“I don’t treat symptoms, but rather I work with people to help them understand who they are on a deep level.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in understanding people and why they do what they do. I was drawn to understanding myself and the people around me. My road to becoming a therapist was not direct; it took time for me to figure out myself and my life experience as well as gain an education that made me better at this. For many years, I worked at a community mental health center. It was an invaluable part of my education and growth (as was my training in psychoanalysis). I don’t treat symptoms, but rather I work with people to help them understand who they are on a deep level. I look at patterns that clients are repeating and explore where they started. It took time for those patterns to develop, so it also takes time to change what’s not working. We will work on these issues together in the context of our therapeutic relationship, which is an important part of the process.
What should someone know about working with you?
It’s important that each client be seen as an individual with unique circumstances and history. You are not defined by the symptoms that you are experiencing or your life circumstances. I keep that front of mind when I first meet with people. In the beginning stages of therapy, I am focused, with your help, on evaluating your needs and what would be most helpful to you. I believe in flexibility and don’t try to fit people into a particular framework that probably won’t work for them. I have been trained and have knowledge of different treatment modalities and will use what I think will be most beneficial. Having said that, I want to stress that in my view, the most important part of therapy is establishing a solid relationship with the client. That’s something to keep in mind when meeting with a potential therapist; do you like this person and are you comfortable talking to them? Finally, I am not promoting a quick fix; change is slow at times but the process can be transformative.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
When I was in social work school, one of my professors described the MSW degree that we were working on as a “license to learn”. I took that seriously and have been involved in some type of training throughout my career as a therapist. I have completed programs in the treatment of addiction, psychoanalysis, and EMDR. Additionally, I attend a reading group focused on clinical work and group supervision. An ongoing exchange with colleagues has added to my professional growth immeasurably throughout my career.
“I want to stress that in my view, the most important part of therapy is establishing a solid relationship with the client.”