“Being a therapist is a natural fit for me—as though I was meant for this work.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Being a therapist is a natural fit for me—as though I was meant for this work. Being able to use my natural capacity for empathy and intuition, combined with learned skills and knowledge, is immensely rewarding. As an undergrad, I studied art history, psychology, and urban studies. I have always had an innate curiosity in exploring the depths and experiences of humankind in a multitude of ways. After gaining experience in related career fields, I gravitated toward continuing my education and earned an MSW from Fordham University in 2005. Since then, I have enjoyed working with diverse clientele and providing mental health services in a variety of settings. Currently, I have a Brooklyn-based private practice, through which I continue to grow!
What should someone know about working with you?
After the initial intake session, I work with clients to determine areas for focus and growth. The structure of each session is dependent upon the needs and preferences of the client, as well as my instincts about what will be most helpful. Most often, I allow the client to direct our work toward areas they believe are in need of our attention. Other times, I am responsive to the need for guidance and I'm able to use my knowledge and intuition to provide direction that makes sense. I actively listen to concerns, while also observing emerging themes, so that I may share new perspectives and assist clients in gaining greater insight and practical skills. Clients can expect to feel valued and respected in my care.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I value clinical input and expertise from my colleagues. Sharing insight and knowledge keeps us sharp. Being a part of a community of mental health professionals also creates space for inspiration and creativity. I make efforts to stay informed about best practices and ensure that I am familiar with emerging topics in my field. Being able to provide quality care to clients includes being aware of additional resources that can help move clients closer to their goals. Therefore, knowing how and when to connect clients with additional support is crucial. I am also familiar with a variety of wellness practices and providers to help support clients in areas where they would like further progress.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
It’s understandable to be hesitant when trying something new—the human mind is wired for self-protection. Change can be a little scary, even if you recognize that it’s necessary and desired. Still, many people report that transformation began the moment they chose to care for themselves by engaging in therapy. Commitment to the process is necessary to gain the full benefits, so expecting to be challenged in new ways is definitely helpful. I believe that humans experience the most growth when they’re challenged in novel ways—most of the time they learn that they are more capable than they imagined. The fear slowly dissipates and is replaced with resilience, confidence, and inner peace.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am most excited about the destigmatization of mental health treatment and increasing access to quality care. It’s been wonderful to witness psychotherapy evolving into an inclusive practice that more and more people are embracing and utilizing. It seems that our society is evolving to a place where people can speak openly about mental health and their experiences with it. As more people open up about their personal challenges and willingness to deal with them in therapy, it invites others to also speak up and consider therapy as a pathway to greater life satisfaction. It is my belief that strength and bravery is less about keeping our feelings inside—and more about our ability to be vulnerable while allowing others to do the same.
“Clients can expect to feel valued and respected in my care.”
Interested in speaking with Shomari?