“My approach is relationship-driven, which means I aim to connect with the individual sitting opposite me (or sharing my computer screen) in an effort to build a working relationship that will in itself become an agent of change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
There’s no sugar coating this: My path originated from my early adolescent experiences as an individual in therapy myself. It revealed the depths of my curiosity about the human condition and uncovered my capabilities to appreciate the complexities of what it means to be human. I learned what it meant to “own” my story and grew a strong desire to pass this valuable sentiment along to others. I began my academic career by earning my BA in psychology at Rider University followed by my MS in mental health counseling at Long Island University. The complexity of understanding what surfaces when working with individuals who have suffered from trauma led me to expand my training by becoming a certified clinical trauma professional.
What should someone know about working with you?
I strive to create a new therapy for each of my clients. My approach is relationship-driven, which means I aim to connect with the individual sitting opposite me (or sharing my computer screen) in an effort to build a working relationship that will in itself become an agent of change. I tend to dismiss overly structured, manual-like approaches and would much rather go at a pace that feels safe and comfortable for the client. With that being said, I am here to serve as an objective observer to my clients' lives and the stories they share. Sometimes, people need assistance in examining their own assumptions and beliefs or the encouragement to develop a new and more adaptive life narrative.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I find that who I am as a person consists of not just my values but the roles that make up my identity, my personality traits, and my background and these are all integral parts of what shapes my work as a therapist. Certain aspects guide my work more than others, including the values that are aligned with those of feminist theory. Now, men, do not stop reading here! This simply indicates that my work comes from a place of advocacy for social change and a commitment to changing oppressive structures, whether that involves structural contexts of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. These values are keen on empowering individuals by assisting them in reclaiming a sense of control or autonomy in their lives.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My master’s thesis project focused on how certain personality disorders could be distinctively channeled based on one’s biology and ascribed gender roles. I wanted to explore how common personality disorders (such as borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder) present and manifest differently in women versus men. My hunch was that they were being misinterpreted or overlooked as something else. What’s more, my experiences in working through a trauma-informed lens advised me that people who are labeled with such disorders are often dismissed or mishandled in the mental health care system. This motivates me to want to do better for these individuals.
Do you assign homework in between sessions?
In addition to my relational approach, I’m big on implementing an aspect of creativity in our work, be it writing prompts in between sessions or curating individual music playlists that capture one’s feelings. I find these exercises effective in creating a deeper, more comprehensive exploration of one’s self.
“I tend to dismiss overly structured, manual-like approaches and would much rather go at a pace that feels safe and comfortable for the client.”