“I especially like working with parents, helping them balance empathy on one hand with limit-setting on the other, as well as find a midway between their own needs and those of their children.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
This is my second career; I was originally a high school teacher and guidance counselor. Working with older teens was the perfect start to a psychological career. It helped me gain a developmental perspective, understand and guide people, and help them learn what they want in order to blossom and become themselves. As part of my training, I worked in an outpatient veterans administration clinic, working with older vets. So, my training has incorporated the lifespan. All of these experiences have made me open to people of all ages and backgrounds. Having lived in both Los Angeles and New York City, I feel open and passionate about working with people from around the world, which I have already done a lot.
What should someone know about working with you?
My intake process is quite open after gathering some information, like why a person is seeking therapy at this particular time and whether or not they have been in therapy before and how that went (i.e., what worked and what was missing). I also want to know what has gone well in the person's life (I believe it’s important to build on their strengths) as well as what the problems have been. I end the hour by explaining how I think I can help them and what our sessions will look like. I especially like working with parents, helping them balance empathy on one hand with limit-setting on the other, as well as find a midway between their own needs and those of their children. As an artist, I like helping artists and writers recover from artistic blocks by unearthing what is blocking their creativity, and I like working with young adults on the threshold of discovering themselves, their careers, and their relationships.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I continue learning primarily by participating in two supervision groups where I learn a lot by hearing about the work of my colleagues and getting their feedback on mine. We also read key clinical articles and see their relevance in our work. I am also on two committees of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis; these committees plan meetings for other therapists. Over the years, I have presented several times on my work with adolescents and survivors of trauma.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My family is a small United Nations: Multicultural, multi-racial, multi-religious, and multi-gendered. This diversity mirrors the values I grew up with — my parents were appalled at the racism against Japanese Americans during World War II, for example. They expressed acceptance of and appreciation for people everywhere. My wide travels have also contributed to the sense that all humans have more commonalities than differences. That doesn't take away from the uniqueness of each person, and cherishing that uniqueness is an important part of my work. I am always curious about the history and background of my clients and don't try to act, in any case, as if I know all they have been through. My work is collaborative; clients have as much to teach me as I hopefully have to give them.
“As an artist, I like helping artists and writers recover from artistic blocks by unearthing what is blocking their creativity, and I like working with young adults on the threshold of discovering themselves, their careers, and their relationships.”