“Through each internship and job, I've worked with people of all different backgrounds; this has shaped my practice and allowed me to take a culturally-competent, tailored approach.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I first decided I wanted to be a therapist after taking a psychology elective in my junior year of high school. I knew I always wanted to be in a helping position but didn't realize what kind of career I wanted until I took that class. After graduating with my bachelor's in psychology, I decided specifically to become a social worker because I liked how social work took a less clinical approach and focused on how social and environmental factors affect mental health. I did my first-year graduate internship at a high school, providing therapy and running groups, and my second-year internship in residential substance abuse treatment. After graduating, I worked at an Article 31 mental health clinic, providing individual therapy and completing intakes. I currently work with the group practice, Gray Matters. Through each internship and job, I've worked with people of all different backgrounds; this has shaped my practice and allowed me to take a culturally-competent, tailored approach.
What should someone know about working with you?
I use my first session to get to know the client as a person, understand their reasons for wanting to do therapy, and develop goals with them. My approach to each client differs based on need. Sometimes, I assign homework if I feel like it would be beneficial and allow the clients to receive more support in between sessions or if I think it would be helpful in helping the client cope. I enjoy working with clients of all ages and backgrounds but if I had to pick one demographic, young adults! Being a young adult is such a challenging time due to the transitions on top of other stressors. I really enjoy supporting young adults through that process.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I constantly read articles and research to build my competencies as a provider. There's no particular course or workshop I'm drawn to but I take classes in areas I'm not too familiar with or those I feel I need to learn more about. I also like to ask my peers questions and learn from them.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
I grew up in a predominately upper middle class neighborhood on Long Island but was blessed with parents who taught me never to judge anyone based on their background. I had friends of different races and backgrounds.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I think the pandemic showed that telehealth can be an effective way to provide therapy. Though in-person sessions are more beneficial for some, telehealth allows therapy to be more accessible for those who may be homebound or live in areas where mental health providers are not widely available. While there's still a lot of work to be done, I also believe that the field of social work and mental health is finally starting to look at itself more critically and address issues of racism, ableism, transphobia, and homophobia within the field.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
For my graduate seminar project, I did a research paper on the therapeutic benefits of playing video games. Both my love of playing video games as a kid and an interest in nontraditional forms of therapy led me to this project. It really has allowed me to think outside the box when it comes to my care and incorporate my clients' interests when possible.
“I enjoy working with clients of all ages and backgrounds but if I had to pick one demographic, young adults!”