“My approach is holistic and incorporates various avenues to improve mental health including focus on nutrition, exercise, sleep-hygiene, and social/community life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
After a decade working in education and community programming, I realized I wanted to help people by creating a practice that combats mental-health related stigma. Having worked with diverse populations to create culturally appropriate interventions, I have come to recognize the barriers to finding resources for mental health. Whether I am counseling couples or working with LGBT youth or older adults, I tend to draw on a patient’s strengths, beliefs, and support network to help them access the resources they need.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
It is essential to find a therapist that provides a safe, comfortable, and non-judgmental environment for therapy. My approach is holistic and incorporates various avenues to improve mental health including focus on nutrition, exercise, sleep-hygiene, and social/community life. Typically, our first session is an opportunity to establish a connection, gather some background information and identify goals for improvement.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
I use an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to therapy. Mental health doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it can be affected by many factors, such as nutrition, fitness, social interactions, and romantic relationships. It is quite common for me to consult with, and refer to, various professionals to help a patient reach optimum health.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Engaging in therapy can effectively change a patient’s perception and help them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. It is also important to realize that success in therapy is about finding the right therapist. Not all therapies (or therapists) are equal and if a person is persistent they will find the right match.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
There are so many exciting developments in psychology right now. For example, I’m interested in how neuroscience is helping us understand how the brain works, how gender studies is helping us understand gender and identity in a deeper, more comprehensive way, and the impact of mindfulness and meditation on someone's wellbeing.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
I spent a year in India mapping the social networks of women with HIV in order to create an intervention that would improve the mental health of people living with this illness. Among other things this experience offered insight into the many layers of identity including family, religion, culture, and community.
“It is also important realize that success in therapy is about finding the right therapist. Not all therapies (or therapists) are equal and if a person is persistent they will find the right match.”