“My sessions typically start with a mindfulness exercise to orient you to your body and mind in the present moment.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I started my path as a yoga instructor and worked with clients in their physical bodies. After some of my own experiences with therapy, I realized that there could be very profound and meaningful change through mental health counseling and I wanted to be able to offer that space to others. Throughout graduate school, I became interested in Buddhism and mindfulness. Those studies combined with the eight-limbed path of yoga connected me to a spiritual part of myself that I felt could sustain me through even the most difficult times in my life. I have spent much of my therapeutic work supporting those who have experienced chronic and complex trauma. I believe that there are many traumas we all endure throughout our lifetimes and they leave lasting effects. I am appreciative of how researchers have been able to use neuroscience to demonstrate the impacts of trauma on the brain and body and prove all of the things that I have innately believed through my own experiences and the anecdotal experiences of others.
What should someone know about working with you?
Buddha is quoted as saying that we can learn to “be present with the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows of our lives.” We can develop the capacity to navigate the dark and difficult moments of our lives with a bit more openness and trust in our innate strengths, ultimately getting through even the most despairing of times. We can learn to “ride the wave” of life. My sessions typically start with a mindfulness exercise to orient you to your body and mind in the present moment. The rest of the session is often client-directed with some suggestions or opportunities to practice skills as needed. I end sessions with some brief breathwork to integrate our time together and shift the energy before you go on with your day. I don't assign homework but I do believe that the contemplation, behavior changes, rituals, and practices you implement outside of sessions will help sustain growth over time. So, I will offer exercises or points of focus for you to try out.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am currently taking continuing education courses in somatic interventions for PTSD and courses in mindfulness and compassion through the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program at the Nalanda Institute. I also love eco-psychology and learning more about the connection between the wilderness/the natural world and the wellbeing of humanity.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My own life experiences and healing journey have led to a holistic understanding of wellbeing. I truly believe in the mind-body-spirit connection and that we do ourselves a disservice when we treat therapy as if it only deals with the mind. What we eat, our environments, how we feel physically in our bodies, the level of reciprocity and belonging in our interpersonal connections, our understanding of spirituality, and the way we make meaning in the world each impacts our wellbeing. Getting curious about not only our mental/emotional health but our physical and spiritual health and how everything is interconnected is my passion.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about the widening perspective of what constitutes therapy. We are opening up to different types of modalities and understanding that therapy doesn't have to look one specific way for everyone. Specifically, I'm most excited about teletherapy and eco-therapy! I love the accessibility that teletherapy has created, I love the option to have “walk and talks”, and I love incorporating the natural world in therapy with those clients who are nearby.
“The rest of the session is often client-directed with some suggestions or opportunities to practice skills as needed.”