What would your clients and colleagues say is your therapist superpower?
I am uniquely gifted at working with dyads, in which there are two people in the room with me. For the most part, this looks like couples work, but I also do dyadic therapy for co-parenting and for parent-child relationships. It comes naturally to me to be able to hold two different perspectives at once, and over time, help people to find common ground. This serves me well in working with couples and families who are looking to increase understanding, develop greater closeness, and improve on their communication with one another.
What is one thing you learned through your own therapy?
A theme throughout my personal therapy has been reckoning with the gifts and challenges of high sensitivity. As an infant, I experienced intense emotional reactions, like severe crying spells. As I got older, in order to survive, I began to mask my sensitivity through emotional repression. Starting in my late teens and early twenties, I worked with a therapist who introduced me to Elaine & Arthur Aron’s work on the highly sensitive person (HSP). I began studying high sensitivity in my undergraduate education in order to make better sense of myself. I still struggle at times to deal with the challenges of being highly sensitive and highly attuned, but I am now better able to manage those challenges, which makes more room for the gifts of high sensitivity to shine through. Having high sensitivity helps me in my role as a therapist in that I am able to deeply engage with my clients and their experiences through empathy.
If you hadn’t become a therapist, what profession would you have chosen and why?
At the moment, I split my time between working as a therapist and working as a professor. Eventually, I am planning to take some time away from clinical work to further my career in academia. I am naturally curious and have always enjoyed writing, research, and teaching. It’s hard to imagine a world in which I did not become a therapist, because I have such a deep love for working with people in this way. However, if I had not focused as much of my time on developing my clinical skills, I may have spent more time doing ‘behind-the-scenes’ work, like researching and writing about interpersonal relationships.
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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.