“I love being able to help people in their time of need, and I’m inspired and energized by my clients every day!”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I became a therapist after a previous career in journalism. I lived and worked overseas in Asia and Europe and wrote a biography. After the book was published (and after having two children along the way!), I entered a period of soul-searching. I realized that what I found most exciting and rewarding was interviewing people. I was curious about what motivated them, how their past had shaped their lives, and how they overcame their struggles. I was fascinated by their stories and inspired by their resilience. This ultimately led me to get a master’s in social work from Rutgers. I counseled domestic violence survivors, county jail inmates, people in methadone treatment, and people struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues before starting my own psychotherapy practice. It’s been an incredible journey and I feel very grateful to be in this field. I love being able to help people in their time of need, and I’m inspired and energized by my clients every day!
What should someone know about working with you?
By the time many people come into therapy, they’ve already struggled to solve the issue for a long time by themselves. When starting with a new client, I invest time to find out why they are coming into therapy now, what motivates them to want to change, and what they hope to achieve from therapy. I listen without judgment to the strategies they’ve tried, what worked and what didn’t, and what is holding them back from achieving their life goals. I identify their strengths and resources, empathize with their struggles, restore self-esteem and hope, and above all, treat clients with respect, dignity, and kindness, all while helping them move forward. I find it most rewarding to work with motivated clients who know the “why” but are struggling with the “how” in regard to making changes in their lives. If you’re ready to make a change, let’s talk. Together, we’ll explore options and come up with a strategy. With creativity, persistence, and support, you can succeed in your goals.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
One of the things I love about working in the mental health field is the opportunity for specialized training. The trainings I’ve had focused on the areas of substance use/addiction, PTSD, trauma and abuse, suicide risk assessment, and challenging racial disparities. I’m also a certified mental health screener in New Jersey. I supervise social work students and interns as a way of giving back to the field. One of my goals is to take advanced training in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to help clients better manage emotions, behaviors, and relationships. When needed, I collaborate with other providers in order to help clients function at their best.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I grew up socially isolated in a small rural town and I wanted to see the world. In college, I studied Chinese in China and environmental studies and Swahili in Kenya. I later lived and worked in China, New York, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and France for many years. Living and traveling abroad and studying the languages where I lived gave me the opportunity to get to know people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. It has given me an understanding of different cultures and helps me connect with people from all walks of life. I am in a mixed-race relationship (my husband is Chinese American) and my children are biracial. For all these reasons, I view this country and the world through a very different lens than many others in my socioeconomic background. I deeply believe in the inherent worth, dignity, and potential of every individual. I also believe that therapy can be transformational and should be accessible to anyone who wants it.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I believe telehealth is a game-changer. It is making therapy more accessible to many people with logistical barriers to in-person sessions, which will help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable (including children, seniors, disabled individuals, and others unable to travel). This is a social justice issue.
“I identify their strengths and resources, empathize with their struggles, restore self-esteem and hope, and above all, treat clients with respect, dignity, and kindness, all while helping them move forward.”