“My clinical approaches are primarily client-centered; I often use CBT and mindfulness therapy.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My interest in the field of psychology and the human mind grew out of a determination to gain control at a time when, as a child, I felt powerless and invalidated. As a teen, I was frequently rebellious and defiant in reaction to an overbearing, critical, and controlling mother. Feeling invalidated, my self-esteem plummeted; I was longing for self-confidence and a sense of identity. I was free-falling until I discovered psychotherapy. Working with a skilled therapist enabled me, brick-by-brick, to gain the insight I needed to turn my life around!
What should someone know about working with you?
My clinical approaches are primarily client-centered; I often use CBT and mindfulness therapy. Always with an eye on the prize, I am solution-focused. The client needs to feel a sense of respect and autonomy; their goals are important to me and the foundation for our therapeutic journey together. I have a warm and compassionate style and treat my clients with respect and dignity. I'm about meeting the client where they are but will coax them along while holding them accountable to specific concrete treatment goals, conjointly-formulated.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I'm fascinated by neuroscience and passionate about learning new concepts, such as rewiring the anxious brain, which is useful in the treatment of anxiety, panic, and worry. This gives new hope to clients struggling with panic, social anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. I attend webinars that focus on understanding the difference between cortex-based and amygdala-based anxiety. Imagine being able to empower our clients with strategies to resist anxiety-igniting thoughts by understanding how the cerebral cortex contributes to anxiety! Besides that, I am constantly on the lookout for new strategies and techniques to better engage my clients and increase their level of insight into self-destructive behavior (e.g., using drugs and alcohol).
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited about the role of nutrition in shaping and affecting client mood with respect to improving frame of mind as it relates to depression, anxiety, and energy levels. I am anxious to learn ways to combat chronic inflammation and increase blood flow to the brain, thereby improving brain function and memory. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (blueberries, green tea, chili peppers, avocado, salmon, and beets) serve to enhance memory and reduce inflammation. Another proactive behavior to combat gum disease (thereby reducing inflammation) is flossing every day. Overall, I am most excited about minimizing the effects of aging by slowing down the inevitable process through good nutrition, adequate sleep, and daily cognitive stimulation!
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
Recent research has focussed on the elderly population and the importance of remaining viable, staying socially connected, and acquiring new learning. Proactive behavior such as volunteering serves to combat loneliness and isolation while improving self-confidence.
Describe your therapeutic style:
My therapy style incorporates nonjudgmental listening while validating the client's feelings. Forming a therapeutic bond requires that the individual feel supported, thereby developing a trusting relationship with the clinician. I feel especially sensitive to the impoverished and inner-city population, whose economic and psychosocial struggles are unique to them and require a deeper level of understanding and support. That said, I work very effectively with victims of trauma, be it early childhood abuse or PTSD.
“The client needs to feel a sense of respect and autonomy; their goals are important to me and the foundation for our therapeutic journey together.”