“I am an empathetic and creative person who is an excellent listener; I see therapy as a journey that we are both on together.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I was orphaned at 17 when my mother died of a heart attack and I suffered with guilt and anxiety, blaming myself for her death. Talk psychotherapy (psychoanalytic psychotherapy) was the best thing I did for myself; it helped me build positive self-esteem and lessen my anxiety. This led me on the path to study psychology as an undergraduate. Later, I received my master’s degree in social work and then I obtained a psychoanalytic psychotherapy certificate from the Advanced Institute for Analytic Psychotherapy. I have taken several courses on how to treat anxiety and I know how beneficial therapy is first-hand, which is why I want to help others.
What should someone know about working with you?
I am an empathetic and creative person who is an excellent listener; I see therapy as a journey that we are both on together. I know that it is not easy to enter therapy so I will help you feel comfortable when I see you for the first time. I will help you discover what might be standing in the way of you accomplishing what you want out of life, while recognizing negative and repetitive behaviors, relationships, or work patterns. Maybe you don’t know what you want and we can work on that, too. My practice involves goal-oriented therapy; each session, we will go over what you did to accomplish your goals and discuss what was standing in your way.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
If you are unhappy, giving therapy a try can make you feel better (which is why it’s worth it). After all, you deserve to get the most out of your life. You have probably felt the way you do for a while and just considering therapy is the first step. Now, take the second step and make the call - doing that means you are already on the road to feeling better. If anything, therapy offers you another person to listen. Friends may listen, but they are not impartial or trained and it can feel burdensome to discuss your problems with them. I know how it feels to take this step, since I entered therapy years ago after feeling hesitant, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Years ago, when I first started working as a therapist, psychotherapy was stigmatized; there has now been a shift from hospital-based to community-based psychiatric treatment. In the 70s and 80s, many people with mental illness were de-institutionalized, which contributed to their neglect. Antipsychotic medications had deleterious side-effects, resulting in less adherence to them, and many of the mentally ill began to live on the street. Today, there are better medications and, while there are still people on the streets, there aren’t as many. In the past, the schizophrenogenic mother was blamed for her schizophrenic child but now we know that there is a genetic component and chemical reasons for schizophrenia; we also know that medication can help. There is now a move away from long-term to short-term psychotherapy, with the emergence of CBT.
What do you find most gratifying about being a psychotherapist?
I am gratified when a person in psychological pain slowly starts to feel better. I saw a woman in her 30s, unhappily married to an emotionally abusive husband, who wanted to be a nurse. After establishing a therapeutic relationship, she revealed that, when she was young, she witnessed her father murder her mother’s brother because he was having an affair with her mother. She’d never told anyone and I saw her affect begin to change over the months as she went to school and became the nurse she wanted to be. She was on the road to leaving her abusive husband, but I left the agency before I found out if she did. Still, I was gratified to be a facilitator in her transformation.
“I will help you discover what might be standing in the way of you accomplishing what you want out of life, while recognizing negative and repetitive behaviors, relationships, or work patterns.”