“I believe first and foremost in the importance of recognizing each person as a unique individual with his/her own history, strengths, conflicts, and aspirations.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I have been interested in the interaction between culture, mind, and body for a long time. I studied biology before entering the field of clinical psychology, and then realized that I was drawn to learning about people’s unique stories and doing what I could to help them over life’s hurdles. Over the course of my clinical training, I worked in many different settings, including a hospital, a behavioral health center, a jail, and two university counseling centers, which gave me humbling opportunities to work with people from all walks of life who struggled with diverse situations and challenges. I have also lived for extended periods of time in five countries besides the U.S.—Canada, Australia, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka—which has given me a lasting appreciation for the many ways that different cultural beliefs and expectations influence the way people think and behave.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe first and foremost in the importance of recognizing each person as a unique individual with his/her own history, strengths, conflicts, and aspirations. I provide a safe and comfortable space for you to talk freely about your problems without fear of judgment. In our first session, I try to get to know you so that I can understand your background and the way your life experiences have shaped who you are today. We will talk about what brings you to therapy and what you hope to achieve in therapy, and we will see if we are a good match. Over the next sessions, we will explore the challenges you face in your day-to-day life and how your habitual patterns of thinking and relating to other people might stand in the way of your happiness. We will work together to change patterns that you find unhelpful. I work best with people who are curious about themselves, who want to grow, and who want to experience a more fulfilling life.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I worked as a university professor for many years (most recently at NYU). The research I conducted on stigma and social support has made me see how important it is for people to have a space where they can talk about their experiences while knowing they will be respected and accepted for who they are. My recent research has been on the inner voices people hear when thinking, reading, or imagining what others might say to them. I have also studied auditory hallucinations, which can occur in people who do not have psychological difficulties as well as those who do. In addition, I have studied the difficult experiences people have when they are diagnosed with a life-threatening physical illness.
“I work best with people who are curious about themselves, who want to grow, and who want to experience a more fulfilling life.”