“I like to frame therapy as a space to navigate life’s transitions rather than focus on presenting problems.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Growing up in my West Indian family, I was told to “just pray” when things got tough. Having a mental health issue meant someone was “crazy” and therapy was only for the privileged. Throughout my teenage and college years, people always told me I was a great listener and good at giving advice, but I never thought about becoming a therapist. Personal experiences and situations led me to realize that life didn’t just get tough at times—there are often mental health issues that need to be addressed. In graduate school, I participated in an HRSA grant focused on primary and behavioral health integration. There, I learned the importance of managing both physical and mental health.
What should someone know about working with you?
I like to frame therapy as a space to navigate life’s transitions rather than focus on presenting problems. Life is full of transitions, whether that’s ending a relationship, starting a new one, drifting away from friends, graduating from college, starting a family, grieving the loss of a loved one, or managing finances between career shifts. During these times, clients might experience anxiety, depression, low motivation, or a number of other issues. I structure intake sessions from a client-centered, strength-based approach where I explore past and present challenges as well as existing supports, capacities, and coping skills. Through ongoing weekly sessions, I help my clients develop action plans to navigate the challenges of transition in order to live fulfilled and purposeful lives.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
My earliest experiences in mental health were as a social worker, working on interdisciplinary teams of primary care providers (PCPs), nurses, nutritionists, and psychiatrists at clinics. Because of this, I am very interested in the interplay between physical and mental health. In conducting an intake interview, I ask clients about their views or understanding of their own physical health, aside from the standard answers about past or current medical issues and medications. I am not afraid to seek consultation with a client’s PCP (with appropriate consent) as a way to develop a more thorough plan of action. In addition, I encourage clients to seek the guidance of dieticians and nutritionists because my personal belief is that food can be medicine.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
In a quote by Irvin D. Yalom, “As long as he denies his own agency, real change is unlikely because his attention will be directed toward changing his environment rather than himself.” I believe that we all have innate coping skills, strengths, and resiliency that help us navigate life’s transitions and overcome challenges. Often, when faced with challenges, we can become wrapped up in anger, fear, or worry—which can overtake our thinking and cause us to forget the challenges that we’ve overcome in the past. Therapy allows us to have a safe and judgment-free space to explore these challenges and rediscover our inner strengths and capacities—even if we can’t always change our immediate circumstances.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am very passionate about expanding access to mental health services for all people—especially people of color. I am very interested in movements and organizations—such as NAMI, Thrive NYC, and Therapy for Black Girls—that provide forums, training, and connections to therapy in ways that are culturally sensitive and that address the misconceptions about mental illness, the inability to pay for therapy, and limited mental health resources in low-income communities. Although it has been highlighted for a few years now, I am also interested in the trauma-informed schools model. As a social worker in an NYC public high school, I witness how trauma permeates all aspects of development, including the physical, emotional, and educational.
“I believe that we all have innate coping skills, strengths, and resiliency that help us navigate life’s transitions and overcome challenges.”