Senior Staff Psychologist
At heart I am a generalist. As an intern I felt pressure to identify a "specialty area", but have found over time that therapy alone is enough of a challenge, so that is my specialty. Over the years, particularly with my interest in cognitive behavioral therapy, I have found that anxiety and depression fit especially well with my conceptualizations. Oddly enough, I have also found that leadership style and leadership development fit well with my general style and for several years co-taught a class on "multicultural leadership".
I am also interested in multicultural issues as they play out in therapy. For the most part, we all know what we are "supposed" to do or say regarding cultural competence, but I am interested in how we actually do this in a way that is personal and meaningful. I enjoy exploring the culturally-based values we as therapists bring to the therapy session and how these join or conflict with the values that our clients bring.
Theoretical Orientation and Therapy Approach
My approach is an integration of cognitive behavioral and interpersonal therapies. When I talk with new graduate students, they often focus on "finding" their approach. I have come to believe that the best you can do is to learn about different therapies and eventually your approach will find you. Although my clinical training is based in Sullivanian interpersonal, object-relations, and personal construct experiential therapies, I have found over the years that I have gravitated to the power of cognition in influencing mood.
To me cognitions are the expectations, assumptions, and perceptions that we have regarding ourselves and the world. My experience, both personally and professionally, is that cognitions rarely come in neatly packaged, pre-digested thoughts like, “I’m afraid of failure” or “I'm threatened by intimacy”. More often, cognitions are pre-verbal, in that we often can't articulate what we are afraid of for example, but at the root these feelings are based in cognitions. The real work of therapy is usually about helping clients find the courage to let go of their cognitions and begin to test and ultimately believe in alternative ones.
Supervision Approach and Model
Supervision for me is collaborative, and therefore based on mutual trust. The first tasks in supervision for me are 1) to earn my supervisee's trust that supervision will be a safe place and 2) to learn my supervisee's therapeutic and personal style. Once I feel comfortable that I know my supervisee's strengths and growth edges, and once my supervisee feels comfortable being open and trusting me, supervision becomes about intentionality.
One of my core beliefs is that therapy should be intentional. My main focus in supervision is typically on identifying the connection between a therapist's conceptualization of a client and the interventions that therapist uses in session. In theory, therapy is driven solely by the therapist's understanding of the client's needs. In practice, however, many other factors often play a part. To me, supervision is primarily about identifying these other factors and being more intentional about one's therapy. How this happens and how we get there in supervision depends in large part on the supervisee's developmental level. My style is to be pretty laidback and to trust the supervisee to identify their own growth edges as therapists. Yet, at the same time my role is to help trainees see more subtle nuances and variations on their growth edges that they may not be aware of and help them see how that impacts their therapy.