“Having complicated emotions and struggles is normal. It is an aspect of life. But it’s best not to live with it alone.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I grew up in a situation where my mother was constantly ill and at an early age, I decided I should become a doctor. I had finished my premed courses and I took a small psychology class that the teacher ran as group psychotherapy. Suddenly, I found myself in a place where it was okay to have my feelings, as confused, painful, or overwhelming as they were. I could talk about them and I wasn’t alone in experiencing them! Others had similar feelings and I felt enormous relief. A new life emerged within me! I then knew I was going to be a different kind of doctor: A psychologist who helped people feel their feelings, talk about them, and work on them instead of suffering alone.
What should someone know about working with you?
I’ve been through a lot in my life, both personally and through the struggles of my family and friends. Most of us could say the same thing as having complicated emotions and struggles is normal; it is an aspect of life! But it’s best not to live with this all alone; it’s best to talk about struggles and share them with an ally who can help you figure things out, move on, and build a happy, productive, and enjoyable life. That is what psychotherapy is all about! After receiving my doctorate at Columbia, I received postdoctoral training at Yale and Cornell Medical Schools, followed by psychoanalytic training at the William Alanson White Institute. I have taught in the clinical psychology programs at Yale, Columbia, and Yeshiva Universities and I am currently on the postdoctoral faculty at the White Institute.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Every individual is unique and going to have unique reactions when different thoughts, feelings, and situations are presented to them. Collaboration with other colleagues can help us open our eyes and our feelings to aspects of a client that we were not aware of. For over 25 years, I met on a regular bi-weekly basis with four talented colleagues in a study group where we presented our work with different clients to each other. The more we talked about our work with clients, the more I learned about both my client and myself. The study group is one excellent way of collaborating but any way that you share your work with colleagues will help you to expand your awareness, share new experiences, and become a better psychotherapist.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
Teletherapy is opening a whole new world for many people; travel, distance, and scheduling aren’t big problems in the way of getting help. Talking online, from the comfort and privacy of your home, may be less intimidating than sitting in a waiting room and addressing personal, anxiety-ridden issues with a new person in a strange place. People are also realizing that having problems is normal and seeking help for them is a normal and energizing way to build a happier, better life.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
If everything was fine with your life, you wouldn’t be here online looking for therapists. Even more importantly, if everything was fine, you’d be an extremely rare and unusual person. Normal people have normal problems in life. Courageous people recognize that they would benefit by looking at their lives and building a better future. Why not give yourself the gift of self-discovery and the knowledge of how to live a happier life?
“Courageous people recognize that they would benefit from looking at their lives and building a better future.”