“I will establish a safe place that allows clients to reflect and problem-solve without judgment—a place where they can be themselves.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I’ve always had a passion for helping people overcome challenging life circumstances. That passion led me to the study of human behavior in a quest to understand why we do what we do—and to become more efficient in fulfilling my life calling. I began my career assessing and counseling college-bound students with physical challenges. I then worked in an outpatient psychiatric day treatment program, providing individual and group psychotherapy to individuals with persistent mental illness and substance use disorders. For several years, I directed programs providing supportive counseling services to the homeless or formerly homeless, guiding them through a plethora of mental health issues. I have experience working with adults, children, and couples—and I’ve seen firsthand how resilient the human spirit is.
What should someone know about working with you?
I consider it an honor and a privilege when a client affords me the opportunity to be a part of their life. It is an awesome responsibility—one that I don’t take lightly. To me, the therapeutic alliance is a key component in effecting change. It is based on warmth, compassion, understanding, honesty, and trust. I will establish a safe place that allows clients to reflect and problem-solve without judgment—a place where they can be themselves. I believe clients are the experts in their lives. They know what they think and feel. My role is to guide them as they uncover behavioral patterns developed because of long-held beliefs and attitudes. Once that is achieved, we can begin the hard but noble work of creating lasting change.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
"No man is an island." I have a holistic approach to mental health, which requires collaboration with other healthcare providers. Therefore, I will refer a client whenever a need arises that is beyond my scope of practice and will collaborate with that professional to ensure the best possible care is given. Clients’ information will always be kept in the highest degree of confidence.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
There is nothing more precious than life—it’s a gift. And we are all on a journey toward enlightenment. No matter your situation, there is always hope. We can grow, adjust, develop, and evolve to a place of wellness. Engagement in a comfortable, meaningful therapeutic alliance based on trust, honesty, warmth, and compassion can be a vehicle to effect change on the road of life. Simply put, therapy can help one experience a substantially more rewarding existence. The steps we take and the choices we make truly matter. I would encourage people who are hesitant to engage in psychotherapy to evaluate what is and what is not working in their lives, give themselves the gift of self-enlightenment, and experience living in a new way.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I am a firm believer in Adlerian psychology, also known as individual psychology. Alfred Adler highlighted the importance of feelings of inferiority in the formation of personality. His concept of the “inferiority complex” is recognized as an element that plays a key role in personality development. He theorized that everyone experiences a sense of inferiority during childhood and strives to overcome the feelings of inadequacy by developing defense mechanisms designed to hide or mask those feelings. Those masks can give rise to maladaptive behaviors that have an adverse effect on our interactions with others in society. I believe insight acquired from an understanding of those underlying mechanisms can help us successfully address our challenges and free us to lead more rewarding and meaningful lives.
“No matter your situation, there is always hope.”