“I find that I am constantly learning and growing by listening to the stories, perspectives, and experiences of other people.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I believe my path to becoming a therapist began long before I started even thinking about becoming a therapist. Prior to studying psychology, I imagined I would become a fiction writer. I took my curiosity about people — their relationships, emotions, behaviors, and traumas — and explored it through my writing, trying to understand the characters within this framework. Writing always helped me navigate my own life experiences, process my emotions, and generally understand myself better. I believe what ultimately launched my therapeutic career was the recognition that the deeper understanding I so craved could be incredibly useful in helping others. I find that I am constantly learning and growing by listening to the stories, perspectives, and experiences of other people.
What should someone know about working with you?
As a psychodynamic psychotherapist, I take an exploratory, insight-based approach to therapy. Essentially, I function as somebody who works to understand your experience while also helping you shift patterns that may be contributing to hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, or feeling stuck. In the beginning of our work together, I will probably do a lot of listening; my job initially is to get to know you, listen to your story, and listen for the patterns, frustrations, relationships, repetitions, joys, and losses in your life. With a framework influenced heavily by attachment theory, I place emphasis on my understanding of relational patterns that are developed from those earliest connections with our primary caregivers. This does not mean we’ll dwell in the past or blame our parents. Rather, it empowers us to use the past to inform our understanding of the present and the future.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I learn so much from my colleagues, both within the discipline of psychology and outside of it. I have worked in hospital clinics where there has been an emphasis on integrated and interdisciplinary care, and it has greatly influenced my approach as a clinician. There is always so much to learn from providers and professionals who have had a different set of training experiences and can provide valuable perspectives on client wellbeing.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I completely understand how daunting it may feel to try therapy! There are many reasons that it can be difficult to approach. Trying to find the right therapist, making it work with your schedule, budgeting for the cost, and wondering if you will feel comfortable enough to speak openly with a new person... All of these considerations are totally valid! However, therapy can be enormously helpful in ways that are difficult to quantify. The only way to understand whether it can be helpful for you is by giving it a go, exploring your options, trying out different therapists if necessary, and seeing whether it works.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My doctoral research focused on the development of body image dissatisfaction in the context of parent-child relationships. My research has made me more aware of the range of experiences we all have as children and how we are each shaped by these experiences in various ways. It also informed my understanding of development across the lifespan, encouraging my clinical curiosity about the early experiences of my clients.
“I function as somebody who works to understand your experience while also helping you shift patterns that may be contributing to hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, or feeling stuck.”