a totally liberating experience.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I’m excited about the direction the profession is heading. Our current cultural and societal landscape shows that mental health is a real health issue. Shaming narratives like pulling oneself up by the bootstraps or the lack of willpower are obsolete. I am hopeful that we, as a society, will come to understand that mental health is just as important as other aspects of health and that a holistic model of care is the most fully competent model. I think telehealth and other online platforms will become the new norm and I believe they’ll prove liberating for anyone seeking therapy that offers more choice, options, and access.
“One of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves is the permission to ask for help. It can be a totally liberating experience.”