“I aim to help my clients live their unique life stories and shape those stories in accordance with their own values.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I became a therapist later in life, and - in many ways - it was exactly where the road was leading me all along. Early on, my interest in the human condition led me to pursue an education in comparative religion and classical studies; I lived, learned, traveled, and worked internationally. Eventually, I abandoned the search for universal truths in favor of exploring subjective experiences in a relational context. All of this, of course, influences my clinical work and better helps me empower clients to understand their subjectivity as informed by wider cultural contexts. I aim to help my clients live their unique life stories and shape those stories in accordance with their own values.
What should someone know about working with you?
I practice from a collaborative and integrated perspective. In the initial visit, we get to know each other by evaluating the most urgent need for treatment, formulating goals, and discussing the best approach to working together. If we decide on a psychodynamic approach, I will support you in revisiting crucial past experiences and helping mobilize resources to heal old wounds. In times when we feel we need to face anxieties and sadness head-on, we draw up a focused, short-term treatment plan that builds on emotion regulation strategies, mindfulness, and CBT techniques. On a regular basis, we will re-evaluate how treatment is progressing, and consider possible adjustments.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Inclusion! We are starting to include mental wellness in the discussion of public health, putting mental health on par with physical health (where it belongs!). We’re embracing an emerging awareness that mental health on an individual-level plays a vital role in the overall health of society, its prosperity, and its productivity. When we have inclusiveness and accessibility of mental health care rather than exclusivity, we blaze a middle path where individuality thrives, no one feels alone, and fear no longer stifles creativity.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I wrote my dissertation on self-perceptions of aging by analyzing a large national database. One of the findings, in line with other research, was that people are most content in their 60s. Yep, the 60s are the “golden decade” we should all be looking forward to! This drove home the idea that ageism, as any form of othering, appears largely driven by fear of the unknown; it also challenged the idealization of youth. I want to approach the adventure of life and its uncertainty with a spirit of openness and courage; this inspires me as a person and I seek to instill it through my clinical work.
What would you say to a client you asks you “What is the meaning of life?”
Good question! If you’re searching for the meaning of life, keep searching: You never know what you may find. Maybe you will find truth in suffering and pain. Maybe you will find meaning in joy and ecstasy. Maybe you will find something you never imagined. As Heraklitus said, “The way up and the way down is the same.” Regardless of what you find, whether it makes you sad or makes you happy, it will be gone before you know it. It is about the moment, about moving, about waiting, and about perpetual wonder.
“I want to approach the adventure of life and its uncertainty with a spirit of openness and courage; this inspires me as a person and I seek to instill it through my clinical work.”