What’s something you would say to a potential client who’s on the fence about beginning therapy?
Sometimes I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everyone believe and understand that therapy is a judgment free zone. It seems like it would be impossible not to judge a stranger because it is almost what we do instinctually (for good reason). Most therapists have a metaphorical switch that turns judgment off when a client enters a session. When actively listening to someone who is seeking help from you, because you’re the expert, there isn’t even time to allow judgment to sneak in. Our brains are processing what you are saying, how it impacts you, and how we can collaborate to create change. If you ever are hesitant to seek therapy due to fear of judgment or embarrassment, try to remember that therapists are listening to your concerns rather than judging them.
Why did you become a therapist?
My interest in becoming a therapist began when I realized I really enjoyed learning about psychology and the human mind. I found it thrilling to understand how the brain works and how rapidly the brain develops during childhood. After learning more about the field of psychology, I figured therapy was the right path as I want to work with people rather than conducting research or working in legislation change.
What is your favorite part of being a therapist?
My favorite part of being a therapist is watching the ‘ah ha’ moments in session and hearing how clients feel better after utilizing techniques we have discussed in session. It always makes my day hearing how clients have been able to improve their communication, strengthen their confidence, or just process something difficult in a way they haven’t before.
Where did you go to school? What degree did you obtain from each?
I was raised in the city of Chicago and have stuck around since. I attended Loyola University of Chicago where I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Psychology. I took a year off before starting my Masters program at Adler University Chicago. At Adler University I obtained two masters; Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Masters of Science in Sport and Human Performance.
How long have you been practicing?
I have been practicing for about a year and a half. Before moving to private practice I was providing therapeutic services at a behavioral health hospital, in the inpatient unit. I worked with all ages and provided group and individual therapy. As I worked at the hospital I became more familiar with their trauma program and eventually took on the role of a trauma therapist (both at an individual and group level). I decided to shift to private practice because it allows for more long term therapy.
How do you practice self care?
Practicing self care is extremely important to me, especially as a trauma therapist. One of my favorite self-care practices is to order take out. As a person who lives alone, I am responsible for making all of my food and cleaning all of my dishes. On days where I feel mentally or physically exhausted, I will grab take out so I don’t have to worry about cooking or cleaning. Taking my mind off simple things like cooking and cleaning helps me decompress and prepare for the next day. I’ve also found that there are a ton of promotions for delivery/take out if you are flexible.
Were you involved in any extra curricular activities either in high school or college?
During high school I was considered a ‘drama major’ because our high school had a drama program that you had to audition into, and then drama class was part of your every day curriculum for all four years. We would frequently go to local plays and had many opportunities to meet professionals within the theater industry.
All throughout middle school and high school I played club and school volleyball. I was on the shorter side of athletes but still was able to establish myself as the ‘setter’ of the teams I played on. I experienced athlete burnout in high school due to the high demand playing both club and school, as well as playing in a position that was not rotated out during games. When I played with my school team I played almost every minute of each game and was the captain on the team. Looking back now, I might have enjoyed sport more if I took breaks between seasons instead of playing all throughout the year.
What is an unpopular opinion that you have? (About therapy or about life)
One unpopular opinion I have is that parents should let kids complain about doing chores as long as they are doing the chores. As someone who is solely responsible for everything in my place, I have noticed that there are some ‘chores’ I really don’t like to do and tend to think ‘man I really wish I didn’t have to do this,’ while doing said chores. I think it’s normal to complain about having to do things you don’t want to do, the important part is getting them done. The expectation of children completing all chores without any complaints seems like an unfair standard that even adults don’t have to live up to.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy taking on new hobbies for fun, something I can do without a goal of becoming an expert at it. I have recently taken up adult painting by numbers, which has been surprisingly time consuming. I have really enjoyed painting by numbers because the kit’s you can buy have everything you need and are printed on great quality canvas. With painting by numbers, not only do I get to engage in the act of painting (which I find very fun) but I also get a piece of artwork out of it. The paint by numbers kit has everything labeled and set up so seamlessly that even if you have no experience, as long as you follow directions, you really can’t mess it up.