Tell us a little about you.
I was raised in East Tennessee and moved to San Diego when I was in my late 20s. I worked in a couple of different careers before deciding that I wanted to pursue the longtime dream of becoming a therapist. As a therapist, I have worked with couples in turmoil, individuals in recovery from severe drug addiction, men mandated to therapy for anger management and domestic violence perpetration, and individuals recovering from depression, anxiety, and trauma.
What inspired you to work as a therapist?
I derive joy and satisfaction from being with a person while they heal. Healing can look like a lot of things: gaining a hard-earned insight, releasing pain or shame, or learning how to connect in a new and genuine way with a partner. The world carries such a burden of suffering and it has been a gift to me to be a part of a process that helps to relieve some of that burden and to replace it with joy.
What’s one personal value you hold dear as a therapist and why is it important to you?
An important value that I exercise continually as a professional is compassion. Many of my clients seek help because they are engaging in behaviors that they find frightening, shameful, or self-defeating. I think that one of the most healing services that I can provide is to be able to acknowledge that a person is not defined by their behaviors and that those behaviors do not negate their inherent value and lovability as a human being.
What is your approach to making change in therapy?
So many of the problems that my clients have stem from them never being taught how to sit with and to express emotions in a healthy way. I help people to see how their harmful or frustrating behaviors serve a distinctive purpose- to cope with big feelings. Then, within the safe, non-judgmental space I hold with love and support, my clients learn that they can tolerate their feelings and make healthier choices in their lives.
After a long work week, how do you de-stress and unwind?
It’s important to me that I de-stress a little every day in a way that addresses my needs as a whole person. To care for my physical self, I run and practice martial arts and yoga. For my mental and intellectual needs, I draw, write, and read extensively. For my emotional self, I make sure to connect with my loved ones in a meaningful way through play and appreciation. Spiritually, I meditate and regularly reflect upon my values and how I enact these in my life and work.