“I am interested in mindfulness to treat anxiety and trauma; I believe meditation and mindfulness are keys to good mental health and resilience.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I was an artist and decorative painter for 20 years and painted in people's homes. People loved talking to me while I worked and at times, I felt the painting was just an excuse for the therapeutic encounter. One day on my drive home, I stopped at a hospice and became a hospice volunteer. That sent me on the path to become a hospice nurse. After watching all my hospice nurse friends burn out from caregiver trauma, I decided to go to grad school to become a psych NP. I am interested in mindfulness to treat anxiety and trauma; I believe meditation and mindfulness are keys to good mental health and resilience.
What should someone know about working with you?
I like working with clients who are insightful and curious about their own minds. My intakes are not just about medication and symptoms; I want to know what matters to you, who you are, and what has shaped you and where you want to go. How can I help you if I don't know these things?
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I feel like we all put so much pressure on ourselves and that we often need to learn to relax and trust in the process! When we relax, we can more easily access our innate inner wisdom and healing. We can't be all things or know all things for our clients; collaboration is key to understanding our client from a different viewpoint.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I've lived around the planet, in New Zealand, Belgium, France, and all over the US. People might wear different outfits, but suffering is suffering and we all need help because we are all human.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I have used telehealth for years (before everyone else), because I live in a rural area and had a practice in an urban area. So in that way, I am ahead of the curve! Honestly, I prefer going into people's homes and seeing people in their environments. You "get" a lot about people that way. I think that's one reason why we like telehealth, as it allows us to peer into people's homes.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
Years ago at Hopkins, I was the first author on a research paper that looked at mental health and health outcomes for people with breast and prostate cancer. I performed a huge literature search about the evidence and discovered it still comes down to the same issues: Self-acceptance and the acceptance of others, community and meaning, and access to good healthcare.
“My intakes are not just about medication and symptoms; I want to know what matters to you, who you are, and what has shaped you and where you want to go.”