“I enjoy working with diverse clients, not just to understand what we have in common but rather to discover what is unique about their culture, what that culture can teach me, and how this identity can be highlighted to enhance their wellbeing.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I started in a nursing home, providing daily care for individuals with memory disorders and prioritizing someone's loved one as if they were my grandpa or grandma.
What should someone know about working with you?
My education taught me a lot, but my clients teach me more. I'm amazed by how people inspire me and how sometimes I leave people inspired. The process unfolds naturally and heals. It is the mutual work the client and I do together that makes this happen.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I started a doctor of psychology training program, not to become a psychologist but rather to learn new ideas and theoretical frameworks that can supplement the work I do as a nurse practitioner. I also complete 75 hours in medication continuing education yearly to stay up-to-date on the health sciences.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I'm from a small town in Ohio and understand midwest cultural norms. As a kid growing up, our family would take in exchange students who exposed me to new ways of thinking. I enjoy working with diverse clients, not just to understand what we have in common but rather to discover what is unique about their culture, what that culture can teach me, and how this identity can be highlighted to enhance their wellbeing.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I hope by the end of a very long and fulfilling career, I am able to master the art of being wrong. A strange concept, yes? My clients and I are working toward something better and something lasting and that means trial and error sometimes. We need to normalize the process and accept the ups and downs in life. I have 15,000 and counting hours of client experience and yet there is much to learn. Through humility and honesty, the client and I can develop a deeper level of trust, which results in amazing and dynamic changes that are truly lasting.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My roots are in nursing homes and memory care units. I've long admired the work of social worker Naomi Feil and her methods referred to as validation therapy. Person-centered eldercare helps health workers and loved ones reach individuals who have lost memory function due to dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or traumatic brain injury. Validation therapy is a novel way for family members to connect with their loved ones who no longer remember who they are.
“Through humility and honesty, the client and I can develop a deeper level of trust, which results in amazing and dynamic changes that are truly lasting.”