“Therapy allows emotions to be known and experienced to initiate change.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I’ve always found myself drawn to the unique stories that make up all of our lives. From a young age, I was curious about my friends’ feelings and actions, and about how emotions motivate behavior. Our emotions play such a big role in our lives, but they have so often been stifled, pushed down, or misunderstood by well-meaning others. As I got older, I learned about the field of psychology and fell in love with the many theories that explain human behavior, especially those that put emotions at the forefront and recognize how important they can be in determining our behaviors. I knew that if I could better understand these theories and the link between emotions and behavior, I could help others in a meaningful way. Therapy allows emotions to be known and experienced to initiate change.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I am a huge advocate for the people I see in my practice and believe that comes through in my ability to help my clients make the changes needed to improve their lives. My approach is tailored to who I see and I focus both on early childhood experiences as well as present day needs to come up with a comprehensive plan for treatment. While most of my work is a talk therapy approach, I also offer mindfulness based interventions including guided imagery into the treatment. I find these practices allow my clients the opportunity to commit to change and find solutions to problems in ways they hadn’t before. It also allows for the kind of deep relaxation we all want but have trouble accessing—and the control and clarity needed to move toward the lives they want.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Finding the right therapist can be challenging. But you don’t have to settle—there are so many different therapeutic techniques and therapists out there. Reach out to a few therapists and learn about their style and the techniques they use. I think it’s important to ask the therapist about the way they work, how long they envision the therapy taking, and anything else you need to know to determine if the therapist will get you where you want to be. You can always try one or two sessions with a therapist to see if it’s the right fit. While none of us want to have to try out tons of therapists, if we don’t find the right therapist the first time around, there will always be someone out there who is a better fit.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
Prior to becoming a licensed psychologist, I worked for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, leading large-scale initiatives to improve mental health care across the city. Through research examining the impact of these initiatives, I learned what clinicians wanted to change in their practices and how to help other clinicians become more motivated to make changes. As a result, I have become particularly interested in understanding how to help others implement change and I have carried this over into my own clinical work. I’ve found that taking a supportive, understanding, and confident stance—using techniques from my training in motivational interviewing—is the best way to foster the initiative individuals need to make change.
What do you like most about being a therapist?
I love to watch my clients tap into their own strengths and determination to achieve their goals. While clients often come to me at a loss and not knowing how to fix their problems, I find that deep down they know exactly what they need to change. I know the treatment is working when my clients feel confident listening to their own intuitions and moving past their fears to get what they really want. While many of us have well-meaning friends and family, they don’t always provide the type of non-judgmental support and encouragement we need to listen to ourselves. I am truly appreciative of having a job where I can provide that.
“I know the treatment is working when my clients feel confident listening to their own intuitions and moving past their fears to get what they really want.”