“Two of the greatest predictors of success in therapy are the therapeutic alliance (client-therapist relationship) and client motivation.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
My path to becoming a therapist was somewhat circuitous; I have long aspired to work in mental health but my path involved a few detours. Friction between my personal characteristics and beliefs and the values of the environment in which I was raised helped to deepen my empathetic capacity. It also motivated me to dedicate my life to helping others alleviate their pain and foster insight into their circumstances and selves. While experiences in other professional fields (e.g., the arts) help inform my therapeutic approach, they also served as reminders and reinforcements of my aspiration to become a therapist.
What should someone know about working with you?
Before setting up an initial appointment, I like to speak to potential clients on the phone to answer any questions they may have about working together, ask some screening questions, and hear about what led them to reach out. This also allows clients to start to get a sense of my approach and style. If we both want to move forward, the client will complete a couple of intake forms and we will schedule the initial appointment. The first few appointments are generally more focused on developing a deeper sense of who you are, your history, the current issues that you are experiencing, and the factors that may be influencing those issues. It is important to me to involve my clients in determining the direction of and approach to treatment. Client feedback is also an important component in fostering an optimal therapeutic dynamic with clients. I am passionate about working with LGBTQ+ clients, teens, and young adults, but I am comfortable working with clients of all ages.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
As a provider, it is important to be open to new information and research to continue to provide clients with competent services that will help contribute to their wellbeing. While continuing education courses and training help develop competencies around specific approaches, my work also grows through more informal means as well. Consultation and collaboration with other therapists and psychiatric providers allow alternative perspectives and insight to inform my work. Still, I would say that my experience working with clients is one of the most important resources in learning and building competencies. Clients have insight into emerging issues and experiences that may not be wholly researched as of yet, and striving to understand their lived experiences can help therapists grow as providers.
Will things get better? How will I know?
If you are currently reading this, you are likely experiencing acute or ongoing hardship that is complicating your ability to live as you would like to. On top of that, you’ve likely read through many provider profiles, which can be hard to parse, feel somewhat generic, and fall short of giving you a decent picture of what work with the provider might be like. You deserve some credit for getting this far; you are putting in the work to find a provider who can (hopefully) help you alleviate some of the hardship you are experiencing. Two of the greatest predictors of success in therapy are the therapeutic alliance (client-therapist relationship) and client motivation. Our work together will cultivate these therapeutic ingredients in hopes of facilitating growth and symptom relief. It may take some time to get there and untangle the thorny mess of oppression and trauma, but there is always some prospect of relief on the horizon.
“Our work together will cultivate these therapeutic ingredients in hopes of facilitating growth and symptom relief.”