“The first thing I think that everyone should know about me is that I have a great sense of humor.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
When I was in college, I majored in psychology with the intention of eventually going to graduate school to get a degree in school psychology. However, during my junior and senior years of college, I had the opportunity to intern at a school for adolescents with behavioral problems. The social worker at the school, Mr. David, was my mentor. I loved the way he responded to the students and the way they responded to him. I also loved that the students sought him out when they needed help or advice. I began doing research in the field of social work and discovered that I could get my degree in this field and put my love of helping people to good use. I also began to realize that if I majored in school psychology, I'd be limited in the types of jobs I could get upon graduation, whereas there was a great deal of career flexibility with a degree in social work. I have experience working in an outpatient mental health clinic and an elementary school, among other settings.
What should someone know about working with you?
The first thing I think that everyone should know about me is that I have a great sense of humor. When possible and when appropriate, I always enjoy infusing humor into my counseling sessions. At times, I will assign homework, but I would never mandate it. I first discuss the idea of homework with my client to garner their interest and desire. If it's something that the client is opposed to, then I will not assign it. However, I do believe that homework can be very valuable when integrated into therapy. I enjoy working with children, but I prefer to see children in person, as I find that sometimes their interest levels wane during the course of teletherapy. I also enjoy working with adults, particularly those diagnosed with psychotic disorders and PTSD.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
As a child, my parents always said that I would grow up and find a way to help people. I think the desire to help people was influenced by my dad, who was always looking for ways that he could assist others. Whether it was helping a needy family by cooking meals for them or helping neighborhood families with childcare by letting their children come to our house when their parents either couldn't afford or couldn't find a babysitter, he loved being able to help and he never asked for or expected anything in return. In watching his kindness and empathy toward others, I developed my love of helping people. I am the product of a mixed-race couple, so cultural sensitivity is always at the forefront of my work. Growing up, my dad, who was African American and Native American, would share stories from his own childhood and the experiences he had with racism and discrimination. It pained me to hear these stories, but it made me into the culturally-sensitive therapist I am.
“As a child, my parents always said that I would grow up and find a way to help people.”