“Beginning therapy can be intimidating, so I aim to be as easy-going, nonjudgmental, and comfortable as I can be.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always been interested in people’s stories and how we become the people we are. I started to read self-help and psychology books in college and was amazed how my life and attitude changed by absorbing new ideas. I wanted to share the skills and knowledge with others and decided to enter the social work program. I’ve been working in the same community mental health center now for 26 years and it’s given me great opportunities to work in many different areas of mental health. I run intensive outpatient groups, therapy groups, and CBT skills groups as well as provide individual therapy. I recently completed EMDR training and became certified in auricular acupuncture. EMDR has opened up new possibilities for a lot of my clients who talk therapy wasn’t reaching. They’re both great tools to get the body as well as the mind back on track. I am also licensed in hypnosis and use it for weight loss and smoking cessation.
What should someone know about working with you?
Beginning therapy can be intimidating, so I aim to be as easy-going, nonjudgmental, and comfortable as I can be. Everyone learns in different ways, and everyone processes feelings and information in different ways. I do my best to collaborate on what approach is going to work for each client. My therapy of choice is cognitive behavioral therapy, but I also use coaching, supportive listening, problem-solving, and mindfulness exercises. I like an interactive, back-and-forth conversation but some people like to share more and some people like to listen and reflect more. My main focus is on developing self-esteem skills because self-esteem is connected to so many other issues, including mental health issues, relationship issues, or issues at work. When you learn how to value yourself, other things in life fall into place much easier and it makes facing deeper issues possible.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I am a voracious reader of psychology, philosophy, self-help, and recovery books and love watching YouTube lectures on mental health topics. I also attend workshops when I can and belong to a peer coaching group.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited about EMDR, auricular acupuncture, and other mind-body techniques that help people move past long-standing traumas. Talk therapy can make huge, positive changes in people’s lives but for trauma, I realize how important it is to involve the body in the healing process. I’m also excited that teletherapy is bringing mental health services to more people, especially those who feel stigmatized coming to a clinic or who suffer from agoraphobia. Being able to connect with someone in their home or comfort zone has made a big difference in the lives of many of my clients.
“My main focus is on developing self-esteem skills because self-esteem is connected to so many other issues, including mental health issues, relationship issues, or issues at work.”