“Much of my approach is based on understanding the story my clients tell themselves about themselves.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Growing up, I was always told I was a good listener, and people confided in me. I started taking psychology courses in college, and I loved that psychology is a field that focuses on the pursuit of understanding of others and self. I spent the first 16 years of my training and career working in higher education settings, providing psychotherapy to diverse undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. In 2015, I had the opportunity to work at a higher education/ed tech startup in San Francisco where I was tasked with building a mental health service from the ground in seven cities for students from over 50 countries across the globe. As a result, I gained experience working internationally in both the worlds of higher education and Silicon Valley. Most recently, I have worked as a clinical leader in a mental health startup and in a private practice. These experiences afford me a deep sense of cultural humility, which I cherish.
What should someone know about working with you?
My approach is based on understanding the bidirectional interaction of the individual and their context (family, community, culture, etc.). My intake process is conversational (and less medical) with a clinical lens. Much of my approach is based on understanding the story my clients tell themselves about themselves. I believe the client is the expert on their own experience, and I am there to help provide a trained outside perspective to drive deeper insight and facilitate progress toward value-driven goals. I do assign homework when appropriate, often using an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) or narrative approach (such as writing or journaling). I often suggest books or films as a supplement to therapy. As a therapist, I have specialized in working with diverse young adults and early career professionals (ages 18-40), and I love helping my clients navigate this stage of growth and development. I have also worked with several clients over 40 as well as new parents.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Growing up biracial bestowed me with the gift of holding multiple perspectives. I highly value the importance of perspective-taking and the power of multiple truths. From this, the value of nonjudgment that I bring to my work as a therapist flows. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and have worked with clients and colleagues from very diverse backgrounds and worldviews. This has afforded me a deep sense of cultural humility, as I do the daily work of understanding what it means to be in the world as a biracial (black/white), American, and cisgender male who is heterosexual, nondisabled, married, and a father with a professional degree.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
First and foremost, the fact that the mental health landscape is evolving is exciting. For decades, there has been work on the community and global levels to reduce mental health stigma and focus on culturally-congruent approaches to effective mental health support and treatment. Recently, there has been an accelerated push toward access to quality mental health care, and the telehealth movement has been, and will continue to be, a key factor. I view this not just as a public health issue but as a social justice issue. I have found that seeing clients via telehealth is highly effective and in many cases, it has facilitated my clients’ access to care.
“I believe the client is the expert on their own experience, and I am there to help provide a trained outside perspective to drive deeper insight and facilitate progress toward value-driven goals.”