Just like your career, where you choose to live, and how you unwind, your therapist needs to be the right fit for you. I provide therapy from the core belief that you are the expert on you. In order to feel safe enough to trust, you need to be able to be vulnerable and feel seen and understood. Only then can therapy take place not from a position of you vs. the therapist, but rather you and the therapist vs. the problem. I want you to understand what you can expect from my services so that you can make an informed decision about whether my approach is right for you.
I am a licensed clinical social worker in Chicago, IL. My undergraduate background in psychology informed my graduate work at the University of Chicago. I have worked in direct social services in various capacities throughout my entire career primarily in healthcare and hospital adjacent environments. Before working as a clinical practitioner, I spent several years working in developmental pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center before pivoting to service delivery for the elderly in managed care with Aetna Better Health of Illinois. My years in these roles, where I was invited into the homes of all kinds of people from all walks of life, really played a role in shaping my personality; building trusting, personal relationships with strangers who had to accurately share their most private and sensitive information with me and feel safe entrusting their well-being to my care.
I provide culturally competent, nuanced services with people from all sorts of backgrounds and life experience. Given the cerebral orientation of my practice philosophy, I have experienced particular success with highly-sensitive persons, those that are detail oriented, and people who are primarily driven to understand how all the layers contribute to a larger picture. I work best with people seeking more meaningful, honest connections with others and a desire to live more authentically.
In my work, I treat the whole person, driven by an intrinsic curiosity about who people truly are and what makes them tick. For me, the bottom line is that people need to be who they are. We need to feel free to say what we feel, to ask for what we want, to speak plainly and directly and accept who we are. We need to be able to trust ourselves and therefore trust others. We need to know ourselves. The freedom and joy in knowing and loving ourselves allows us to know and love others. So my work is primarily oriented around exploring the true, authentic self, learning to relate and connect better with others, and dismantling cognitive and behavioral barriers that serve to isolate, diminish, and disregard ourselves.
My clinical work focuses on identity issues, defensive functioning, maladaptive coping behaviors, distorted cognitions, family and relational dynamics, and issues of trauma. I emphasize growth skills in resilience, intuition, coping, and self-esteem. Overall I help to foster the ability to be more vulnerable, honest, and accountable in our actions and relationships with others. In a society that swings back and forth in extremes, the balance between getting our own needs met while meeting and respecting the needs of others can be a perpetual conflict.
Sometimes I’ll watch a really good movie or listen to a song I love and feel both moved and wistful that I don’t have the talent to create something through art that impacts people that way. But the truth is I’ve always been a very big reader and my appreciation of the talents of others is partially through the connections we make with each other through it, and the layers of how all these things are related. In my view, the brain’s primary job is to make sense of things. When our bodies know something, either through trauma or experience or deeply felt emotions, our brains need to know it too. When we practice avoidance or ignore or deny our emotions or carry unprocessed, unresolved feelings around with us, we are preventing the brain from knowing what the body knows. This disruption prevents the brain from doing its job, from integrating what it knows is there, and as long as this is the case, the self will be in a constant state of discord.
I like to think my lifelong love of reading was me following my natural inclinations to let the brain do what it does best: understand things. Find the meaning in things, see how they are related, know the bigger picture. Through art and music, creative expression is just another layer of understanding why we do things, the experience of others, what makes life meaningful. Another way to feel connected.
Thousands of years of human evolution have embedded us with instinctual emotional and social drives to promote the continuation of the species. When we try to live by quashing down our emotions, and ignoring our needs, we are alienated from a part of ourselves that informs the very being. It’s in our DNA. And no matter how far away we drift or are pulled away from those instincts, human nature will always pull us back toward it, because being who we are is paramount to our survival. Learning to quiet the noise and the external pressures that lead us to doubt or reject who we are and being more authentic is how we gain attunement between the brain and body. That harmony is where we find peace.