“Making the first step toward seeking therapy can be very daunting. Knowing that, I aim to create an environment where you can feel safe to explore your past and present challenges.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I was drawn to understand the reasoning of human existence in college, so I began studying philosophy. With time, I realized that I was more interested in the reasoning and complexity of human behavior, so I transferred to the psychology program. In my first year, I volunteered as an intern at one of the largest substance use treatment clinics in my home country, Turkey. By working with clients, I learned about the many different pathways to addiction recovery and the complexity of their struggles. I began to understand the link between substance use and mental health, and witnessed clients make meaningful changes while facing great difficulties. That experience reinforced my passion to support people who are struggling with their mental health.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
Making the first step toward seeking therapy can be very daunting. Knowing that, I aim to create an environment where you can feel safe to explore your past and present challenges, and work toward developing greater insight. I will meet where you are and look to understand your full story before exploring whatever it is that brought you to therapy. From there, we will establish meaningful and realistic goals to create a roadmap toward emotional wellbeing. My therapeutic style is warm, compassionate, and optimistic. I apply strengths-based and collaborative approaches while also incorporating themes of self-compassion and self-care into my work.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Outside of my practice at Alma, I work at a hospital where I collaborate with psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, and social workers on a daily basis. Access to a network of peers for collaboration is why I practice at Alma, and why I like working at a hospital. Collaboration is essential to offering the best possible care for clients, as it introduces new perspectives.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Aside from the stigma around mental health and difficulty accessing services, I believe the biggest barrier for people seeking therapy today is limited awareness surrounding mental health symptoms. They can be difficult to recognize, and people may dismiss their struggles as issues of personality or attitude. I hear people describe their depression as "feeling down," or their anxiety as "worrying too much." They assume that these experiences are hard to change, or attribute them to just being part of who they are. When we are not even aware of behavioral patterns that are not serving us anymore, it's unlikely that we will seek therapy.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Therapy is not about fixing. It is about change. You are not broken and therefore therapy does not “fix” you. It will help you better understand your thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behaviors that are no longer working for you. Therapy requires so much hard work and vulnerability, but the growth that comes from it is so worthwhile.
“Therapy requires so much hard work and vulnerability, but the growth that comes from it is so worthwhile.”
Interested in speaking with Sibel?