“In working together, my priority is for the client to feel more empowered to accept and understand their story.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I’ve always felt that, as an empath, my “sixth sense” was identifying and understanding others’ behaviors and emotions. What’s interesting about my journey is that while I always knew I wanted to “make a difference,” I never knew how I would get there. For the first several years of my career, I was on a neuroscience, research-focused track—and it was through following a whim that I am now a nurse practitioner. I can’t imagine myself in any other career and it has fulfilled me in more ways than I could’ve predicted. I’ve realized that there isn’t always a plan, and you may never know what the right decision is. But if you can trust what feels right in the moment, then you will always be where you need to be.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I understand that everyone has a story to tell, and in working together, my priority is for the client to feel more empowered to accept and understand their story. To do this, we work toward mutual goals that help the client to grow, find balance in their life, and get a better understanding of their emotions. I do this with a warm, compassionate, and empathetic approach—meeting the client where they are and further developing healthier coping skills to manage difficult emotions and improve relationships. I focus on the symptoms my clients are experiencing and the stressors that may be contributing—but I also integrate in the biological reasoning for why they are feeling what they feel. In developing a treatment plan, I incorporate cognitive behavioral approaches, mindfulness, holistic care, and, if appropriate, medication options.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Collaborating with others is what’s helped me develop into the provider I am today. While I may be knowledgeable on the medical side, I value the insight that a nutritionist, therapist, or other psychiatrists have in understanding different elements of my clients’ feelings. Whether I’m collaborating with others on the client’s care team or with others in my own field, I have learned more from others’ experiences than I could from any textbook. I find the sense of community in collaboration to be invaluable. Not only can it be reassuring for a decision I make, but it can also open up new ideas or strategies that I wouldn’t initially think of. It truly reinforces the idea that there’s never just one way to approach a problem.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Because of the stigmatization of therapy, I think there’s a misconception of what it’s intended to do. People don’t typically share their therapy experiences, so it’s often hard to know when it’s the right time to start or even where to start. I encourage everyone to start therapy even if things are “right”—it’s another version of self-care that can help you build resilience and develop tools for difficult emotions. Viewing it as self-care can help prioritize the time it takes to make changes, as many clients feel they don’t have the time to put into therapy. However, even just one hour a week can produce exponentially significant results.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
It takes courage to change and it can be scary—but on the other side of it, you will feel a level of relief you didn’t know was possible. While it may feel overwhelming to expose a Pandora's box of vulnerabilities, therapy is a safe place to bring a different perspective, awareness, and understanding to something you may have felt for a long time. Therapy is a formative process that allows you to rewrite your thoughts, connect your stories and feelings, and do it in a safe, empathetic, unbiased, and nonjudgmental space. Through therapy, you can redefine your life, further develop your sense of self, and create resilience. It’s helpful to recognize that, no matter what, you’re not going to get what you expect to get out of therapy—instead, you’ll get so much more than that.
“It takes courage to change and it can be scary—but on the other side of it, you will feel a level of relief you didn’t know was possible.”