“Everyone negotiates the stresses of daily life—and therapy can help us all lead fuller, more intentional lives.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My dual interests in healing and in helping others tell their stories have been with me my whole life. I pursued my graduate work in mental health as a way of incorporating both into my career. My early work focused on addiction and recovery—a context where I witnessed the powerful impact of therapeutic personal narrative work. Since then, I’ve broadened my therapeutic practice through the study of medicine, nutrition, yoga, and mindfulness. A core tenet of my practice is that the body and mind exist as parts of a single, dynamic, bidirectional system and have a great influence on each other. Thanks to the breadth of my training, I am able to provide a holistic set of tools for my clients to address their struggles and attain their fullest potential.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
In our first meeting, I’ll start by learning what you’re experiencing and what you’re seeking from therapy. My focus will be on creating a welcoming space for you to share. As I better understand your unique needs, we’ll further explore techniques for healing and growth, including traditional psychotherapeutic tools, health and wellness interventions, and holistic practices. These techniques may include CBT and talk therapy; reviewing your exercise, nutrition, and sleep hygiene; and exploring mindfulness practices like meditation, visualization, or breathwork. We’ll also identify how social systems—family, culture, identity, and socioeconomics—affect your well-being. In parallel to addressing your immediate difficulties, we’ll unearth underlying root causes in order to ensure your results are sustainable—and that they help you achieve not only the absence of suffering, but also positive self-actualization. Along the way, I’ll seek your feedback to ensure our approach is tailored to meet your needs.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try therapy?
Some people hesitate to seek help because they don’t want to acknowledge that they’re struggling, or they think their issues aren’t “serious enough.” Unfortunately, avoiding therapy often leads us to detrimental habits. These unconscious coping mechanisms and other “quick fixes” might help you get through moment-to-moment discomfort, but they do little to address underlying issues. When mental health needs go unaddressed, they can also begin to crop up in physical forms (called somatization) or affect our interpersonal relationships. Everyone negotiates the stresses of daily life—and therapy can help us all lead fuller, more intentional lives.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
While ancient wisdom has long professed the connection between mind, body, spirit, and community, recent research has begun to reinforce our understanding of these interrelationships. Epigenetic research is demonstrating how our environment, lifestyle factors, stress levels, and emotions can influence our gene expression in ways that promote either health or disease. Clinical trials in psychedelic-assisted therapy are currently underway and show promise for treating a variety of mental health disorders. A new attention to the microbiome has advanced our knowledge of the gastrointestinal system’s role in mood regulation, immune response, and other areas of health. By recognizing the role of diverse internal (mind, body, spirit) and external (social, environmental) factors in treatment, we can more effectively manage our health and well-being.
How does meditation and mindfulness factor into your therapeutic process?
Modern society bombards us with signals that stimulate our wants—both material and immaterial—as we live in a culture that exacerbates our feelings of separateness from others. While traditional psychotherapeutic practice can help us unpack our feelings and identify the sources of our pain, it has limitations in addressing these more existential conditions. Eastern traditions have long employed meditation to reduce yearnings and reawaken a connection with the universal collective spirit. Complemented by healthy breathing techniques, meditation is an effective tool for improving mood, reducing anxiety, finding mental clarity, and processing and accepting the paths of our lives.
“A core tenet of my practice is that the body and mind exist as parts of a single, dynamic, bidirectional system and have a great influence on each other.”
Interested in speaking with Reena?