“Goal setting is an ongoing part of my work with clients and is a collaborative process. I tend to take a holistic approach with clients, addressing the interconnectedness of one’s body and mind.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My father, a psychologist specializing in CBT encouraged talking through any issues and
helped to grow my emotional vocabulary. I recognize that this is a unique experience,
and it’s an experience I hope to help create with my clients. Working in outpatient rehabs
is where my passion for helping individuals struggling with substance use really began. It
became clear that the substances were a way to self-medicate anxiety, stress, mood
disorders, relationship problems, and other emotional and behavioral problems. While
working at rehabs, I realized the friends and family of those struggling with substance
use were often afterthoughts in the process. Family support was a key aspect that was
missing, so I became trained in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)
to help these loved ones play a role in recovery. Helping individuals learn, heal, and
grow is a deeply fulfilling experience for both myself, and the client.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
In the first session it’s important to get an understanding of what the client is looking for
in therapy, and whether they have been in therapy in the past. I see myself as multi-
theoretical, grounded in evidence-based practice and work to understand which modality
is in the best interest of the client. I take a holistic approach, addressing the
interconnectedness of one’s body and mind. Goal setting is an ongoing part of my work
with clients and is a collaborative process. I’m happy to help the client find a psychiatrist
if they want to explore medication, and support medicated assisted treatment, with
collaboration between the prescriber and me. It’s important to create a safe space in the
first session to set the tone for future sessions, and my sense of humor helps my clients
feel comfortable and at ease.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
I believe the stigma still exists and gets in the way of people reaching out for help. Many
individuals are brought up in environments where they are conditioned to repress their
feelings, not share their experiences, and not ask for help. The stigma associated with
substance use disorders is rooted in unnecessary shame and the shifting levels of
motivation to change holds people back from seeking care. Traditional addiction
treatment is based on an abstinence-based model, and if someone is ambivalent to that,
and has a desire to explore using patterns, it’s difficult for them to know where to start.
All of this is why it’s so important for me to foster a therapeutic relationship where the
client feels free to be honest and open with their experience, share what’s working and
what isn’t working, and ultimately become autonomous.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
The therapy experience is unlike any other, free of judgment, bias, or outside influences.
It is an opportunity for the clients to focus only on themselves and become more self-
aware. Clients have the intrinsic ability to heal and grow, but sometimes needs someone
to help them become their best selves (and it’s okay and extremely admirable to ask for
help)! As a therapist I help facilitate the process of change and help the client stay
focused on what they want to work on in the present moment. We will collaborate to
create this change through insight and effective coping skills to improve quality of life
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
The budding emphasis on the idea of wellness is creating a dialogue about mental
health in society that has never been present before. People from varying backgrounds
are openly talking about their mental health, what has worked for them, how they
engage in self-care, and even share struggles in their journey. This excites me because
the idea of treating emotional problems has become so much more than the image of an
analyst sitting behind a patient who is lying down on a couch. We are bringing more
modalities into the therapeutic process than ever before, which allows us to address the
individual holistically and work with multicultural issues effectively. The passion to
destigmatize mental health is something I think most professionals in the field share, and
to see it happening, slowly but surely, makes it an exciting time in the mental health
“The stigma associated with substance use disorders is rooted in unnecessary shame and the shifting levels of motivation to change holds people back from seeking care.”