“I have devoted my career to working with queer and POC communities and inviting folx into the fullness of their identities in my practice.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As a young and queer person of color, I never had mirroring or validation from my peers. The lack of folx who looked like me and had similar lived experiences as myself were sparse, leading me to creative fields that celebrated the emotion of the human spirit. A therapist once shared with me, “You are worthy and loved.” That transformed my perception of self and shifted my perception of my environment. This was the turning point that helped me bridge my connection with the arts into a career as a therapist. I have devoted my career to working with queer and POC communities and inviting folx into the fullness of their identities in my practice. I believe that therapy is a collaborative process that balances spaces of acceptance with behavioral change. This approach is grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), two specialties that have shaped my approach in therapy.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe that therapy is most effective in identifying shared goals in treatment, goals that are both attainable and measurable. Some folx come into therapy to identify goals; others have a specific event or life transition spurring them into action and treatment. After identifying collaborative goals in therapy, I usually begin a session with a check-in. This is followed by reviewing an emotional skill we worked on the previous week and orienting to a new skill based on the content of our session. Emotions, because they are internal, can be murky and tough to access; building structure in sessions can help to balance our work and make these emotional states accessible. Problem-solving is part of our work, but I believe that you are the expert in your own life and I am here to support your autonomy and self-determination. From there, we’ll identify the blind spots and obstacles that may get in the way of where you want to be.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My identity has shaped my approach as a therapist. Growing up as a third-culture kid with Asian and Middle Eastern parents in America informed my commitment to an anti-racist and affirming approach to therapy. I went into this field to offer creative spaces for folx outside of the cis/het spaces that have historically occupied positions of power in the therapy room. Many of my clients have found solace in the safer spaces I have attempted to create in the literal or virtual room we occupy. I am thrilled to be a part of Alma, which helps folx who look like me access therapy with less financial strain. I believe that mental health should be a right rather than a privilege, and I take a strengths-based approach in working with clients to reach our identified goals. I love working with queer and POC folks, as my practice is also rooted in anti-racism work and challenging heteronormativity.
“I believe that therapy is a collaborative process that balances spaces of acceptance with behavioral change.”