“Therapeutically, I would be characterized as a behaviorist who is oriented toward cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
After college, I worked at a biodynamic farming community for individuals with developmental disabilities in rural Ireland. This experience confirmed my love of care work and led me to social services upon returning to the United States. After working in nonprofits, I decided I wanted to go to graduate school to pursue a degree in social work. I initially intended to work in social policy but decided to change my focus to clinical practice following my graduation. I worked within supportive housing before joining the behavioral health staff at a federally qualified health clinic. I currently have my own therapy practice, specializing in symptom reduction of mood disorders with a specific focus on depression and anxiety.
What should someone know about working with you?
My experience is wide-ranging both in setting and psychosocial concerns. I am allied and have experience working with LGBTQA individuals, sex workers, and those in non-monogamous partnerships. Many of my clients are freelance workers in the arts. As an individual, I am easy-going and nonjudgmental. Therapeutically, I would be characterized as a behaviorist who is oriented toward cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. My practice, while tailored to the individual, is focused on the identification and articulation of emotions, analyzing the ways in which feelings and thoughts affect behavior and the ways in which to think about behavior in relationship to consequence. Having trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, I often consider the role relationships — particularly family structures — have on emotional wellbeing.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
In addition to academic courses, I participate in numerous reading groups composed of clinical care workers. Here, we explore peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences. I am currently interested in the psychobehavioral consequences of the pandemic.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Having grown-up with a learning disability in reading and math, I was always interested in the way ability was characterized and viewed. My learning style was different from the majority of other children in my classroom. Some of my classes were held in specialized settings to help with my specific set of concerns. There were emotional and social consequences of being taken out of my classroom and yet, I also recognized my need for individualized care. As a young child, I remember considering the dialectics of my opposing needs and thinking about structural changes that could allow for more inclusion. These early experiences inspired my interest in care work. Flexibility, understanding, and tolerance are key components to my approach as a therapist and care worker. I am committed to intersectional analysis and I strongly believe in every individual’s ability to heal and maintain wellness on their own terms.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am buoyed to see that more and more individuals are interested in therapeutic treatment. I am excited about the expansion of mental health care and the increased openness I observe in the individual’s ability to speak about mental health concerns. As more people are speaking about their experiences with mental health, the language in which to express these concerns is expanding. I believe that understanding ourselves comes from our ability to comprehend and share experiences.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I worked as a research assistant while in graduate school. This research focused on gender bias in STEM. I am interested in the psychological consequences of bias and the way bias can shape identity structure and perception, both in the individual and socially. I have also researched the long-term effects of meditation practice on neurology and existential wellbeing.
“My practice, while tailored to the individual, is focused on the identification and articulation of emotions, analyzing the ways in which feelings and thoughts affect behavior and the ways in which to think about behavior in relationship to consequence.”