“I believe that the most important element in psychotherapy is the bond between you and your therapist.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Being a psychologist is a second career; I was first a musician playing and creating wherever I could throughout my young adulthood. I learned the value of connection and collaboration and the power of storytelling that can touch us deeply and heal. I also developed a passion for places of counterculture and met those traditionally left outside of systems of power and privilege. I knew the value of therapy from my own personal journey and eventually recognized that I wanted to develop the skills to help in the healing process of others. I went back to school and sought a resonance with spirituality in my graduate work. I had the opportunity to study clinical psychology with an appreciation for diversity and faith at Fuller. I learned there to integrate elements and principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy, existentialism, and the practical coping strategies that often come with cognitive psychotherapy.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe that the most important element in psychotherapy is the bond between you and your therapist. As a result, I spend much of our initial time together trying to hear your story and walk in your shoes the best that I can. During the intake process, I'll ask questions to better understand what's led you to where you are now. From there, you're in the driver's seat. I've found that much of the time together with clients is spent processing emotional experiences and relationships, understanding conscious and unconscious reactions, discussing the developing dynamic between us to help understand the sources of their distress, and navigating the blocks that prevent them from getting to their ideal self.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Like many, I am very excited about telehealth and its developing acceptance. With it, psychotherapy continues to be more and more accessible to people who have traditionally been unable to engage in the talking cure. Those with limited time or who don't live in close proximity to a lot of providers now have access to much needed resources to help them deal with the difficulties of life and explore areas of growth in their own person. Additionally, accessibility has helped to destigmatize the whole world of therapy, further breaking down barriers between those who need or just want this kind of treatment and those who provide it!
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I was lucky enough to spend much of my time at Fuller studying a new paradigm for bereavement. I researched the bereavement experiences of different cultures and recognized that often people heal not by "letting go" of their loved ones but by holding them near. As a result, I built a curriculum for group therapy based on this idea and was even fortunate enough to author an article in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity with my dissertation adviser.
“I've found that much of the time together with clients is spent processing emotional experiences and relationships, understanding conscious and unconscious reactions, discussing the developing dynamic between us to help understand the sources of their distress, and navigating the blocks that prevent them from getting to their ideal self.”