“What I’ve learned is that no matter where we’re from or what customs we follow, we all want to be accepted and valued.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Being culturally mixed and raised in two different countries sparked my curiosity about people, spiritual practices, and different cultures. I rebelled in my youth, but my own therapeutic journey fleshed out the need to belong. What I’ve learned is that no matter where we’re from or what customs we follow, we all want to be accepted and valued. At our core, we want to feel safe, secure, and understood for who we are. Holistic therapy serves as an offshoot of my core value — it culminated in deepening my studies of yoga, philosophy, and meditation and allowed me to learn from the visionary Deepak Chopra. I’ve integrated the best practices for healing by taking a mind-body approach.
What should someone know about working with you?
I believe the body keeps score. It does this by storing anxiety in its cells. That is why it’s so hard to change habits and feelings. Even when there’s an understanding of why we do what we do, it’s hard to break out of patterns. Whether there’s something that keeps you stuck or a series of heartaches, we’ll identify your goals and use a holistic lens to create space for healing. In a safe and confidential setting, you’ll become aware of and explore negative patterns while applying mindfulness techniques to create mind-body balance. This ultimately allows you to grow more comfortable in your own skin.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I often hear things like, “I don’t want to talk to a stranger” or “I already know what my issues are, but I haven’t felt good in years.” The idea of talking about your innermost thoughts and feelings can be scary. But think about therapy as an invitation to yourself to enter into a dynamic dialogue with another human who holds space for you without judgement or bias. Therapy is where you can let your hair down and be yourself without restriction or censure. Sometimes a crisis brings you into therapy, and other times the need to receive authentic feedback is the driving force. Whatever your reason, this is your opportunity to be seen, heard, and valued.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
We recognize that when the mind quiets down we heal. I’m excited about the cutting-edge research and science-backed studies on the power of meditation for mental health. This helps us make self-care part of mental health care. Up until now, we’ve not considered using our own anatomy to trigger healing; we’ve only been taught to look outside of ourselves, which leaves things to chance. There is information out there — volumes and volumes of it — yet anxiety is at an all-time high. Recent research proves we can use our own anatomy to disrupt anxious thoughts and negative emotions. In fact, we already know that change happens at the cellular level and impacts the brain-body connection. I’ve taken an active role in education, publication, and small and large group training to expand our understanding of who we are and how we heal.
What is one meditation tool you may use for anxiety relief in psychotherapy?
In an article published in chopra.com, I described the way thoughts and breath are connected. You’ve probably noticed that when you're feeling anxious and stressed out, your breathing becomes rapid and shallow, taking place in your upper chest. Mindfully directing the breath can trigger the brain to reduce the number of anxious thoughts and restore wellness in minutes. Scientific research shows that breath-based practices called pranayama, which translates into “life force,” stimulate the vagus nerve, which is the nerve that applies the brakes to the stress response system. A simple extended deep breath with a shorter inhale and a longer exhale may help create rapid relaxation and self-recovery. When the brain and body are in balance, it becomes easier to explore difficult topics without becoming flooded with emotion. More specifically, it creates new pathways to access your creative centers.
“Whether there’s something that keeps you stuck or a series of heartaches, we’ll identify your goals and use a holistic lens to create space for healing.”