“I believe that therapy can add value for most, if not all, people. People don’t need to be in tremendous distress to benefit from the experience.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I’ve been interested in the field of psychology since taking it as an elective course in high school. I knew I wanted to be of service to others and psychology seemed like an appropriate avenue to do so. My specific interest in being a clinician developed while pursuing my master's degree. I had learned the foundational skills of counseling and, more importantly, I gained experience in actually helping people. This experience illuminated how powerful therapy can be. While the master’s degree I earned allowed me to practice as a psychotherapist, I wanted to further hone my clinical skills so I sought a PhD in Counseling Psychology. My doctoral program set the stage for where I am now, which is practicing in the city I grew up in and working to help people create more fulfilling lives.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I view therapy as a collaborative experience, which I facilitate by fostering comfort and trust in the process of therapy. In my experience, clients trust the process when they feel understood and genuinely cared for. The structure of therapy is something that the client and I discuss early in our work to determine the best approach. We may explore patterns of thought or behaviors that might be contributing to their concerns. We may also examine how their life experiences and relationships impact their current disposition. I tailor my approach to each client’s individual needs, no matter what they seek to address.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Therapy is all about you. It is likely one of the few spaces where spending a large amount of time talking about yourself is not only okay, but encouraged. Therapy may be awkward or difficult at first, which makes sense given that you’re attempting to share aspects of your life with a stranger. For that reason I believe it’s imperative to find a therapist that you are able to connect with. Therapy jitters often dissipate once someone has had the opportunity to work with a person who “gets it” and is easy to talk to. I encourage people to schedule phone consultations with potential therapists. Consultations provide a great opportunity for clients to share a little about themselves and ask the therapist questions, while also gauging how comfortable they feel in conversation with the therapist. Pursuing therapy may feel daunting, but a good client-provider fit can lessen that difficulty.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
Our country seems to be at an interesting juncture where mental health is at the forefront of our social consciousness. If we’re able to discuss these issues, then we’re also able to destigmatize mental health conditions and treatment. As a result of this shift, people are seeing the value in addressing their own psychological needs. That motivation is beneficial to the process of therapy, as people are coming in with a greater desire to invest in personal insight and change. That investment offers people the opportunity to understand themselves beyond what a Google search might suggest. I believe that therapy can add value for most, if not all, people. People don’t need to be in tremendous distress to benefit from the experience.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
On Becoming A Therapist by Carl Rogers is a book that has been integral to my approach to therapy. Rogers emphasizes the importance of a solid relationship, or alliance, between the client and therapist. He suggests that therapy is most effective when clients feel understood, supported, and cared for. He further acknowledges that the therapist is responsible for ensuring that clients have that experience. While this might sound obvious, without careful attention by the therapist, one or more of those conditions could be neglected. For that reason, despite using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a primary approach, my attention is always on creating a space that fosters what Rogers calls a strong alliance between the client and provider.
“I refrain from providing advice out of respect for client’s individuality. Instead, clients and I work to explore aspects of themselves that they may not have previously considered.”