“I believe all actions and relationships are dynamic; no problem is ever one person’s fault or responsibility.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always been the peacemaker and communicator in my family, so wanting to help others was a natural progression. I am fascinated by how systems work whether they involve families or coworkers. I do not have a particular focus or methodology; I believe in starting where the client is and interweaving any given number of interventions depending upon each set of dynamics (a one-size-fits-all type of therapy presents limits and rigidity to the practice).
I feel I am empathic, yet I encourage responsibility for one's actions. For example, I can offer support regarding the factors that may have led you to become an alcoholic, but the consequences of alcoholism to oneself and to others must be confronted. I have worked in two locked inpatient psychiatric settings, an outpatient family guidance center for troubled adolescents, a managed care company for psychiatric reviews, and private practice. I have completed a number of trainings on working with adult children of alcoholics and family systems.
What should someone know about working with you?
I initially try to gather a history of the client and their reason for requesting therapy at that moment. Progress can be measured in subjective reports from clients or others who may be involved in the referral process. I assign different types of homework depending on the client and the situation; this might take the form of writing letters to deceased relatives to complete the grieving process. I generally have clients complete lists of goals for therapy, which we will review at intervals. I believe all actions and relationships are dynamic; no problem is ever one person’s fault or responsibility. I think humor is a very therapeutic trait and I use it often to illustrate my points.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My family instilled a sense of clear and clean communication channels. I find that poor communication is very pervasive and improving communication between parties offers great mental health benefits. When I am working with cultures other than my own, I use it as a teaching opportunity for the client so I can learn about their culture and what makes it distinct from mine and others. The client is empowered and I understand the parameters of that culture and how it affects the client’s belief systems as well as their actions.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about telehealth. In addition to the sheer convenience for both clients and therapists, it tends to cut through and diminish the denial and excuses of one not pursuing mental health treatment. A lot of the excuse factors have been diminished, whether they be transportation issues, scheduling issues, or mobility issues. Telehealth also gives the client the increased sense of comfort by being in their space versus a potential sterile therapy office. That in itself can promote within the client increased feelings of control and less anxiety.
“I think humor is a very therapeutic trait and I use it often to illustrate my points.”