“I believe that therapy should be tailored to the presenting problems, so, throughout the years, I have trained in multiple modalities, including acceptance and commitment therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, and schema therapy.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I love the process of helping people connect with their deepest values and make choices that are consistent with their values. By values, I’m referring to action-oriented directions, such as loving, giving, connecting, healthy risk taking, and more. I believe that therapy should be tailored to the presenting problems, so, throughout the years, I have trained in multiple modalities, including acceptance and commitment therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, and schema therapy. Some problems—such as OCD—can be treated effectively using cognitive behavioral therapy, while others—such as relationship difficulties—are better addressed using emotion-focused therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Training in all of these modalities gives me tools to better serve a wide range of clients.
What should someone know about working with you?
I view my work with clients as an ongoing collaboration in creating a life that is rich in meaning and purpose. During the intake, I’ll inquire about life history, motivation for pursuing therapy, current symptoms, and long-term goals. During the following sessions, we’ll explore the barriers to living the life that you want, which often includes recognizing any negative self-assessments that encourage inaction and depression. I will then lead you through different exercises inspired by schema therapy—a modality with the goal of healing old wounds and freeing you to make healthier choices on the path to living a more fulfilling and satisfying life.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I am open to collaborating with other professionals who are working with my clients. I find this particularly important when working with clients who are taking psychotropic medications and dealing with adverse side effects. In these instances, I help clients weigh the pros and cons of taking medications and making choices that balance different needs. If my client and their psychiatrist don’t see eye to eye, talking to the psychiatrist and advocating for the client can be especially helpful. Lastly, in my work with couples, I offer to talk to their individual therapists if I believe this can move the process forward.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Starting therapy can be scary because it involves acknowledging unhappiness in life. When people come to therapy, they often have an idea of what they should work on, but more often than not, they don’t want to act on it. Even in the presence of suffering, letting go of a job or a relationship that isn’t working can be very hard since we are wired to form attachments—both healthy and unhealthy. Therefore, I invite clients to let go of any assumptions and focus instead on becoming curious about and giving voice to every aspect of who they are. This will lead to the gradual development of a healthy inner leader that can help the client contain fearful and impulsive patterns and become unstuck.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
The movement in the last few decades toward inclusion and synthesis of different modalities has resulted in new therapies, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and schema therapy. I find this to be both exciting and useful. Loyalty to one modality or another has not been helpful to clients whose issues are more complex. Moreover, these new models are often evidence-based and, as such, offer interventions that work and encourage progress. Another exciting new direction is the increasing acceptance of fluid gender identity, and rising beyond limited and limiting definitions.
“I invite clients to let go of any assumptions and focus instead on becoming curious about and giving voice to every aspect of who they are.”