“Careful listening and observation as well as a generous helping of curiosity and humility is at the heart of what makes this work both challenging and rewarding.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I came to the field after having a very negative experience with my first psychotherapist. She looked smart and talked smart, but she wasn’t listening to me. That instinct of “this can’t be right” and the awakening of my inner compass eventually led me to another therapist and subsequently to many positive and transformational experiences with my own therapy, my trainings, and my work with clients. Careful listening and observation, as well as a generous helping of curiosity and humility, are at the heart of what makes this work both challenging and rewarding—both for the therapist and for the patient. This work is all about collaboration.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
The most important thing to discover is whether we can work together. Fit is a real thing when it comes to the therapeutic relationship. I provide safety and emotional support with room for you to listen to your own inner wisdom. Early sessions are spent painting the full picture of what you bring to treatment—your family background and your history of trauma or loss—and then collaborating with you to find the most pressing issues. I’m not a silent observer; I’m an active listener and collaborator. Empathy, humor, curiosity, and compassion are the tools and interventions I use to help guide the process.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
I think the fear of vulnerability is a big one. What will happen when I speak about these feelings out loud? What will happen if I get too emotional and can’t put myself back together again? What will happen if this changes my life? You know the adage “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Therapy, whether it’s short-term or a longer, in-depth experience, invites you to, as the poet David Whyte writes, “start close in.” Acquainting ourselves with our vulnerabilities, and not pushing our problems away with numbing or denial, can actually help us tap into the tremendous inner capacity we have for empathy, self-compassion, and change.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I wish more people knew that therapy has truly become a countercultural experience. We put down and silence our devices and are invited to drop into a place of deep listening. There is this amazing experience of connecting to yourself and your thoughts in the presence of an empathic, nonjudgmental person. Sometimes that stirs things up and really gets you to the heart of the matter. Sometimes it’s quite emotional and you have those aha moments. Whatever comes up in therapy is contained in what we call “the holding environment.” Your experiences are safe, contained, valued, acknowledged, and held like a caring parent holds a child.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy, what would they be and why?
I agree with what D.W. Winnicott wrote in “Playing and Reality”: “It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found.” So much of what creates emotional storms and dysfunction is the idea that we have to compromise and silence who we are. This quote speaks to how important it is for people to be seen, valued, and discovered. I’m also a big poetry lover—words and talk therapy seem to make a perfect match in getting at what it’s like to be fully human. Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” ends with this probing question that informs my work as well as my daily life: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
“Empathy, humor, curiosity, and compassion are the tools and interventions I use to help guide the process.”