“I decided to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology and, as soon as I had the opportunity to work with clients, I knew it was the most natural and meaningful choice I could make.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have always been interested in the wide variety of human emotions and how people express themselves. I first studied this expression through art and literature. I loved learning about verbal and visual languages and how people use them to make sense of their experiences and heal from pain, loss, and other forms of trauma. I realized that I wanted to work directly with people to help them better understand themselves and heal emotional wounds. I decided to pursue my doctorate in clinical psychology and, as soon as I had the opportunity to work with clients, I knew it was the most natural and meaningful choice I could make. I have worked in various settings — a counseling center, hospitals, clinics, and in private practice. What I love most about this work is that I am able to maintain ongoing relationships with clients and witness their transformation and growth over time.
What should someone know about working with you?
My approach to therapy is collaborative, empathetic, and nonjudgmental. I believe that the key to effective therapy is a trusting therapeutic relationship. My priority is that you feel safe enough to experience and verbalize any emotion. During your first few sessions, we will get to know each other; I will ask questions about what brings you to therapy and I’m happy to answer any questions you have. We will also work together to identify your therapeutic goals. I am patient and can guide you through this process if you feel overwhelmed or stuck. After those first few sessions, we will explore what is most important to you in the moment with an eye toward addressing your goals. I will help you better understand your thoughts and feelings, develop greater self-awareness, build on strengths, and modify problematic behavioral and relational patterns.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I understand the hesitance to try therapy — it can feel overwhelming and it's a vulnerable process. My advice is to talk to a few different therapists to get a sense of different personalities and therapeutic styles. You will likely find that you feel more comfortable and open with one therapist over another, even if you can't quite put your finger on the reason why. I also recommend talking to your therapist about your hesitation or ambivalence, as well as your other thoughts and feelings about therapy throughout the therapeutic process. These feelings are important to voice and explore; doing so can help move the therapeutic process forward and deepen your understanding of your thoughts, your feelings, and the impact they have on you.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My research has focused on identifying common factors across different types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), emotion-focused therapy (EFT), and psychodynamic therapies. This research has shaped my understanding of how therapy works as well as my understanding of my role as a therapist. I see that role chiefly as a guide and collaborator to help you achieve greater self-awareness, find your way out of problematic and painful patterns, and focus on your strengths and values most meaningful to you. My research taught me that all of this is most effective when we work together to help you develop mindful awareness of your thoughts and feelings; to better understand how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence each other; to provide space for you to experience and process the full range of your emotions; and to develop coping strategies for overwhelming feelings, including stress.
How can clients prepare for a session with you?
There is no need to prepare for sessions with me. Sometimes you may know exactly what you want to talk about in a session and we can spend our time focusing on those issues. Other times, you may not know what you want to talk about, and that is fine. Sessions can be incredibly productive when there is no set agenda. When you are not sure what you want to talk about, you may find that you are more open and spontaneous and better able to tap into thoughts and feelings of which you were previously unaware. This kind of spontaneity is a key part of the therapeutic process — it can help you discover new things about yourself and lead to meaningful change.
“I will help you better understand your thoughts and feelings, develop greater self-awareness, build on strengths, and modify problematic behavioral and relational patterns.”