“My goal as a therapist is to help people work through difficult experiences, traumas, or symptoms that may be holding them back.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
From an early age, I noticed that I often played a therapist role with my friends. I enjoyed being a support system for others and helping them through difficult times in their lives. I realized how gratifying it would be to continue doing this as a career, and my experiences working with my clients have only affirmed this for me. My own experience coping with many moves and school changes as I was growing up led me down a path of working in college mental health, where individuals can face so many changes in their identities, relationships, and more. I believe that my own past experiences help me understand more deeply what others are going through in times of change and transition.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My goal as a therapist is to help people work through difficult experiences, traumas, or symptoms that may be holding them back. I believe that emotional pain can lead to anxiety, shame, and self-doubt. These feelings keep us stagnant and inhibit vital parts of who we are. I strive to help my clients develop more compassion and curiosity toward their experiences so they can learn new ways of coping and achieve greater self-confidence and authenticity. My style is warm and collaborative. I follow the client’s lead, but I take an active role in helping them achieve their goals and arrive at new insights. I try to be as transparent as possible about the therapy process and am always open to feedback from my clients.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
It’s pretty amazing how much stigma around mental health has decreased in recent years. However, we now face new barriers related to our increasingly digital world. I fear that people are becoming more lonely and disconnected as more and more of our interactions are taking place online. I imagine that the idea of sitting face to face with a therapist every week and sharing intimate thoughts may feel scary and overwhelming to a lot of people. I’ve noticed this to be especially true for the young adults I’ve treated. Nonetheless, once people are able to get over that initial barrier, they tend to find such relief in having that deeper connection and having a space where their feelings can be seen and validated—not just read through a screen.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I wish people knew that therapy has the power to change anyone’s life. I think a lot of people believe they need to have a certain severity of symptoms or problems to be “deserving” of help. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. As an old supervisor of mine used to say, “we all have too much baggage to fit in the overhead.” Therapy can help anyone deepen their relationships, achieve greater self-esteem and self-confidence, and experience more satisfaction in their lives. It’s never too late or too early to try it. With that said, therapy is a process and change doesn’t happen overnight.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy, what would they be and why?
I have been influenced by a myriad of books, chapters, and articles by psychodynamic and relational writers. One book I would recommend to people interested in the therapy process is “Schopenhauer’s Porcupines.” It includes vignettes from real therapy encounters and paints a vivid description of what the therapy process can be like. Aside from psychology books, I am always reading fiction. A psychology professor in college once told me that the best way to learn about people is to read fiction. I have found this to be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. I am particularly drawn to historical fiction, as I find it truly fascinating to learn about what life was like at different times and places in history.
“I wish people knew that therapy has the power to change anyone’s life.”