“This is your body, your mind, your life, and therefore anything you do should be your choice.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I’ve always been fascinated by the brain, even as a kid. This solidified into an interest in the developing field of neuroscience during my undergraduate years at Wesleyan. After graduating and exploring academic research, I realized that what I found most compelling was the study of the mind and the dynamics of human behaviors. I knew I wanted to work in mental health. Of the many paths available into this field, I chose to become a nurse practitioner because of its patient experience-centered, collaborative approach and because of my desire to make mental health care more accessible to more people.
What should someone know about working with you?
After a preliminary phone call to gather some basic information, we will conduct an initial 60-minute evaluation and consultation session to gain an understanding of the particular challenges you’re facing, the services you’re seeking, and to make sure the two of us are a good fit. We will then create a treatment plan, which I view as a collaborative process: this is your body, your mind, your life, and therefore anything you do should be your choice. My role is to inform you about the potential benefits and drawbacks of different approaches, so you can make informed choices about what feels best for you.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
Much of the work toward better mental wellness is about changing our patterns, and it is essential for a client to have support to foster and maintain those changes. From the client perspective, this is the function of collaboration: a team of providers from different disciplines who can provide unique insights and approaches to helping a client reach their goals. As such, I encourage clients to engage in a multidisciplinary approach to care based on their specific needs and their specific goals. Similarly, collaboration plays an essential role for me in better understanding my clients and how I can help them. No one provider can be an expert in all things. Engaging in peer and professional supervision relationships with other providers gives me new perspectives on how best to support clients.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
First I would want to congratulate you on deciding to pursue care. Deciding you are strong enough to ask for help is the pivotal first step in what can be a productive and rewarding experience. That is by no means an easy thing to do, as there are so many misconceptions and unfounded stigmas around mental health treatment. Many see it as a tool of last resort to fix problems they couldn’t fix themselves, infusing shame into their desire for self-betterment. But this simply isn’t true. We all have directions in life we want to pursue and ways we’d like to evolve ourselves and our lives, but our efforts to do so often prove frustrating and can make us feel like giving up. I encourage you to view mental health care not as a “fix” for what is “broken,” but as a means of self-understanding and self-directedness.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
After completing my first undergraduate degree, I had the honor of working as a research assistant at Brandeis University. It was repetitive but fascinating work that culminated in my co-authoring a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Though I did not ultimately pursue neuroscientific research as a profession, the science of neural systems and functioning informs my approach to psychiatry and therapy. It allows me to educate clients on ways in which the biology of their brain informs their perceptions and patterns of behavior. Based on our present understanding of neural dynamics, we can devise strategies, interventions, and, when necessary, medications to reshape those perceptions and patterns and improve overall quality of life.
“Though I did not ultimately pursue neuroscientific research as a profession, the science of neural systems and functioning informs my approach to psychiatry and therapy.”
Interested in speaking with Gabriel?