“Because of my varied work experiences, I am keenly attuned to the struggles and conflicts that take place in one’s professional life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I graduated from a liberal arts college with a degree in art history and no clear direction toward what career I wanted to pursue. There were fits and starts and I tried on all kinds of hats. Eventually, I went back to school to earn a design degree. As the economics of our world ebbed and flowed, I again explored the idea of a career change and joined a career support group. While I had prior individual and group therapy, the impact of sitting with others at that time felt particularly powerful. Listening to other job seekers who could validate and understand what I was experiencing was of tremendous value. Because of my varied work experiences, I am keenly attuned to the struggles and conflicts that take place in one’s professional life. When working with clients, I examine how one’s career identity and setbacks rekindle past deficits and conflicts.
What should someone know about working with you?
My approach is eclectic, with techniques that come from a variety of sources. I don’t assign homework to my clients but I often encourage them to think about certain aspects of their lives outside the office. This allows them to expand, move forward, and grow. My understanding of human nature comes from my psychoanalytic training. The primary focus of my work is the relationship between the client and their early caregivers. Often, this produces unconscious conflicts that leads to dissonance in everyday life. I provide a safe environment where your feelings can emerge, where you’re heard, and where you’re understood. I give you support and pragmatic feedback, allowing you to go wherever your feelings lead.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I believe in a collaborative experience. Seeking input from other healthcare providers, supervisors, and advisors gives me the opportunity to facilitate additional perspectives and supplement any knowledge gaps in the relationship I have with my client. When multiple practitioners are treating the same person, collaboration requires clear boundaries and communication. I don’t want to leave my client confused by hearing one thing from me and something else from another provider. Collaboration is particularly important when medications are involved. If a client is taking psychotropics and they’re proving ineffective or causing side effects, finding a solution involves a “team” approach. Medical professionals and therapists come from allied fields, brought together by a common goal.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
The first session is primarily an information gathering meeting. You will be asked questions about your motivations for pursuing therapy, family background, support systems, and important events in your life. Many times a person feels they have friends or loved ones they can talk to, so why meet with a complete stranger? Initially, talking to people you know may be a good start, but sometimes they cannot maintain distance. As a professional therapist, I am trained to listen thoughtfully and help you deal with your unique situation.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Our field now has more options available with regard to both theoretical perspectives and modes of treatment. This gives clients the chance to choose a therapist who is a best fit for them. Insurance continues to be a problem, however. It is important for our elected officials to continue to perfect written laws so that mental disorders have the same reimbursement as medical diagnoses. In order for people to get access to the care they need, our elected officials must start to see mental health in the same light as physical health. This will lift taboos, bring awareness to the underserved, and help reform insurance policies. Parity between mental and physical health treatments have improved, but more vigilance is needed to ensure comprehensive coverage as part of our healthcare benefits package. The mental health field is always ahead of policy, we just need our lawmakers to catch up.
“I give you support and pragmatic feedback, allowing you to go wherever your feelings lead.”