“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” – Brené Brown
As a social worker, I use a person-in-environment approach that emphasizes treating people as whole persons. I believe that we empower people and address the injustices and pain in the world by recognizing the humanity of others and by working together to write more inclusive, compassionate, and healing stories.
Human beings are unique in our capacity for cognition, language, memory, and neuroplasticity, but what is truly remarkable is our capacity for empathy, cooperation, and vulnerability. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that asking for help is something to be ashamed of, but I see it as a strength.
We are all experts of our own experiences; my job is not to tell someone what they think or how they feel, but rather to listen to their stories and work together to create change. I also believe that recognizing the interconnected ways in which we are affected by the world around us – and, vitally, that what we label ‘problems’ or ‘symptoms’ are not character flaws, but are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances – can help us have more compassion for ourselves and others.
These beliefs are why I resonate most strongly with Relational Cultural Theory (RCT). To me, it incorporates aspects of other important theories and models: Attachment Theory, strengths-based and empowerment approaches, Narrative Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy, with an emphasis on neuroscience and social justice. In practice, I often incorporate Trauma-informed CBT and its variations in combination with Motivational Interviewing. There is so much power in recognizing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that no longer serve us in the way we require and learning to restructure those beliefs. I am also a proponent of psychoeducation more generally, as I find it can be incredibly validating.
Working under the supervision of Lorrie Appleton, LCSW, I work primarily with teenagers and adults on issues surrounding trauma, complex trauma, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, ADHD, relationships of all kinds, LGBT and gender issues, life transitions, and with those who simply seek to better understand themselves. I have experience in different community and private healthcare settings and love doing a variety of services to clients when not performing one-to-one psychotherapy (talks, psychoeducational groups, advocacy, crisis interventions among others.