“Having space for exploration and self-discovery helped me in more ways than I can describe, and I want my clients to have that same experience.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My path to becoming a therapist began during high school, when I was learning about my own sexuality and the different challenges of the coming out process. I found it difficult to discuss with friends, and even more so with family. It was then that I became interested in therapy, and the idea of having a space to truly speak your mind and be open about parts of yourself that you want to better understand. That safe space is something that many of my clients want to find, regardless of their goals in coming to see me. Having space for exploration and self-discovery helped me in more ways than I can describe, and I want my clients to have that same experience.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
The first therapy session can be very daunting. Prior to that, we'll have a quick phone call where I'll ask about what you want to work on. You'll also have the opportunity to ask me questions about my practice, or anything else that might make you feel more comfortable. I have worked with clients seeking support for social anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness, as well as clients who simply want to become mindful and gain deeper insight into their life.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
My graduate studies and my work at Mount Sinai have brought me in close contact with other therapists, physicians, and psychiatrists whose specializations range from addiction-related medication management and LGBTQ+ issues, to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and other evidence-based methods. I'm in close contact with those colleagues and work with an independent supervisor to ensure that I am offering the best possible care for my clients. Collaborating with colleagues has allowed me to learn from other practitioners, especially those with different cultural backgrounds, and develop a multicultural competency.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
Harry Stack Sullivan’s The Psychiatric Interview was one of the first books I read that made me truly passionate about therapeutic work. Sullivan’s approach to therapy fascinates and influences me to this day. While this book was written long before our field began to stress the importance of culture and evidence-based practices, Sullivan, who was believed to be bisexual and lived at a time when he would have been discredited if that were to become public knowledge, believed that finding understanding and connection with clients could be a curative factor in and of itself. The idea that an interpersonal connection can have a positive effect on the individuals who experience it is a very basic yet powerful therapeutic principal, and one that has greatly influenced my approach to therapy.
Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting and how has that informed your practice today?
Much of my research-based work has focused on a model for understanding interpersonal behavior (Wiggins, 1996). Clinically, I was very interested in how to use this model when working with clients who felt that they had more difficulties in social interactions than their peers. Understanding how people interact, how their personalities match, and validating that this can be a source of discomfort in all kinds of interpersonal relationships has been helpful when discussing such concerns with my clients, especially in couple’s counseling. Having an understanding of the research behind many of the topics I discuss with my clients makes me more adept at tailoring treatment to allow them to better understand and manage any issues they might have.
“Having an understanding of the research behind many of the topics I discuss with my clients makes me more adept at tailoring treatment.”