“I help clients address their goals by guiding them to explore, sit with, and express their thoughts and feelings, and identify skills that expand their options for communication and action.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always been drawn to people’s stories and have been curious about why people act the way they do, especially when their actions seem to contribute to painful consequences. This curiosity ultimately led me to pursue my doctorate in psychology at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Through my studies, my continuing education, and my own therapy, I have learned that we are all doing the best we can, given the sum total of our life experiences. Sometimes, our best works well; other times, we get stuck making the same choices that are no longer working for us. Fortunately, therapy provides the opportunity to gain awareness, insight, and tools to make new choices that lead to more satisfying outcomes. I find it very fulfilling to use my training and experience to offer this opportunity to others.
What should someone know about working with you?
I ask questions and listen carefully to learn about my clients and understand their challenges within the context of their life experience. As clients respond and explore, they begin to identify their goals. I help clients address their goals by guiding them to explore, sit with, and express their thoughts and feelings, and identify skills that expand their options for communication and action. I validate the difficulty of making change while also continuously encouraging and challenging my clients to take one step at a time to reach their goals. I often use the therapeutic relationship to help with exploration. I speak with clients about what is happening in the moment between them and myself so that they have the opportunity to reflect on their emotions in real time, observe and explore relational patterns, and experiment with new ways of communicating.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
My background is in interpersonal psychodynamic psychotherapy, which is very useful for developing insight and exploring relational dynamics. I have found, however, that many clients also benefit from concrete skills to help with emotion regulation, communication, and distress tolerance. In order to learn how to help clients acquire these skills, I am currently getting training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, an approach which emphasises skill-building, self-acceptance, and behavior change.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I find it most useful to consider actions and beliefs through a lens of outcome of costs and benefits rather than a frame of right or wrong. A frame of right and wrong is based on value-judgment and opinion while a frame of costs and benefits is based on observable evidence. Using observable evidence rather than opinion as a base for action tends to lead to a more functional result. I apply this in my work and help each client consider what will be most functional for them in their context rather than trying to work toward any one universal standard or set of values.
“I validate the difficulty of making change while also continuously encouraging and challenging my clients to take one step at a time to reach their goals.”