“I greatly value my client's input and like to know what has worked and what has not worked for them in the past; we are a team, collaborating together to reach the goals that are set for treatment.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a child, I always admired my grandfather’s altruistic nature; his compassion and kindness toward others could be seen in every interaction. He was a source of comfort and stability to so many people and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. Transitioning to college, I had experienced some mental health difficulties of my own. During this challenging time, I was fortunate to have resources that helped me persevere. I look back at this chapter in my life with great gratitude. As much as we try to avoid suffering, it enhances our empathy and compassion toward others. This struggle taught me valuable lessons that I knew I wanted to pass along to others. While pursuing my undergraduate degree in psychology, I volunteered as a crisis counselor at a response crisis hotline. This experience showed me just how truly powerful it is to listen and be fully present with someone during their suffering, solidifying my decision to become a mental health counselor.
What should someone know about working with you?
Therapy is whatever you need it to be and I always remind my clients that I am here to meet them where they are. I greatly value my client's input and like to know what has worked and what has not worked for them in the past; we are a team, collaborating together to reach the goals that are set for treatment. Experimenting with new tools outside of session is how we know what we need to adjust or build upon moving forward. Therapy is a fluid process where a person can feel safe and supported while overcoming all of life’s obstacles.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
As someone who values lifelong learning, I make it a priority to seek information wherever I can. I stay updated on all aspects of mental health and treatment options through online courses, podcasts, books, and conversations with colleagues. I also make sure to practice gratitude and grounding techniques each day so that I stay engaged and energized.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I find that most people are very good at being able to identify what their values are. However, from my own self-reflection and working with clients, I have discovered that many people’s values are not being reflected in their day-to-day living. There is usually a major discrepancy when it comes to what we value and what we are actually implementing. This conflict often results in some type of psychological distress. Through refocusing, reflection, and mindfulness, I help my clients align their core values so that they match a lifestyle that promotes harmony. I am someone who values balance, meaningful relationships, and learning. I encourage my clients to find a work/school/relationship balance that feels right to them. I encourage boundary setting and assertive communication to help clients develop and maintain healthy relationships. My value of learning is also evident in each session because I learn as much (if not more!) from my clients as they do from me.
If there was one thing you wish people who might be hesitant knew about the therapy experience, what would that be?
You do not need to be in crisis in order to enter counseling. People have a strong tendency to invalidate their needs and feelings, making it easy to put off counseling for “another time” or when things get “really bad”. Entering counseling, even when you are feeling good, gives you a great advantage and an opportunity to enhance self-awareness, learn/implement new skills at a faster pace, and strengthen positive character traits that have been neglected due to life stressors.
“Entering counseling, even when you are feeling good, gives you a great advantage and an opportunity to enhance self-awareness, learn/implement new skills at a faster pace, and strengthen positive character traits that have been neglected due to life stressors.”