“When we can allow ourselves to work through pain and suffering, we open up the possibility of living with greater freedom and joy.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always felt compelled to help people who are suffering. After working a variety of jobs after college, I became dissatisfied, sensing that I was only grazing the surface and was unequipped to do more impactful work. I returned to school to become a psychologist in order to do work that felt meaningful and more effective at reducing suffering and encouraging joy-filled living. I see myself on a path of self-growth and discovery. What I work on for myself is also what I wish for each of my clients: To heal old wounds and embrace a life that is fulfilling and rewarding. This also means striving to live from a place of love rather than fear. I have been in private practice as a psychologist since I was licensed in 2006, and I served for 15 years as the Director of Counseling at St. Joseph’s College, New York where I provided psychological services to college students and oversaw our training program, supervising externs and interns entering the mental health field.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe that therapy is a collaborative process that is most effective when the client and therapist can develop a trusting relationship. It is my job to create a safe, nonjudgmental environment so that you can feel as comfortable as possible in taking the brave steps of opening up emotionally. When we can allow ourselves to work through pain and suffering, we open up the possibility of living with greater freedom and joy. It takes courage to take the first step and reach out for help, but the reward is well worth it. We are social, relational beings and none of us thrive if we strive to go it alone and keep our problems to ourselves. I have extensive experience working with adults and college-age students and I am focused on treating depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, relationship problems, eating disorders, mood disorders, and parenting issues. I have also led many groups focused on mindfulness meditation, interpersonal-relating, and mindfulness for eating disorders.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I consider myself a lifelong learner, always reading new material, consulting with colleagues, and engaging in routine reflection and review of my own work as a therapist. I also participate in structured professional training. Currently, I am participating in training in accelerated experiential dynamic psychotherapy (AEDP). This approach is geared toward undoing aloneness, establishing a safe, accepting client-therapist relationship, and focusing on working through emotional pain, loss, and trauma to bring about healing and unlock the client's internal strengths and resources. Some of the authors, books, and subjects that have piqued my interest recently include Brene Brown (Rising Strong), Glennon Doyle (Untamed), Peter Levine's trauma work, Diana Fosha's AEDP, mindfulness meditation, spiritual development (A Course in Miracles, The Toltec Way by Susan Gregg), and parenting (The Awakened Family by Tsabary).
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
We are all works in progress, change is possible for everyone, and everyone deserves forgiveness and love. These are some of the beliefs that guide my work and help me maintain hopefulness in the face of pain, loss, and trauma. This hopefulness is what I wholeheartedly try to share with my clients. I have a profound sense of appreciation for each individual who enters my office and considers dropping their guard, sharing their life experiences and feelings, and allowing themselves to be vulnerable for the sake of healing. There are many pressures in our society that are in direct opposition to healthy living. If we start allowing outside societal pressures to override our own inner wisdom, it can take a serious toll on both our emotional and physical wellbeing. One of my goals as a therapist is to help clients get re-connected to themselves so they can feel more grounded and centered and can begin honoring their own inner knowledge and authentic self.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited by the growing body of research that demonstrates the mind-body connection, brain plasticity, and the ways in which our emotional states and functioning impact our physiology. Recent research shows that the conditions and activities of therapy directly lead to changes in brain structure and function. These changes are linked to healthier emotional and psychological functioning. While medication has an important role in the mental health landscape, there has been an overdependence on medication in our culture. A pill as a physical, tangible thing can easily be seen as a more potent remedy for emotional illness than the intangible aspects of talk therapy. This research provides powerful validation in demonstrating tangible results of an intangible process. Healing relationships dedicated to emotional processing and reflective engagement not only lead to the experience of relief, reduced stress, and improved mood but also changes on a physiological level.
“One of my goals as a therapist is to help clients get re-connected to themselves so they can feel more grounded and centered and can begin honoring their own inner knowledge and authentic self.”