“My own experiences with meditation and mindfulness over the last fifteen years have shaped my approach to pain and suffering”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My desire to support others feels nearly as old as I am. I have been fortunate to serve in counseling roles since graduating from high school. I come from a family affected by chronic illness and I have a strong interest in the environmental factors, policies, and structures that influence the illness experience and narrative. Ultimately, I chose to study public health and social work at Columbia University through a dual degree initiative. This allowed me to pursue my passion of providing stigma-free, compassionate support to people with mental and physical illnesses and chronic pain. My own experiences with meditation and mindfulness over the last fifteen years have shaped my approach to pain and suffering, and it is a joy to collaborate with my clients on building meaningful lives.
What should someone know about working with you?
My treatment style is highly individualized. We take plenty of time in our first sessions to ensure you feel truly heard and comfortable. Rushing toward solutions before establishing a strong alliance helps no one, and I encourage my clients not to feel pressured to divulge difficult details before feeling authentically connected to me. Together, we safely discuss your history, past and present experiences, and goals. My clinical practice style is eclectic, influenced by attachment-oriented, accelerated experiential-dynamic psychotherapy, psychodynamic, and cognitive behavioral modalities. I have a special interest in working with people of all ages who are experiencing chronic illness and pain, as well as with emerging adult women. I frequently utilize mindfulness and meditation with clients.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
Integrated, multi-disciplinary teams can be very important in psychotherapy, particularly when working with people experiencing complex health issues. At times, I will collaborate with or refer a client to a psychiatrist, neurologist, neuropsychologist, sleep specialist, pain management physician, nutritionist, or other relevant provider. I believe in first ruling out physiological causes for distress when possible. I also believe strongly in the importance of collaboration and ongoing dialogue in pursuit of improving and learning as a clinician. I regularly engage in peer supervision with colleagues and work with a professional mentor who has forty years of experience as a clinical psychologist.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I would acknowledge the difficulty and delicacy of taking the first steps towards establishing a relationship with a therapist. I encourage you to speak with multiple providers so that you find one you feel at ease with. The therapeutic relationship is a more powerful transformative tool than any particular therapeutic modality. Once we meet, I might ask us to take a look at what comes up as a potential barrier or concern. We can explore whether this hesitation is serving a function, perhaps to protect or insulate. Humans are highly adaptive beings, and much of why we seek treatment has actually developed over time as a protective mechanism. As such, people must be honored and respected rather than attacked.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am thrilled by the increasing interest in treating chronic pain from a multi-faceted, holistic, and biopsychosocial perspective rather than relying only on medical interventions. Pain is a dynamic, neuropsychological process and the definition of pain is shifting away from a static, immutable, and falsifiable reality. Interdisciplinary fields now recognize the immense impact of environmental and internal variables on one’s experience of pain and illness. It is possible to live a worthwhile life with chronic pain, and there are elements of our experiences with pain that we can control, even if we cannot eliminate it altogether.
“I have a special interest in working with people of all ages who are experiencing chronic illness and pain, as well as with emerging adult women.”