“I believe that, while I may have some expertise in treatment modalities, the client is the expert on themselves, so all treatment plans are individualized to meet the client's needs.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to become a therapist. But as happens in life, I took a detour and became an inner-city, public school teacher instead. I quickly realized that I was drawn to my students’ stories more than their academic skills. After just a couple years, I quit my job and devoted my time to earning the degree that would allow me to pursue helping folks work through trauma. While in my first master's program, I took an internship in a program for adolescent sexual abuse survivors, which was the beginning of a career with a focus on trauma. Over the years, I pursued additional opportunities to work with other forms of trauma within settings such as the foster care system, human trafficking, relational conflict, and traumatic brain injuries. Over time, I realized that this work translated well to working with individuals who were struggling with depression, anxiety, conflict, health issues, and other forms of trauma. Now, my practice incorporates all of this and more.
What should someone know about working with you?
For me, intake is two to three sessions of getting to know one another and planning our next moves. I incorporate some standard assessments into my work with clients because it gives us data to determine if we're on the right track. I believe that, while I may have some expertise in treatment modalities, the client is the expert on themselves, so all treatment plans are individualized to meet the client's needs. Some clients will receive formal homework assignments and others will receive less formal ones. However, for all clients, most of the real work comes as they incorporate what happened in therapy into their lives outside of sessions.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner and truly believe that education can never be finished. I teach college students, which encourages me to stay updated on new research but I also cannot imagine a time when I wouldn't want to soak up everything I possibly can. Since I believe that the intensity of work with trauma applies to pretty much everyone's struggles, I spend much of my free time engaged in professional development, reading, and learning more about the process and treatment of trauma.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Growing up in a large family, I often felt other's tendency to group my siblings and I together as one unit despite us being very different and I believe this experience has heightened my awareness of seeing the individual rather than a diagnosis or category. I believe that everyone is the master of their own story and that compassion and a willingness to listen set the stage for healthy relationships even when there are differences. I will not claim proficiency with every population, but I make a commitment to every client I serve to allow them to tell their story. I also make a commitment to actively work toward learning and understanding each client and their stories at all times.
“I believe that everyone is the master of their own story and that compassion and a willingness to listen set the stage for healthy relationships even when there are differences.”