“The reason I use a somatic approach is because words are sometimes insufficient at identifying and releasing pain, trauma, stress, grief, sadness, anger, shame, and anxiety.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My practice has been shaped by my training and experience as a social worker, my work as a community organizer, and my background as a trauma-informed yoga teacher. I trained to be a social worker at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. I learned how society pathologizes certain behaviors or thoughts as “maladaptive” when they are often better understood as resilient and creative ways for individuals to survive their environment. I use this strengths-based, nonjudgmental, and radical approach in therapy.
My work as a community organizer has focused on finding ways to connect to my roots in the Midwest and partner with grassroots progressive initiatives on the ground to build anti-racist and anti-corporate power in under-resourced rural areas and small towns. As a yoga teacher, I learned we carry around internal injuries in addition to physical injuries. Both require excavation and yoga is one excavation tool.
What should someone know about working with you?
My specialty is clients with overtaxed nervous systems, which includes everyone living on a dying planet and under a tide of rising fascism. My approach is somatic and integrative. Somatic therapy is any therapy that acknowledges the body has needs and is not separate from the mind. Somatic therapy is talking about, connecting with, listening to, and trying to understand our bodies. The reason I use a somatic approach is because words are sometimes insufficient at identifying and releasing pain, trauma, stress, grief, sadness, anger, shame, and anxiety. In addition, the body can handle sensation in a way the mind cannot always handle content. Integrative therapy, or holistic therapy, acknowledges that therapy is not simply about our mental health but also our emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am always seeking out training to help me stay rooted in the practice I have and to expand my base of knowledge and the tools I can share with people in session. I have completed extensive professional training in the treatment of trauma, including the following courses: Advanced Program on the Treatment of Trauma; Working with the Pain of Abandonment; Being Anti-Racist is Central to Trauma-Informed Care: From Awareness to Action; Identifying and Addressing Racial Trauma in Couples Therapy; Trauma-Sensitive Yoga; Trauma-Conscious Yoga Method; and Trauma-Conscious Reproductive Health for Mind, Embodiment, and Soul. I have also completed kink, poly, trans, and LGBQ-affirming trainings, including Beyond Gatekeeping – Trust and Informed Consent with TGNC clients; Polyamory, Non-monogamy, and Attachment; and Somatic Therapy with Queer and Trans Clients.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My practice is shaped by the social work tenet of unconditional positive regard, which holds that my liberation is tied up with all those I work with. I work from a place of solidarity and empathy, rather than paternalism, sympathy, charity, or pity. I use an anti-oppressive and trauma-informed framework, understanding that systems of oppression shape what is often incorrectly interpreted as individual pathology. I am conscientious of holding a safe space and providing therapeutic engagement that minimizes re-traumatization and emphasizes empowerment. I always use historical and material conditions as a context to understand ways systems of oppression are replicated in therapy despite intent, including ways adaptive responses to a hostile social environment are labeled “disordered.”
“Integrative therapy, or holistic therapy, acknowledges that therapy is not simply about our mental health but also our emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health.”