“Therapy helps us to better understand ourselves, which in turn makes us more confident and resilient in the face of hardship.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Therapy has been a normal part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad passed away from cancer when I was very young, and my mom arranged for my family to see a therapist after he was diagnosed. As I got older, I realized that my experience with human hardship and resiliency could be used to help others move through the challenges that life will inevitably bring. Therapy helps us to better understand ourselves, which in turn makes us more confident and resilient in the face of hardship. I found that therapy allowed me to experience life in a more fulfilling way, and I want the same for my clients.
What inspired you to choose this profession?
I recognized that I was passionate about holistic health and wellness, and saw mental health as a way to better understand the whole person. Learning how to navigate our thoughts and emotions helps us to be more productive, live according to our values, and maintain a joyful and healthy life. Creative flow, movement, mindfulness, and nature can be powerful methods of healing, especially when integrated with the personal insight that traditional therapy brings. Ultimately, identifying my own values and building the confidence to align myself with those values allowed me to find meaningful work: therapy. Working with clients energizes me and aligns with who I am. I became a therapist, in part, to help others experience the same sense of fulfillment and alignment.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My goal for our first session is that you will leave feeling a little lighter and more hopeful than when you first came in. Once you have a sense of what you’d like to accomplish in therapy, we’ll build a roadmap to get you there, and help you find peace along the way. Your original goals may end up changing over time, and that’s okay too! I believe that you already have everything you need inside of you; my job is to help you gain access to that wisdom through deepening your understanding of who you are and what gives your life meaning, and empowering you to take action.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Cost, stigma, and client-provider fit are all barriers. I also believe that a lot of people don’t seek therapy because they don’t recognize that they are worthy of it. Therapy is an investment in yourself and in your future — it allows you to live a fuller, more engaged life. With that said, I do recognize that therapy can feel like a luxury. As a provider, I do what I can to help my clients pay for therapy, whether through their health insurance provider or by negotiating sliding scale rates.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
The field of therapy, which was originally created by white men to help women, is evolving to include open, progressive, and diverse approaches that are ultimately more effective when treating people of different races, ethnicities, gender identities, and sexual orientations. There has also been a shift in our culture that impacts the way we view gender, challenging what it means to be masculine or feminine. The narrative around gender norms is being disrupted, which, in turn, is encouraging more men to acknowledge their emotions and seek help instead of suffering silently due to long-held ideas of what it means to "be a man."
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
One of my favorite parts about being a therapist is that it’s a never-ending journey of learning and self-discovery. I am constantly devouring books about different areas of psychology, which help me to evolve as a human being and a therapist, and influence my approach with my clients. I love any book about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT involves separating yourself from your thoughts, practicing the art of acceptance, and working toward a life of meaning and fulfillment, which are all at the core of my approach. I am also a huge fan of Brene Brown, and love her concept of “wholehearted living” from Daring Greatly, which focuses on owning our stories and finding the courage to be vulnerable — it’s what therapy is all about!
“Learning how to navigate our thoughts and emotions helps us to be more productive, live according to our values, and maintain a fulfilling and healthy life.”