“I'm deeply curious about the human experience; I believe in every person's ability to change and grow.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As an older sibling growing up as the only girl in a family of four brothers, I often took an observational and nurturing role. I enjoyed watching the varied developmental trajectories of each of my siblings. As an undergraduate and graduate student, I began my study of languages and trained in education; this shaped the first quarter of my career and influences my therapeutic approach today. Specifically, my work as an educator, researcher, and clinician in diverse contexts here and abroad has deepened my curiosity for the human condition and motivated my doctoral work at Columbia University. While at Columbia completing my PhD, I took lessons from my research and teaching experiences in Cambodia, South Africa, and Switzerland and shaped my doctoral projects and my postdoctoral work on mental health, neuropsychology, and human development.
What should someone know about working with you?
I'm deeply curious about the human experience; I believe in every person's ability to change and grow. My therapeutic approach is an integrative one that is tailored to the needs of the person I'm working with. My early sessions focus on understanding each patient's goals, their emotional and cognitive style, and what dynamics shape their experience in the world. I have a great amount of respect for the therapeutic relationship between provider and patient and honor that by leaving time to reflect on each patient's process and progress and my role in these elements.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I believe an integral part of learning as a psychologist takes place in the actual work with patients. In addition to that, my collaboration with colleagues in the field through conferences and peer supervision provides me with a tremendous amount of professional support and growth. I'm not only a clinician but a researcher by training and I'm constantly following research on mental health, neuropsychology, and human development to broaden my skillset.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My research involving young children and mothers in South Africa through Columbia's School of Public Health and Bank Street College of Education helped me to shape an epigenetic framework for understanding mental health and human development that is integral to my practice. This work also gave me a deep respect for cultural variation in mental health expression and, as a result, has allowed me to become a more culturally competent psychologist.
“I have a great amount of respect for the therapeutic relationship between provider and patient and honor that by leaving time to reflect on each patient's process and progress and my role in these elements.”