“I feel it is an immense privilege and honor to have a glimpse into people’s lives and to sit with an individual’s raw emotion and pain.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I grew up in a small neighborhood in Pennsylvania and attended Barnard College where I majored in psychology and English. My desire to try to help others drove my pursuit of a higher education in psychology, and I received my PsyD from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology in the Bronx, New York. As a psychologist, I have worked in various settings, ranging from community mental health clinics to a fully adherent dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) private practice, working with adolescents, adults, and families. I have specialized training in teaching emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness skills. I feel it is an immense privilege and honor to have a glimpse into people’s lives and to sit with an individual’s raw emotion and pain. I have made it a constant goal to have a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of my clients and their surroundings so that I can help them through the prism of collaboration and humility.
What should someone know about working with you?
I send clients paperwork to fill out, focusing on demographics, education, occupation, and other background information along with questions about current mood and functioning. I review the intake paperwork with each client during the first session, and then we discuss general goals for therapy. The first session allows me to gain information about what every client would like to focus on, so we can work together to help them toward his/her/their short and long-term goals and values. Over the course of therapy, I periodically send clients short questionnaires to fill out in order to measure progress, and I regularly check in with clients on whether sessions are meeting their goals. I generally take a present-oriented and problem-solving approach to therapy and use CBT, DBT, ACT, and mindfulness-based theoretical models. I often give homework to clients, focusing on the particular goals and needs of each client within the framework of those models.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
I regularly consult with other psychologists and mental health practitioners, because I value learning from other perspectives to help enhance my therapeutic approach. Every practitioner has a unique lens and educational background that can add dimension and objectivity to my therapeutic work. Additionally, I regularly read textbooks and enroll in workshops and seminars focusing on modern therapeutic approaches, so that I can keep up-to-date with current and ever-evolving research, applying it to my work. I have read textbooks and have taken intensive workshops on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). I plan on continuing to take workshops and read textbooks on these topics, and I am planning on pursuing more training in trauma and couples therapy moving forward.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
My academic background, values, and life experiences have taught me that I am a product of relationships, biological predispositions, behaviors, heritage, culture, and systemic societal influences. My professional experiences in the New York and New Jersey areas have provided me the opportunity to work with clients of various races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and religions. Given the inherent complexity of every individual, the main principle that guides all of my therapeutic work is establishing a therapeutic relationship that is nonjudgmental and collaborative. Additionally, recognizing my own biases is an important aspect of treatment with every client I work with, so that each client can be motivated to enhance his/her/their wellbeing within his/her/their socioeconomic, cultural, and religious framework.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited that there is a larger focus on mental health in the country and the world at large, given the significant impact mental health has on an individual’s daily life. There are more resources being allocated to develop empirically-validated research and various therapeutic programs. Additionally, given the more pervasive use of telehealth, more individuals are able to access care in remote areas where therapy has not been previously accessible or utilized. Telehealth enables therapists to use technology to help track progress and spread research findings via video and app platforms, offering a way to enhance therapeutic outcomes. There are many exciting changes in the mental health world of which I feel very fortunate to be a part!
“I have made it a constant goal to have a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of my clients and their surroundings so that I can help them through the prism of collaboration and humility.”