“As a natural empath and extrovert, I love nothing more than a good chat between two people, which is how I tend to give therapy today.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As soon as I took my first Psych 101 class in high school, I was hooked. I loved that I could better understand both myself and those around me as a means to heal, connect with others, and move forward. Later on, I found social work, which married my innate curiosity in human behavior with my desire to serve and give back to my community. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working in a variety of diverse contexts, including a middle school where I taught kids about healthy relationships, at Rikers Island, in situations where I provided therapy and court advocacy to domestic violence survivors, and in-home family therapy within the child welfare system. As a natural empath and extrovert, I love nothing more than a good chat between two people, which is how I tend to give therapy today.
What should someone know about working with you?
Sometimes, taking the first step to reach out for help is the hardest. For that reason, it is important for me to create a trusting relationship with my clients in order to best understand their perspectives, contexts, and experiences. I work hard to create a nonjudgmental and dynamic environment that amplifies strengths and examines the unhelpful patterns that may no longer be serving my clients. Together, my clients and I shift the feeling of "stuckness" by creating and building upon new ways of coping. My therapeutic style is active in conversation, while being supportive and collaborative. I use an integrative approach, meaning I pull from multiple therapy modalities in order to best fit the uniqueness of each client's situation and needs. Sometimes, this involves engaging in more abstract and thematic discussions and sometimes it involves practicing tangible skills and using homework assignments. My clients and I craft what we want each session to look and feel like, together.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
As a naturally curious person, I find wisdom and opportunities to hone my skills everywhere. An all-day training or conference can be immensely helpful and enriching but I also love gaining knowledge in unexpected places. First and foremost, my clients teach me things all the time, both about human behavior and about how to be a better therapist for them. I also gain knowledge from podcasts, articles, social media, and traveling to new places.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
Some of my core values include authenticity, nonjudgement, and accountability.
I believe that, in order to build trust with clients, I need to show up as authentically as possible. It is an immense privilege that my clients begin as strangers who have made the brave choice to tell me their deepest fears and insecurities. As such, I work to show up authentically in session so that my clients are not alone in the experience of vulnerability and genuineness. I always strive for acceptance, despite knowing how hard that can be to consistently embody. I constantly put myself in my clients' shoes in order to practice compassion. However, I also hold my clients accountable to the behaviors and thoughts that are no longer serving them. At the end of the day, I believe we are all a work in progress. From this belief, I too hold myself accountable to giving you my best, recognizing where I fall short, and striving to do better every day.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited that tele-therapy has broken down some barriers for folks who were struggling to prioritize their mental health for many valid reasons. I am excited that the need to invest in our mental health is more normalized and respected than ever before. I am excited that we are starting to allow for more nuance in the field, instead of viewing issues or people as black and white or diagnosable or not.
“First and foremost, my clients teach me things all the time, both about human behavior and about how to be a better therapist for them.”