“Therapy is a process of recalibrating your mind to operate the way you want it to.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I’ve always had a habit of diving into research for any problem I had. I struggled with anxiety and depression as a child, so I bought a three-volume biography of Sigmund Freud on eBay in sixth grade. From the moment I opened volume one on the day the books arrived, I was hooked on learning everything I could about the human mind, motivation, and happiness. I was so surprised that a man living at the beginning of the 20th century could have so much insight into the problems at the end of the century. The work that Freud began has been developing through more sophisticated tools for understanding the brain and mind. We have a tremendous amount of understanding today about how to maintain mental health, but as a field we don’t invest enough in preventative mental health, only starting therapy once a person is in crisis.
What should someone know about working with you?
I conduct a consultation with every client before beginning treatment to assess fit. Even the best therapist in the world will not match with every client. After the consultation, if we both agree that the match is a good one, we will get to work on the goals you have set. I only work with clients who have goals. Without goals, I see therapy as a waste of your time and even potentially harmful. Therapy is a process of recalibrating your mind to operate the way you want it to. No therapist in the world is qualified to tell you what is best for you. Goals direct the work to ensure therapy is in service of what you want for yourself.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
There is an old story about the blind men and the elephant. The moral of the story is that no one man could describe an elephant—each man was only able to use the data from the body part he was touching. I never want this old adage to apply to my practice, so I take a holistic approach to learning and collaboration. The mind influences the body and vice versa—fitness, sleep, and nutrition are all integral to mental health and hygiene. I seek out collaboration with experts from any field that offers a complementary knowledge base.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Try a session. That’s why I offer free consultations. I believe you should be able to experience a service before entering into a binding financial commitment. Every therapist and therapy style is different, so you should shop around and try different approaches until you find what works best for you.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
I founded and served as the inaugural editor-in-chief of 21st Century Social Justice, an academic social work journal published through Fordham University. I also write academic blog articles for Psychology Today. My experience as an editor and academic writer has given me an invaluable education in digesting and presenting research to a broader audience.