“In our work together, we’ll pinpoint when you need help from others, when and how you regulate your own inner conflicts and external difficulties, and what’s most effective for you.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
As an intern in college, I worked primarily as a counselor for severely mentally ill veterans. I became interested in the mental health functions associated with healing from emotional trauma in general, but also from wars specifically. During the AIDS epidemic, I worked on the frontline of child protection and became curious about the ways children respond to traumatic separations, which attracted me to developmental psychology. During and beyond my Master’s degree years, I continued to dedicate myself to working with children. I then trained in psychoanalysis and learned about the functions of the ego, its development, and the defense mechanisms we construct to preserve wholeness and connectivity. Now, I’m a psychodynamic psychotherapist and I integrate that approach with behavioral, motivational, short-term, and goal-focused facilitation.
What should someone know about working with you?
In our work together, we’ll pinpoint when you need help from others, when and how you regulate your own inner conflicts and external difficulties, and what’s most effective for you. I’m very observant and aware of anxiety, depression, triggers, and coping mechanisms (both behavioral and mental). Most behaviors are used by individuals to minimize emotional pain and discomfort. To best help each of my clients, I personalize treatment. Our work may be short term or long term, and it may include psychoeducation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and homework.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I value all sources of information and find that everyone who’s involved with a client is invested in their well-being, optimal functioning, and happiness. I am very comfortable collaborating—I’ve worked in hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, and social service agencies. I’ll never know all that I can possibly know or experience all that I can possibly experience, so a team approach is ideal. I believe that having several providers in a client’s corner helps them feel more confident.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
I’d encourage them to try therapy, then I would explore their reluctance without any judgment. Depending on what’s causing the reluctance or rejection, I will differentiate my approach. Some clients may be suspicious of their private information being revealed, or they think they’re self-sufficient and don’t need therapy. Others may have religious objections or believe that psychotherapy can’t be helpful. In any of these instances, I try to work with the resistance and gain an understanding of it from the client’s perspective. If the client is referred to me through a compulsory action, I’ll explore the impact of being “forced” into treatment. At all times, however, the client is ultimately in charge of deciding whether or not to continue therapy.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I am very interested in the potential impact of teletherapy. I believe that it can help therapists get a closer look at facial expressions and how congruent or incongruent they are with what the client is saying. I am a psychoanalyst, and as of right now, there’s no way to use teletherapy because the in-person aspect is vital. While I hope that teletherapy doesn’t cause the demise of psychoanalysis, I’m happy to know that more people will be able to access mental health treatment. Current regulations discourage psychoanalysis, and I worry that the practice will be limited to the very privileged. That said, I’m confident that academic interest in, research and publications about, and the practice of psychoanalysis will continue.
“I’ll never know all that I can possibly know or experience all that I can possibly experience, so a team approach is ideal.”