“Helping people reset their sleep, learn to sleep naturally, and trust their bodies — even during rough patches — was incredibly rewarding and I decided to make it my mission in my private practice as well.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I always wanted to be a therapist; I started volunteering as a peer counselor at a shelter for troubled teenagers when I was 14 and I was hooked. After that, I participated in years of clinical research training at NYU, Kings County Hospital, and the Manhattan VA. I loved the VA so much that I stayed for another eight years after completing my internship, working as a health psychologist in primary care and then as the Assistant Director of Outpatient Mental Health. While I was at the VA, I developed and launched a multisite sleep disorders treatment program to help veterans improve their sleep without medication. I didn’t set out to become a sleep doctor, but my work at the VA truly inspired me. Helping people reset their sleep, learn to sleep naturally, and trust their bodies — even during rough patches — was incredibly rewarding and I decided to make it my mission in my private practice as well.
What should someone know about working with you?
Most people come to me for CBTI, which is short-term and evidence-based treatment for insomnia and behavioral sleep disorders that typically consists of a diagnostic evaluation and 4-8 sessions. Treatment focuses on making behavioral changes to establish good sleep habits that teach you to fall asleep quickly, reducing or eliminating the use of sleep aids. We will also work on the anxiety that goes along with prolonged sleep problems, including the feelings of dread as nighttime approaches, the anger and frustration, and the thoughts about how difficult the next day will be after a night of poor sleep. This helps build resilience so you can weather rough patches without reverting to chronic sleep problems. Beyond CBTI, I offer CBT, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and insight-oriented therapy for those who want to work on broader issues of anxiety, mood, and adjustment.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I am not an idealist; I am a realist. My goal as a therapist is not to "fix" people or to keep them in therapy forever; it is to help them build strength and resilience to manage life's inevitable difficulties when they arise. I believe that each person is the expert in their own experience. I don't know better than you and I'm not afraid to be wrong. If I don't or can't fully understand your experience, it is my job to help you help me understand it better. What I have to offer won't be of any use if it doesn't resonate and feel realistic within your experience and circumstances. I acknowledge that I have a specific background and privilege and that, as hard as I try, I won't always be aware of their influence. So, I am vigilant in my personal and professional life, taking responsibility for the impact of my actions regardless of intent and committing to continuous learning.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Although I very much missed meeting in person, the pandemic experience dramatically expanded my reach and allowed me to work with people through telehealth who otherwise would not have been able to access care. Removing barriers to treatment — distance, travel time, time away from work, or paying for childcare — has made my services more broadly accessible. I hold in-person sessions when it’s safe but I continue to provide telehealth and prioritize accessibility as well.
“We will also work on the anxiety that goes along with prolonged sleep problems, including the feelings of dread as nighttime approaches, the anger and frustration, and the thoughts about how difficult the next day will be after a night of poor sleep.”