The biggest myth might just be that modalities matter. Don’t get me wrong, evidence-based modalities certainly have their place in treatment, but they may not be the end all be all. Research continues to show that how a therapist works with a client is far less indicative of outcome then the relationship between therapist and client. Healing occurs in the context of relationship.
4. What seems to be the biggest obstacle for clients in therapy?
I find that for most people, the biggest obstacle is often slowing down and tuning inward. We live in such a fast-paced, busy world. The importance of slowing down and tuning in often seems to compete with the modern need for productivity. And yet the irony is that when people can work through the need for fast results, tune into themselves and their relationships, the results start popping up with way more consistency. I often tell my clients that fast is slow and slow is fast.
5. What’s the most challenging part about being a therapist?
The most challenging part of being a therapist is making sure that I practice what I teach. Making sure that I too take time to slow down every day. As a working mom of two, I also live a pretty busy life. I make sure to literally schedule my “white space” so that I feel recharged and ready to connect when I go home to my husband and kids.
6. What do you love about being a therapist?
I am inspired by my clients every day. I cherish my role of holding a sacred space for personal and interpersonal growth. And for bearing witness to all the mushy gushy messy vulnerable moments of growth, and tears and sweat. Being human is hard stuff; we are all in it together.
7. What’s the best advice you can offer to readers on leading a meaningful life?
Most people spend something between “too much” and “not enough” of their limited energy tending to relationships, family, work, and all of the other little details of life. Each day feels like a struggle against time. Energy is finite. Demands are endless. Love and togetherness so often get lost in the chaos.
I’m probably starting to sound redundant, but seriously: slow down. Pay attention to the little moments in your relationships. The little everyday moments are the moments where you either attend to your life and relationships or you miss them. If you want to find more meaning in your life, slow down and appreciate what is right in front of you and nurture those little moments.
8. If you had your schooling and career choice to do all over again, would you choose the same professional path? If not, what would you do differently and why?
Absolutely. Maybe. And, I’m not sure. I’ve always been a dreamer and explorer. If I had it all to do all over again, would I take exactly the same path? I hope I would try something different and learn something new. Still, I would bet that I’d wind up in a very similar place. I feel guided to this work.
9. If there’s one thing you wished your clients knew about treatment or mental illness, what would it be?
We humans are a funny bunch, we all suffer. It’s the essence of being human. It’s how we are wired to survive. To some extent we are all insecure, anxious and full of unmet needs. In understanding that you are not alone you find community, and we thrive in connection to others, not in isolation.
The problem is, connection is often what triggers many insecurities. The truth is that intimacy and connection emerge and deepen because of those insecurities. And when you practice noticing your own patterns — both in how you treat yourself and how you treat others — you’ll start to notice that your relationship patterns begin to shift so that everyone feels more secure and understood.
10. What personally do you do to cope with stress in your life?
I start by taking stock of what’s stressing me out and try to explore that, be it with my husband, my own therapist, colleagues, friends or in my journal. I also prioritize my family and our relationships. No matter what stressors are impacting me in my life, I want to be as mindful as I can of the effects of that stress on my loved ones. And that doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to keep my stress from them, but I will be attuned to it and looking for its impact if it arises.
I also make sure to give myself down time. Scheduled time on my calendar with no agenda. I call this time “white space” and it helps me breathe. Ritualistic moments of tuning in with my husband, roughhousing, art projects and explorations with our kids, daily walks with our dog… these are the moments that I cherish and attend to every day to keep myself and my relationships resilient.