“My approach to psychotherapy is primarily practical in that I try to help my clients cope with the difficult emotions and challenges they face in the here and now.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
While I have always worked in helping roles, my path to becoming a therapist was a bit meandering. After graduating from Brown University in 1997, I joined the national teaching corps Teach for America and taught elementary school students in Upper Manhattan. I became more and more interested in children's social and emotional growth and decided to pursue a social work degree in 2003. While studying at Stony Brook University, I developed an interest in research, program development, and clinical social work and continued my education to complete a PhD in social welfare. I now work as an associate professor of human services and child and family studies at SUNY Empire State College. This balance of teaching and clinical practice has worked well for me over the last 10 years.
What should someone know about working with you?
My approach to psychotherapy is primarily practical in that I try to help my clients cope with the difficult emotions and challenges they face in the here and now. While past experiences certainly influence who we are and therefore, inform the therapeutic process, my clients can expect to use what they have learned from their pasts to become stronger now and in the future.
Part of this process involves acceptance, learning to accept ourselves and others at this moment while also making changes that will improve the quality of our lives and lead us toward growth. I strive to be compassionate and down-to-earth in all of my interactions with clients while encouraging positive change and growth.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Lifelong learning is a passion of mine; as an educator and therapist, I am so grateful for opportunities to learn and grow professionally. I'm also actively engaged in my own personal development through practicing mindfulness and learning new strategies to understand and manage emotions, which (I hope!) make me a more compassionate and effective therapist.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I have learned so much in recent years from Dr. Tara Brach's work on mindful acceptance and compassion and Dr. Kristin Neff's research on self-compassion. I hope to see these ideas become more mainstream in both psychotherapy and the broader culture, as I have experienced and witnessed how powerful they are in helping people achieve better emotional wellness.
“While past experiences certainly influence who we are and therefore, inform the therapeutic process, my clients can expect to use what they have learned from their pasts to become stronger now and in the future.”