“Unlike traditional psychoanalysis, my psychodynamic style is more interactive, helping you uncover and identify patterns, creating rapid and lasting change in current relationships.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I knew from early adolescence that I wanted to become a therapist. I had a passion for helping my peers process their emotions and overcome adversity. I also had a drive to pay it forward, as I credit much of my sense of self and well-being to a wonderful therapist I saw during my high school years. I was equally and deeply interested in both child and adult psychology, so I completed two postdoctoral fellowships — one treating adults and one treating children and families. I have published and presented research on both high-functioning autism and the unique developmental issues of “emerging adulthood” like shifting relationships with family of origin, launching career, and seeking partnership.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I've had clients come to me because they want to explore analytic psychotherapy but have had negative experiences with former therapists who didn't provide adequate feedback. Unlike traditional psychoanalysts, my psychodynamic style is more conversational, using moment-to-moment processing to help you uncover and identify patterns to create rapid and lasting change in your primary relationships. I am active, collaborative, and won’t hesitate to point out differences between your intentions and your actions, or patterns that may be just outside of your awareness. We may begin a session by discussing an emotional state or interpersonal difficulty that arose during the week, and we will move between past and present to identify what might be fueling it and how the same problem might be approached differently in the future. While we may also explore early childhood experiences, it is always in the service of improving how you feel and relate to others in the here and now.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Therapy is not just for you, but for everyone around you. Like a stone dropped in a pond, the ripples move outward from the person seeking help. I often hear from clients, “the problem is my boyfriend, mother, or boss, and they won’t come to therapy!” But the fact that they're not in the room doesn’t mean that these relationships can’t change. Often the fastest road to interpersonal change begins by making changes in your approach. Relationships tend to try to repeat the status quo, but if you change the rules of the game, others will have to adjust in turn. The work I do involves practicing new ways of interacting with people in your life that have historically brought up anxiety or conflict. My clients quickly gain insight into patterned interactions and develop the skills and confidence to try out new ways of relating.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
The biggest barrier is financial. Most people I know, especially New Yorkers, recognize that therapy is positive, healthy, and should be a priority. But out of pocket costs are high, and navigating one’s insurance benefits alone can be confusing and daunting. From the first phone call, I provide detailed assistance in working out your out-of-network insurance benefits. Most of my clients are happily surprised to find that their insurance company will reimburse them for 60–90 percent of my fees! I believe so strongly in making your healthcare plan work in your favor and getting your money’s worth, and will advocate for this from the get-go.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
My doctoral dissertation was a microanalysis of two years of therapy with the same child who was seen by two different therapists. Coding teams analyzed videotaped sessions, observing and rating the moment-to-moment processes occurring and their relationship to his improvements over time. Our main finding was that varying the therapist significantly impacted the quality of the therapy. Each dyad, or two-part unit, had its own distinct relationship, and this had a direct effect on symptoms. This greatly informs the work I do with both children and adults. If I could give those new to therapy any advice, it would be to go with your gut. If you feel comfortable, heard, and resonant with a therapist, then therapy is much more likely to be helpful. Don’t be afraid to talk to a few providers. A good fit really matters.
“The fact that a parent or partner is not in the room doesn’t mean that these relationships can’t change. Often the fastest road to interpersonal change begins by making changes in your own approach.”