“Living through traumas in child and early adulthood made me curious about people and the “whys” of life.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a counselor has been full of firsthand experiences. Living through traumas in child and early adulthood made me curious about people and the “whys” of life. For example, “why do people fight?” and “why does poverty exist?” Going to college was helpful, as it gave some language to my lived experiences and doing community work felt natural and gratifying. But I grew to understand the limitations of this work and searched for another way to be a helper. I recalled the moral of the story about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man to fish and I realized my true calling: I needed to become a therapist. Recently, I have focused my counseling work on healing around social injustices. It’s not meant to be race-specific; I believe we all benefit when learning and growth is pursued.
What should someone know about working with you?
I tend to be relational in my approach, taking care and time to really get to know clients and allowing space for clients to ask me questions and get to know things about me. I use integrative methods with an emphasis on narrative and Adlerian therapies. I believe goals are a must, as we all have to have some direction on our journeys. Depending on the need and stage of change, I invite clients to partake in homework. If they cannot or decline, I ask them to think about what that means to them. My personality is light and engaging.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I value diversity of thought. I think clients benefit most when providers collaborate around care, as no one piece of care is a full cure. I’ve always worked on multidisciplinary teams and it was the single thing I most feared losing when moving into a sole provider practice. Through local groups, I keep current with and involved in ongoing discussions and I have a volunteer supervisor while I look to secure someone permanently.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
My advice is to name what your hesitation is about. Some things are part of being human, like feeling nervous about vulnerability. Other things might be more specific, like having a bad experience or being part of a culture where it’s not acceptable to seek therapy. Getting clear on the why is the first step. Second, I suggest exploring many profiles online and creating a list of things that are desirable in a therapist, like specialty, affordability, and location. Once you feel ready to reach out to providers, make your hesitations known. I think any therapist would like the opportunity to provide reassurance and, if there is a reason they’re not a good fit, provide a referral.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about the new attention to cultural and social injustices. It is exhilarating that so many people, both clients and colleagues, want to have these difficult conversations. Counseling as a profession has significant limitations in regards to the available training that covers these deeper issues. But it appears the dial is moving a bit, thankfully. I’m also excited about new delivery systems. While I was reluctant to do telehealth at first, I now realize how valuable it can be.
“I believe goals are a must, as we all have to have some direction on our journeys.”