“Much of therapy is pushing people out of their comfort zones.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Through the pre-med classes I took on the path to medical school, I realized that my passion lies in mental health. All too frequently, people suffer needlessly as mental health struggles are denied or diminished. I wanted to be a part of a culture that brought the importance of mental health into the light. My awareness of the lack of avenues for healthy expression for many people planted the seeds for my appreciation of therapy as a place to process thoughts, make sense of them, and understand emotions. I have had a longstanding interest in the human experience and the ways in which I can help people expand their own capacities to increase self-awareness and improve interpersonal relationships.
What should someone know about working with you?
Much of therapy is pushing people out of their comfort zones. Clients bring difficult topics into therapy and they might be asked to engage in activities and discussions that make them feel uneasy. Therapy is most successful when there is collaboration between client and therapist—through a balance of empathy and encouragement, clients can achieve their goals. I picture myself as having an arsenal of tools that move from my hands to my clients’. I assist individuals in coping with their issues by encouraging them to directly experience what they have been avoiding instead of finding ways to escape it. By confronting thoughts or situations that were associated with distress, clients are able to experience the relief and understanding they lacked before.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I subscribe to the sentiment that “no man is an island, entire of itself”—meaning people thrive when they are part of a community. Throughout my training, I have met psychologists who were educated and trained in settings throughout the country—and I’m always in awe of how every person in the room can bring something different and enlightening to the discussion. For this reason, it’s important to me to continue working alongside peers and approach challenges through different and fresh sets of eyes.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Hesitation makes sense! We all have fears of the unknown. People who eventually get themselves to therapy have challenged any notions they previously held or were taught. It can be a leap of faith to trust a stranger with your secrets if you’ve lived your whole life believing that doing that was dangerous or taboo. Realizing you’d like to make a change in your life and pursuing that despite these fears is a strength. Together, we can discover how you envision your ideal life and make the changes to live more consistently in line with your values. While this journey may seem overwhelming, a warm and supportive environment can make it feel easier.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
My hope is that conversation about mental health is becoming more mainstream and therefore more normalized. When people who are highly admired—such as professional athletes and actors—publicly share their own struggles and success with seeking treatment, it helps lessen the taboo. Lifestyles that were previously pathologized are now no longer considered mental illnesses that need to be treated. The benefits of teaching mindfulness to young children are now being promoted in schools. People on the other side of the world can get specialty treatment via video therapy. I'm thrilled to see that mental health treatment is more often talked about and more easily accessible.
“By confronting thoughts or situations that were associated with distress, clients are able to experience the relief and understanding they lacked before.”