“My core values include maintaining balance, flexibility, resilience, self-care, and body positivity; these certainly shape my approach to therapy.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My interest in understanding human development as well as family and group interactions has been with me for as long as I can remember. A memoir buff, I started reading books like Lisa Bright and Dark, Go Ask Alice, and I Never Promised You a Rose Garden in junior high school. What I find wonderful about the field of mental health is that everything I read is immediately personally and professionally relevant and personally and professionally compelling. I find learning about human dynamics, interpersonal relationships, and helping people live their best lives extremely interesting and rewarding.
What should someone know about working with you?
Every person is unique and has an individualized blueprint for realizing his, her, or their life goals and ambitions. I take very seriously the ethics of client self-determination. Therapy can be a vehicle to becoming your best self and living the best life as defined by you. As a creative writer, I have an interest in narrative approaches to psychotherapy. Looking through the lens of one’s story gives people the distance needed for clarity and the power of creativity for composing one’s life. I am also a certified yoga instructor and have a master’s degree in dance-movement therapy. While I provide predominantly talk therapy, I am open to integrating breathwork, postures, and other body-oriented therapeutic interventions as needed or when requested. My approach to therapy involves body positivity, attuned and compassionate aging, a harmonious relationship with the body and food, and an examination of internalized stigmas.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My core values include maintaining balance, flexibility, resilience, self-care, and body positivity; these certainly shape my approach to therapy. Encouraging people to become curious when feelings, behaviors, and beliefs grow rigid allows a widening of the lens and a chance to tap into the ability to strengthen balance and flexibility, ultimately holding the good with the bad and strengthening relationships. I believe we underestimate the wisdom of the body and I encourage people in therapy to slow down, breathe, and listen to cues about hunger, cues about what aging bodies can and cannot do, cues about new strengths and abilities, cues about feelings, and cues from intuition. These are ways I see people strengthen their resilience. Tuning into the wisdom of our bodies can also promote authentic self-care.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I had the opportunity to serve as the study coordinator for a three-year, national, multi-site study that examined the outcomes of experimental intervention compared to treatment-as-usual for women who experienced issues with mental health, substance abuse, and trauma. My takeaways included the following: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to working through difficult feelings and/or making changes; everyone, no matter what, has a right to and a need to find meaning and purpose in their life as defined by them; never underestimate the impact and potential strength of our unique intersections of cultures when looking at how we experience the world; people grow and change tremendously when they have a space to be heard, self-reflect, and identify what they need and how best to meet those needs; people are amazingly resilient and resourceful; and there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS reason to hope.
What would you say to someone hesitant to begin a therapeutic journey?
Kudos to the hesitant! I applaud going into any kind of healing or helping relationship with eyes wide open. Therapy asks for trust, vulnerability, time, commitment, financial investment, and a willingness to take risks. These concerns are real and should be considered before starting. These concerns can also be explored in initial therapy sessions as you get to know a new therapist and determine whether the person and the therapy that they offer is a good fit for you. I encourage asking questions and raising concerns. Therapy can be a place to recognize that some of your biggest fears are simply human fears, that all problems have solutions, that new behaviors can replace old, that your strengths are often just the tools you need to overcome obstacles, and that hurt can and does heal. Sometimes, therapy is a tool to help you make changes and sometimes it is a space for determining that you are okay with things as they are — the work is simply getting comfortable in your own skin! Therapy is an unusual relationship and, as the relationship develops, there is inevitably mutual care and respect. Yet, because it is a professional helping relationship (as opposed to a friend or family member), it might be the only kind of relationship in which the other person (your therapist) is there to diligently guide the work solely from the perspective of you living your best life as defined by you. A person once said to me, “I know I should go to therapy but I am terrified of what I might learn about myself.” Therapy is not always feel-good and it can be scary but you get to set the pace and we can co-create a brave space that is conducive to learning and growth. Therapy can also be a place where you look forward to engaging as you tap into your creativity, self-reflection, and your ability to make purposeful, meaningful, and positive changes.
“I believe we underestimate the wisdom of the body and I encourage people in therapy to slow down, breathe, and listen to cues about hunger, cues about what aging bodies can and cannot do, cues about new strengths and abilities, cues about feelings, and cues from intuition.”