What do you specialize in?
Broadly, I specialize in helping clients overcome the barriers they face – especially those from diverse populations – by creating safe and compassionate spaces that are inclusive and respectful for all. Specifically, I specialize in offering help to those struggling with any type of addiction or out-of-control behavior, or issues with gender identity, sexual orientation, or sexual health. I also have experience with depression, anxiety and other more common struggles facing our clients today.
What do you think is important about your role as a therapist?
What I believe is most important in my role as therapist is to affirm and accept every client sitting across from me. I constantly strive to offer a supportive and safe space where I can “share the struggle” with every individual in my office; in other words “walk beside them” for the brief time they are in session with me.
How do you help people, in your opinion?
I believe in my cognitive behavioral approaches to educating, supporting, and empowering, while offering hope to each client based on their own unique and individual set of problems, consequences and issues facing them at intake. This allows for a more holistic perspective that encompasses mind, body, and spirit during the ongoing counseling journey.
What is something that you wish people knew about your specialty, or about therapy in general?
Here is what I’d like people to know about my specialties: being in recovery myself for close to 15 years has given me a unique perspective on the challenges facing LGBTQ+ individuals and allies seeking addiction treatment. I am also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer having served 3 years in and around Bangkok, Thailand as one of the first HIV/AIDS Education Volunteers. That experience afforded me the unique perspective of being a minority in a uniquely different culture from my own, while navigating stigma and discrimination in order to help a marginalized population. Also, in addition to my clinical experiences, I am a trained facilitator in a variety of sensitivity trainings and workshops, educating other mental health professionals at a local, state, and national level. I have been a keynote panelist at both the Finding Freedom Symposium and also the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD), speaking about the differences between being a “friendly” therapist and being a ” culturally competent” therapist in working with LGBTQ+ and other marginalized clients.
Name an influential person or experience in your life.
I am very grateful today for my strong connection to faith in a spirituality I choose to call a Higher Power. I strongly believe without this faith, I would not be where I am in my life today. Of the most influential people in my life is my mentor, colleague and friend Dr. Joe Kort, PhD, whom without his guidance and support, I would not be the therapist I am today. The most influential experience in my life is taking on the principles of a 12-step program and being active in recovery; without which I would not have this firm foundation of my faith and spirituality.