“In order to change our stories, we must understand the systems from which they originated and then shift those systems as a whole.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a child, I was always fascinated by stories and how those stories created meaning toward our individual realities. My parents introduced me to the fables of Aesop and I enjoyed guessing the moral at each tale’s end. Once I got older, I saw stories through a relational lens, recognizing that they held the power to create our worlds, encumbering us or freeing us. This perspective resonated with me so much that I became a marriage and family therapist. I now encourage clients to see that nothing occurs in a vacuum; in order to change our stories, we must understand the systems from which they originated and then shift those systems as a whole. It’s a necessary, involved, and rewarding journey and one that proves Aesop right: Slow and steady wins the race.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe engagement acts as the foundation of long-term, behavioral change. To achieve a high-level of this engagement, we must prioritize collaboration. I encourage my clients to take an active part in their treatment process through homework assignments and session feedback. I believe therapy takes place in my office and outside of it; to make it work, we both must do the work.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I use a collaborative approach to mental health to treat the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Based on assessments and feedback throughout the course of therapy, I may refer clients to other healthcare practitioners who can help with identified barriers. Once these referrals are made, I form a partnership with any and all providers so that we can meet the client’s needs together, a strong cohesive unit focused on the goal of healing.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
It’s okay to feel hesitant. In fact, it’s a natural reaction when embarking on anything new or considering a return to something that was unsuccessful in the past. But hesitation turns into hindrance if you let it; often, moving out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do to keep from getting stuck. Take a step, take a chance, and take breath — you can do this, one day at a time. If you’re willing to climb this steep, intimidating mountain, you’ll set yourself up to reach heights you’ve never imagined. And, I promise, the view is beautiful from the summit.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I’m excited about how accessible and accepted mental health is becoming. Not only that, but we’re starting to see more and more people tending to their health as a whole, rather than just their physical condition. Larger systems, like companies and organizations, are doing their part too, acknowledging the importance of mental health in their employees and communities. In recent years, they’ve begun creating policies and procedures that meet the mental health needs of their staff and the people they serve. The more companies can create and maintain spaces of wellness, the easier it becomes for everyone to thrive.
“I believe therapy takes place in my office and outside of it; to make it work, we both must do the work.”