“My clients have noted to me that I make the intake process very simple and welcoming by my down-to-earth style.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to social work was a circuitous one but no less inevitable. In my first career working in documentaries, I was devoted to education and enlightenment. After working with Holocaust survivors on a museum project and the death of my father, I turned toward working with individuals on a more personal level to help with issues of trauma, depression, and other mental health struggles. And I've never looked back!
What should someone know about working with you?
My clients have noted to me that I make the intake process very simple and welcoming by my down-to-earth style. I always meet the client where they are and help them to understand their world and their feelings. Progress is dependent on the client's willingness to change and to integrate skills and insights into their daily interactions. As a result, homework is dependent on the client's acceptance that change is hard and requires daily exercise. In more directive therapy, such as parent-child interactive therapy (PCIT), I love having the opportunity to help parents and children bond positively and modify negative behaviors through evidence-based play skills.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I love any opportunity to learn more ways to evaluate and intervene with children and families. As a result, I studied at the Ackerman Institute for the Family for two years to develop better family therapy tools. I was also certified in child and adolescent psychotherapy by the National Institute of the Psychotherapies. The more I work with families, the more I've become interested in working with infants and toddlers as well. In order to provide new parents with information and skills about their new babies, I completed two amazing workshops. One was with Dr. Beatrice Beebe at Columbia University Medical School on parent-infant interaction and one was through the Brazelton Institute at Harvard Medical School on neonatal behavioral assessment. My interest now extends to wanting to pursue a PhD in advanced clinical training with infants.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
When my parents married in 1965, it was still rare and culturally shocking for a Catholic (my mother) and a Jew (my father) to marry. But they believed in focusing on the content of one's character over other markers. As both a doctor and nurse, they raised me to be compassionate, open-minded, racially-blind, and service-oriented.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am inspired by child development research; the more we understand about what makes children turn into happy, healthy adults, the better we all are!
Isn't play therapy just play?
No! Anyone who plays with children and "hopes for the best" is not optimizing the relationship-enhancing power of play. The fact is, there are things you do during play and things you don't! There are toys you play with and toys you don't! There are things you say during play and things you don't! And when you use this information, evidence shows you are more likely to have a child that becomes an empowered, thoughtful adult.
“I always meet the client where they are and help them to understand their world and their feelings.”