“The journey itself will be fulfilling and sometimes, even a lot of fun!”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
When I was 17, I realized something about myself. I overheard someone discussing a therapist and, all at once, it clicked: I could become a therapist. I experienced a great relief, as if I had discovered where I belonged in the world. Many things slid into place for me that day. I recognized the reason I sought deep conversations and philosophical wonderings. I finally put together why people so often singled me out to share their experiences and why I so easily fell into the role of a confidant. This collection of details merged into a clear image of myself and a new identity: I was a listener, a truth seeker, and a problem-solver. From then on, I steered my life toward becoming a clinical psychologist.
What should someone know about working with you?
In my practice, I provide cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based approaches. I use these techniques because, simply put, they work. But that doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all; together, we will explore your unique situation. We’ll discover what is most important to you and only then form an individualized plan. Your treatment will match your values and make the most of your strengths. Therapy is an alliance and a partnership, and the goals come from you. The therapeutic process is not always easy, but it is often very rewarding. The journey itself will be fulfilling and sometimes, even a lot of fun! The individuals I most enjoy working with are curious, willing to experiment, and able to be honest with themselves. Successful therapy clients have clear goals they want to accomplish and are willing to put in the effort. With that said, occasionally the most rewarding work is helping the people who don’t know where to start or who are searching for the motivation to make a change.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
Each person comes into therapy with their own philosophy of life, even if they’ve never put it into words. Our values are a product of our own unique history and our multifaceted identity. It is not the therapist’s role to prescribe values or impose their own onto the client. Therapy can, however, illuminate and clarify the core values that a person already holds. For my part, the values that guide me as a therapist are the same ones that guide me as a person. I strive for compassionate mastery, creative utility, balance, and wisdom. I seek to improve my skills for understanding and helping others (using my creative energies to craft tools, works, and techniques that are beneficial), to live in harmony with my communities around me, and to apply my knowledge and experience to help myself and others lead meaningful lives. Living in accordance with our core values brings us closer to fulfillment, happiness, and self-actualization.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My doctoral research focused on individuals with ADHD who were adapting to the challenges of college. One interesting topic this project drew upon was the learned industriousness effect, a way to understand what makes people put forth high effort. I do occasionally draw on this research when helping clients overcome stagnation and enhance their motivation. I was also involved with a large clinical demonstration project when I worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This project was related to suicide prevention and my role was meeting with veterans in acute crisis and helping them link with care, build a support network, and draw upon their intrinsic resilience. I drew upon my experiences at the VA for my book, The Invisible Toolbox: Coping Skills for Everyday Resilience.
“The individuals I most enjoy working with are curious, willing to experiment, and able to be honest with themselves.”