“In therapy, the goal is to help you learn adaptive ways of dealing with various issues and bring about lasting change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
Being raised in three different countries fueled my curiosity about people from different cultures and types of family units. I had a strong desire to connect with people and form relationships each time I moved to a new place.. Through this experience, I learned that regardless of where one is born, what religion they practice, and what language they speak, people have one thing in common: the need for healthy relationships that allow them to feel secure, understood, accepted, and empathized with. Even at a young age, I noticed how many people lacked healthy relationships. It ultimately led me to pursue training in the field of mental health. As a therapist and in my research, I've found that most presenting problems, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD, either stem from unhealthy and dissatisfying relationships or result in it.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
During my first session with a client, I focus on creating a space where they feel safe and comfortable to share their deepest emotional experiences. I strive to learn as much as I can about them in order to better understand what they're looking for, and then I individualize my approach to treatment accordingly. I believe in helping people feel empowered. Although I am there to help them better understand themselves and guide them in the directions they want to move in, most of the change occurs outside of the therapy space, when clients put what we've discussed into practice.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Although people are more aware of the importance of mental health today, there continues to be a stigma that gets in the way of people asking for help. There's a feeling of shame that accompanies the idea of seeking therapy, which frequently leads people to dismiss or minimize their concerns. My hope is that people give themselves the opportunity to reach out for a consultation with a provider before making the decision to either pursue a better quality of life or continue coping with challenges in ways that have been familiar to them. .
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I frequently hear people say, “I could never share my secrets with a stranger” or “why would go a stranger for help when I can talk to a friend?” Without a doubt, it is important to have people in our lives who can listen, empathize, and support us. However, it is important to recognize that therapy offers a completely different experience. In therapy, the goal is to help you learn adaptive ways of dealing with various issues and bring about lasting change. Therapy is safe, confidential, and non-judgmental, and is a powerful tool for creating change.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
During my doctoral studies, I conducted research that examined the effects of people’s upbringing and attachment styles on their mental health and their ability to form relationships, as well as on the issues of jealousy, infidelity, betrayal trauma, and revenge motivation. I also did research into postpartum depression, which led me to develop an interest in helping women struggling with infertility and maternal mental health challenges.
“I've found that most presenting problems, like anxiety, depression, or PTSD, either stem from unhealthy and dissatisfying relationships or result in it.”