What is one thing that you have learned through your own therapy?
Through my own personal therapy, I have learned the importance of setting boundaries. Boundaries aren’t being “mean” or “too strict” with others. Healthy boundaries are simply a communication of how you want to be treated. It’s a way to show others how you value yourself.
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I became a therapist because I recognized that people in my life – even those I didn’t know very well – felt comfortable discussing their problems and concerns with me. I wanted to help people, but knew that I didn’t have the education to do so in the way that they might need. As I learned more as a therapist, my clients have inspired me to specialize in various areas of therapy, such as treating people who have experienced trauma and individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.
Is there an example from your daily life where you practice what you preach?
Absolutely! I am not immune to trauma just because I am a therapist. I have experienced trauma in my life and also identify as part of the LGBT community, so I have had to go through some of the same work as many of my clients are currently going through. Healing isn’t always a quick fix, sometimes it’s teaching yourself how to handle troubling situations in a healthier way – and sometimes that teaching happens daily.
If you hadn’t become a therapist, what profession would you have chosen and why?
Before I was a therapist I was an optician. I worked in the optical field for several years and very much enjoyed it, until I felt my calling to mental healthcare. If I hadn’t felt that calling, I would likely still be an optician.
How do you approach the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy?
I come from a family who did not believe in mental healthcare and therapy. It wasn’t until I was well into adulthood that I felt comfortable going to therapy, so I understand the stigma on a personal level. I can often relate to some of the fears that my clients and their families have about seeking help and, while I don’t experience that stigma internally anymore, I can relate to the process of how hard it sometimes is to seek help. When someone seeks help for their mental health, they are showing a tremendous amount of strength.
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.