Therapy is hard work. It’s creative, explorative, supportive, and also confronting. New Yorkers are good at working hard, but sometimes they end up stuck, burnt out, or on a path anywhere from “something feels off” to “I need help now.”
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. My approach is eclectic: my work is informed by nervous system science, social justice, and a background in psychology and social work. Prior to working in private practice, I worked with adolescents and families in schools and adults in a variety of nonprofit settings, which demonstrated the importance of systems thinking even when working to support an individual. I have been trained in psychodynamic approaches, trauma-informed care, somatic and mindfulness-based interventions, and contemplative neuroscience. I am sex positive and a LGBTQIA+ affirming practitioner. I take an active stance in the work I do; my clients and I build trust in an open and curious space as we develop a treatment that both facilitates change while also highlighting their existing strengths, resources, and internal wisdom.
I take an intersectional, political, and anti-oppressive lens to this work. Abuse and mistreatment do not exist in a vacuum and cannot be understood separately from the legacies of oppression that inform past and existing power dynamics. Likewise, individual and family patterns must be contextualized within the systems from which they arise. I believe that all of my clients have a deep capacity for wisdom, generosity, compassion, curiosity, courage, accountability, and self leadership.
ABOUT MY WORK
In a private practice setting, I have worked with adolescents, adults, and couples on self-defeating patterns of behavior, depression, anxiety, nervous system dysregulation—including a tendency to numb/compartmentalize or be overwhelmed by emotion—eating and body image concerns, acute distress, grief and trauma, aging, and celebrating, deepening, and navigating racial, ethnic, class, and LGBTQIA+ identities.
Sometimes, clients come to me repeating old and familiar ways of doing things, despite winding up with the same troubling consequences: dating the same type of unavailable partner, burdened by the same feelings of self consciousness or sadness, feeling the same “freeze” or shut down response during conflict, or having the same fight with family members. I work with clients to clarify and consider the wisdom within their patterns. If they are no longer adaptive in the way they once were, clients can begin to disrupt these patterns, and explore new possibilities by developing parts of themselves that were shaped by less autonomous, more fear-based times in their lives.
Often, clients' patterns are context dependent, and might continue to be useful in some contexts, especially spaces that marginalize or exploit power. The process of clarity and discernment can help clients feel more intentional, create space for rage and grief, and seek contexts where they can then take in the nourishment they crave.
I also work with couples, who frequently come to me with entrenched or habitual ways of “doing” relationships that are no longer working as well as they once did—including intimacy, sex, conflict, or finances; new experiences — including pregnancy/IVF/adoption/parenting; or tender ones — including navigating a betrayal or a distressing misalignment of goals or needs. Couples in my practice often want to explore consensual non-monogamy, shift a monogamy agreement, or navigate complicated dynamics within a polycule. Partners can relish in parts of the relationship that are thriving and, at the same time, want to work on aspects of the relationship that are scary, wounded, fraught, or avoided altogether. We explore shame, discomfort, and longing; build conditions for partners to identify unmet needs; lean into conflict, anger, and fear; and work through roadblocks that get in the way of vulnerability and intimacy. Sometimes, we decide that the relationship is no longer working or meeting both partners' needs. I help couples explore divorce, co-parenting, and uncoupling in a space designed to be curious rather than blaming.
Before beginning private practice, I worked with clients healing from sexual trauma; physical, domestic, and state-sanctioned abuse and torture; and childhood sexual abuse. I developed an intersectional approach to this work. Working with sexual trauma includes building a relationship, therapeutic environment, and menu of internal tools to support clients to feel the range of under-processed and calcified feelings stored within their minds and bodies, including grief, pain (both physical and psychic), fear, anger, and shame. I help clients untangle feelings and experiences that are located in the past from their present patterns of self-protection. Together we decide what’s still needed and what they might let go of.
I have also worked with adolescents and their families in schools, groups, and individual contexts. I help parents support teens’ separation and individual exploration while also maintaining useful boundaries. I utilize skill-based education to help adolescents and young adults learn and practice social and emotional skills and also mindfulness to facilitate the beginning of a close, compassionate, and curious relationship with their minds and their bodies. Most importantly, I help families develop closeness and intimacy in new ways to support the child’s changing needs as they grow into their adolescent selves.
MY TRAINING & CREDENTIALS
Emory University - B.A. in Psychology
New York University - M.S.W in Social Work
Peachtree Yoga - 200RYT
Mind & Life Institute - Summer Research Institute Fellow
New York Counseling and Guidance Services - Post-graduate Psychodynamic Psychotherapy training (2 years)
Still Quiet Place - Mindfulness training (50 hours)
Hakomi Institute - Level One Hakomi training (1 year)
Hakomi Institute - Currently training in Level Two
In addition to the above credentials, I owe much of my learning to the faculty at the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Institute, including Dick Schwartz and Frank Anderson. I have learned extensively from advocates in the field working to dismantle the colonialist pillars of psychotherapy and advocate for more inclusive practices, including Dr. Jennifer Mullan, Adrienne Marie Brown and Sonalee Rashatwar. I study Dr. John and Julie Gottman's research on couples, Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Therapy, and utilize Imago dialogue to support couples in fostering intimacy and reducing conflict. I pull from Jessica Fern's work to facilitate couples' exploration of consenual non-monogamy. I am a forever student of nervous system science, and have gained so much wisdom from Peter Levine, Janina Fisher, and Irene Lyon. All of these folks are prolific writers and also have youtube pages and podcasts available, for purchase and for free; I encourage you to explore their work.
THERAPY: CELEBRATING WHAT IT OFFERS AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW ITS LIMITS
Mental health support turns on a multi-dimensional axis in the 21st century. For those with access, I have witnessed therapy transform individuals and couples through their own hard work and desire to grow into something other-than, bigger-than, sometimes more uncomfortable-than what they presently know. Therapy can return us to our bodies and our intuitions, teaching us to value the more vulnerable parts of ourselves just as much as we value our brains and our grit. Therapy can offer a profound opportunity to heal trauma; create a nonjudgmental and supportive space to feel grief, shame, and discomfort; and provide a space for rigorous relational work. It can support exploration of one’s relationship to accountability by helping individuals feel safe enough to make space for pain, tolerate suffering, and examine the ways we move through the world that are oppressive, both of ourselves and others.
I also believe therapy has limits. It is not a panacea. It is not the only way to make changes in one’s life. Access to therapy is not expansive nor fair. It operates, like all things, within the same biased and oppressive institutions and structures embedded in our ecosystems, and avoiding that reality in the therapy room is an act of denial. Mental health is now a booming industry, and, like all booming, profitable industries, the purpose should be critiqued and questioned and clarified again and again. Facing the not-enoughness of therapy is not a shameful act— it is simply the truth. To that end, I am upfront with clients about the scope of therapy so we can clarify how our work together will serve the client. Outside of the therapy room, I often encourage clients to lean into new or pre-existing channels of resource and support so that their lives feel full and interconnected, their language is not simply reduced to ‘therapy-speak,’ and their beliefs, values, and ideas are informed by diverse and ever-changing sources.