I am a psychotherapist and art therapist who approaches therapy with an understanding that getting inspired by an idea or material can open the possibility for creativity, growth and change. I have seen how trauma, grief, life experiences and personalities are pathologized and categorized, which can tarnish the ability to see patients holistically, as individuals rather than a series of symptoms or diagnostic criteria. While I am an expert in psychotherapy, I believe my patients are experts in their own right. By building strong, compassionate trust, my patients and I work together to learn what is important to them and what tools might be most effective in creating the kind of life they want.
After undergraduate study at Washington University and working as a teacher, I completed a Master’s degree in Art Therapy at Pratt Institute, where I continue to be involved through both teaching and supervision. Before joining Tribeca Therapy, I worked in schools and medical settings where I treated individuals, families, children and teens dealing with complex medical conditions, including people with pediatric and adult cancers, non-compliant teens with chronic conditions, and parents with preterm babies and children with developmental challenges. I also provided bereavement counseling for families and helped families facing significant medical challenges and loss.
I am trained in object relations, which suggests that how we’re treated by parents becomes an expectation of how others treat us, and attachment theory, which emphasizes how our earliest interactions with parents impacts how children (and later, adults) relate in the world. These early experiences inform our present, leading us to similar relationships, friendships and situations. I also bring in my training with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, motivational interviewing and positive psychology. Rather than applying these in an “off-the-shelf” manner, I understand these, as with any therapeutic techniques, as tools I can use with specific consideration for each patient’s unique needs.
Art making is another powerful way to draw out engagement and can easily go hand-in-hand with talk therapy. Many adults, especially, find art making intimidating. As a potter, I experienced this myself since when I began working with clay, I felt I had no aptitude with it. Eventually, as I kept working, something clicked and it has been my chosen medium ever since. I bring this attitude into my approach to therapy, knowing that trying something new, whether a new material or art itself, can be a chance to gain new perspective and insight.
Through my career, I have had the opportunity to help patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. I take to heart that our identities, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and power, affect our relationships, careers, everyday experiences and therefore, our emotional well-being. What we look like, where we’re from, our culture, gender expression, and sexual identity affect how we’re treated in smaller interactions with individuals and in bigger ways in school, work and healthcare. Messages from our families, communities and politicians about these parts of who we are can shape and limit how we see ourselves and the possibilities available to us. I am thrilled to be part of a community of therapists at Tribeca Therapy who are committed to continued growth and development, as well as conscious of the impact culture plays on our personal lives.