“Life is full of ups and downs. Therapy is an invaluable tool for navigating the turbulent times we encounter in society, at work, in our relationships, or when we are alone. It provides a safe space where we can better understand ourselves and embrace our experience. A space where we can start to take positive risks with our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.”
From your perspective, what is therapy?
Life is full of ups and downs. Therapy is an invaluable tool for navigating the turbulent times we encounter in society, at work, in our relationships, or when we are alone.
It provides a safe space where we can better understand ourselves and embrace our experience. A space where we can start to take positive risks with our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.
Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room so that I can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.
Parts work: Humans are multifaceted beings. Different parts of our personality have evolved over time. Sometimes these parts want different things, which can create distress. Have you ever heard someone say, “one part of me thinks or feels like this, but another part of me wants that?” Or, when you send a text to someone you like, and immediately an inner voice says what you wrote was “dumb, too much, etc.” In session we take time to learn more about these different internal dialogues–where they came from, what they need, and what they provide. Developing a relationship to the different parts of our personality can promote self-compassion and provide clarity about our wants and needs.
Somatic awareness: Often when clients tell me about an emotionally charged situation, I will ask them to pause and search for any physical sensations that accompany this experience. Sometimes, becoming aware of those sensations takes practice in and outside of therapy. Over time, learning about our physical sensations (or somatic markers) during heightened emotional states enables us to respond to a situation from a place of conscious choice instead of reacting automatically.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
Working from a place of empowerment, my approach is informed by attachment theory, and the mind-body connection.
A) Empowerment: I believe we all have unique strengths to leverage in achieving our goals. Therapy can be challenging work. Insight and awareness are important steps on the journey since they help us make new choices, but at the end of the day we are responsible for taking action–even the tiniest of efforts add up to something big. You may or may not believe you can change now, but you can become “unstuck.” As your therapist, my job is to hold out that hope for you, even when it’s difficult to sustain it for yourself. Hope is what keeps us going when things get tough.
B) Attachment: The basic human condition is to search for safety and connection in relationships. It is an evolutionary means of survival that has been programmed into our DNA. As children, we need to experience a sense of consistency in our relationships to make us feel safe. We need to be seen emotionally, to experience the feeling that someone “gets us.” We need to know that when we are distressed, there is someone there who can help us calm down. And we need to have the experience that those close to us will celebrate our spontaneous behaviors and achievements. As adults, we may or may not have experienced some or all of these attachment needs. Unmet attachment needs can shape the way we show up in our relationships (e.g., how secure or anxious we feel, or our ability to communicate feelings) and impact our physical health (e.g., increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol). At its core, therapy is about getting in touch with these needs.
C) Mind-body connection: When it comes to our emotional lives, Western ideologies have historically portrayed the body and brain as two separate worlds. We are socialized to understand our feelings cognitively versus experiencing them somatically. Affective neuroscience and research on the impacts of trauma now show us that the body holds critical information about our emotional experience. In therapy we can learn how to become more aware of our bodily sensations as important aspects of our mental health, and use that information on a path towards healing.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I believe that we need to develop an authentic relationship for therapy to be impactful. While I will probably not discuss many things about my personal life, I do share what my experiences are like being with you as we develop our own connection. Sometimes I will share my thoughts about something you said. Other times, I will make an observation about interactions that take place between us–how things felt from my end, inviting you to do the same.
How participatory are you during sessions?
All relationships are unique and different. Some clients have a history of being intruded upon or dominated, while others have been ignored and left in the cold. Each of these people need a different type of contact based on their experiences. Part of our work together is learning how much contact you would like, what that means to you, and how it is similar or different from your other relationships.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
If you feel like assignments will help you take our work into your day-to-day life, we will make that happen!
If I have never been to therapy before, what should I expect? How do I know if I should go, and how do I start?
Therapy is a place where you have someone in your life that is there for you in a different way than the outside world. Someone whose main job is learning about you and your needs. Therapy is also a big commitment, but it’s a commitment to yourself. Normally people have no issue with going to the doctor or dentist to take care of their physical health. Mental health is just as important for us to thrive.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
The great thing about therapy is that we get to explore our reactions to others in a different way. With family, friends, and neighbors you may react to certain situations without the opportunity to process what happened in an emotionally safe way. In therapy, our relationship has different boundaries than those you would have with the outside world. Those boundaries create unique experiences and opportunities to learn about ourselves.
Is there ever a time when you would encourage me to leave or graduate? Or how do I know when it’s time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?
Sometimes we experience slow or quiet phases in therapy. Like life, that’s normal, and we can learn how to be with it. If the work feels stagnant for an extended period of time, we should probably talk about what you want to get out of the experience, and review the progress you have made in our time together.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
Prior to becoming a therapist, I worked as an organizational development consultant in the non-profit sector. My training in social psychology focused on conflict and group process, including unconscious behaviors, how social identity influences access to authority, and the roles people play in groups. I have worked with over 30 organizations across the US. Often my projects include executive coaching, board development, strategic planning, and culture change. I continue to run a private consulting practice in parallel to my therapy practice as I believe the two inform each other in helpful ways.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I am entering my second year of a three year training program at the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality, within the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. My training has focused on the ways in which social stress and stigma influence mental health of those in the LGBTQ+ community. Issues that sometimes arise include compulsive behaviors (e.g., sex, drugs, eating and exercise), dealing with family rejection, navigating polyamory and open relationships, embracing kinks, exploring gender identity, exploring gender affirming treatments, and working with issues of shame and internalized oppression.
In addition to a specialization with the LGBTQ+ community, I have training in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is an evidence based trauma therapy for treating a host of clinical issues including: PTSD, Complex PTSD, addictions, and survivors of sexual abuse.
Do you have experience (5-10 years+) working with any types of obstacles or people in particular?
Mindfulness, meditation, and compassion practices have played a significant role in my life. I’ve studied under both Shambhala and Zen Soto lineages. Meditation and mindfulness are useful tools for those dealing with addiction, trauma, and emotional dysregulation. I bring my own experience of meditation and mindfulness to bear in my work with clients when it matches their goals and interests.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
A genuine belief in the effectiveness of therapy, and the inherent capacity of people to evolve and change. My own personal experience with therapy has also helped me believe that that things can, and do, get better.
What is the best part of the work for you?
I’m continually inspired by clients’ resilience, strength, and capacity for change.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
Appreciation for levity, transparency, and collaboration are things you will likely encounter with me. Therapy can be so serious sometimes, so I like to allow space for quirkiness, humor, or playfulness to enter into sessions when it’s appropriate.
I value transparency, and I believe it’s important to be emotionally honest. That doesn’t mean I give advice, but it means occasionally I will share what it’s like to be with you in the room when it’s pertinent to things we are working on. I also believe therapy should not be a big mystery shrouded in secrecy. I tell people what we are doing and why it’s important.
Lastly, collaboration is very important to the way I work. I check in with folks about their experience in the moment to see if we need to slow down, speed up, or go in another direction. When we try out new exercises or ways of interacting, I will ask permission to engage. We are partners on your journey.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
We talk about it. What are your fears and concerns about our work together? What do my responses mean to you as coming from a different identity? Sometimes this process, when done in the safety of a trusted relationship, can create new and healing experiences. I also believe no group is monolithic. Each person has there own story, and experiences their identity in unique ways. I’m here to learn about your distinct story. On a personal level, the most helpful thing I can do as a cis-white-queer therapist is continually explore my own positionality, and how I benefit from my location within whiteness and patriarchy.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
There are many ways to tell if therapy is helping. For some people this may mean reduced anxiety in certain situations, while for others this may look like being able to set boundaries with friends/colleagues/family. Part of our work together will be developing goals that are unique to you, and revisiting them periodically to reflect on what you have achieved.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
One of the primary things I pay attention to during our work is what the relationship between us looks like. That means I track our interactions over the course of sessions. If I feel like something has come up that has created tension, I’ll offer up the invitation to you for us to explore.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
This varies for each person and what they are looking to achieve. Six months to a year is typically a helpful timeframe to consider. Sometimes folks come into therapy specifically to deal with a difficult life transition. Others find it helpful to stay in therapy longer as they learn more about themselves as time goes on.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
My first question would be why now? What is it about this moment in time that has brought you to therapy. Also, if you have been in therapy before, what went well or not so well?
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Training and Logistics
Hunter University, Master’s in Social Work
Techniques Trained In
Emotion Focused Therapy, Mindfulness Based Therapy, Relational Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Location: 19 West 45th Street, Suite 705 New York, NY 10036
Trains nearby: B, D, F, M, 7
Frequency options: Weekly, Multiple Times Per Week
Payment Options: Electronic Money Transfers