If you are exploring therapy, then you are in the right place. From finding out what therapy is, through deciding if you want to pursue therapy, to how it’s going to work for you, to laying the foundation for your success, this website focuses on how to get the best out of your journey ahead. I hope to empower you to make this life-changing decision with confidence.
What Is Therapy?
Psychotherapy – often referred to as simply “therapy” – comes in many different shapes and sizes.
Many people associate therapy with “talk therapy” where the person and the therapist simply talk about a problem instead of coming up with a solution. The goal of therapy is simply getting emotional support for one’s problems. Such support can be very beneficial.
On the other hand, people can get stuck in their problems when that’s all they do is talk about them. As a matter of fact, merely talking about problems can make them worse. The psychotherapy I offer focuses on the solutions.
You’re busy, and your time is valuable. Rather than spending lots of time just talking about your problems (which often makes one feel worse), you’re looking for actual solutions. Let me help you make lasting changes as quickly as possible.
While your history is important, we will not rehash the past. I say we look back, but not stare. You’ve lived through it once, and maybe you don’t want to relive it again. I get that.
If you’re more interested in what’s going on for you now and want a solution-focused approach, so you can enjoy your future more, you’ve found the right therapist. Let’s get on with the life you were meant to live.
Giving Yourself the Gift of Therapy
Therapy is an investment – of money, time, and effort. When you are trying to decide whether to pursue therapy, spend some time thinking about what’s working well in your life, as well as what’s wrong. Ask yourself: What have I tried to do to solve the problem on my own? What might happen if I don’t get help? What might the consequences be if I don’t make changes?
If you decide to give yourself the gift of therapy, I can support you in the following ways:
- Encourage you to set challenging and inspiring goals for your life that are in tune with your values
- Expect the best from you and know you can meet that expectation
- Help you reflect and gain perspective
- Explore options with you
- Help you generate action steps that work for you
- Teach you tools for making lasting changes in your life
- Keep you moving forward
- Help you celebrate your progress
- Believe in you!
Therapy is also a gift that keeps on giving! Benefits of therapy include:
- Getting more joy out of life!
- Being more active – getting out and doing more!
- Having more energy and enthusiasm!
- Doing a better job at home, at work, and at school!
- Enjoying better health!
- Feeling empowered!
- Believing in a brighter future!
- More satisfying relationships!
- Taking better care of yourself!
- Loving yourself with reckless abandon!
It’s Your Party!
If you decide to work with me, we will focus on what YOU want to accomplish in therapy. We will meet when and as frequently as you’d like. The entire therapy process, from beginning to end, will be geared toward you and your needs.
It’s your party.
What we work on in therapy will change from session to session. If you’re going through a hard time, you may want to talk about the problems you’re having. You may want to reason things out with me, reflect on your experiences, and gain perspective on the problems you’re having. At other times, you may want to jump right in to learning specific skills that you can practice outside of therapy, so you can effectively make changes in how you cope with your challenges.
My approach is person-centered. This is not to say that I won’t challenge you if I feel like you are avoiding the tough work, but, ultimately, I aim to empower you to take ownership of your treatment. Deciding what we’ll work on that day is a way for you to put yourself first, have your own back, and show up for yourself, which are the goals of treatment that we’ll come back to again and again.
From the very first phone call, we will work together to come up with the best solution for you. When you call me, I will get a little information from you about what problems you’re having and what you’d like to work on in therapy. We’ll talk about where you’d like to be. I’ll describe how I can get you there. If we decide that we’re a good fit, then we’ll schedule your initial appointment.
When we meet for your initial session, I will get a clear picture of exactly what you want to accomplish in therapy. I offer evidence-based solutions, so I will review with you what the research shows is the most effective approach for the problem(s) you’re having.
Together we will develop a tailor-made plan of action that will be effective FOR YOU. We will carefully break your goal into smaller steps you can master. Then we will set-up your appointment schedule to provide you the support you need while you make lasting changes in your life.
Whether you want to learn skills for reducing symptoms, attracting the life you want, improving your relationships, enhancing your motivation, or simply working on your day-to-day well-being, we will use a range of techniques that will take you through the process of transforming your life.
I’m a clinical psychologist and owner of New Leaf Psychotherapy. From the urban streets of Miami to the rural countryside in PA, I was fascinated by human behavior as far back as I can remember. What made me who I am? Why do you do the things you do? What makes us different?
I excelled at school, but when it came time to go to college, I opted for “living my life” instead (making minimum wage, eating Ramen noodles, and living in a rundown apartment.) When I was 20, I gave birth to my son. I soon realized I’d need to make more than $4.25 an hour to raise a son on my own.
I was incredibly fortunate to be awarded a full scholarship to college. And there it began. I declared a Psychology major and began an 11-year journey to earn my PhD in Clinical Psychology. All this was possible because the scholarship committee believed in this single mom and took a chance on me.
My lifelong dream to become a clinical psychologist came true. It was a perfect fit for me. This work feeds my soul.
As a Therapist
I specialize in brief, solution-focused treatment of emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal difficulties among adults. My key areas of expertise include the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, and substance abuse. I also specialize in helping others master skills for mindfulness (being in the moment), coping with stress and changes, resolving conflict, and finding more meaning and joy in life. Modalities of treatment include individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and teletherapy. I also teach several 6-week courses. Treatment approaches include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness-informed therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). (For much more about my specialties, see links on my Home page.)
I create an environment conducive to making and maintaining positive changes more quickly than might otherwise be expected in therapy. Toward that end, my style is active and directive, with significant time and energy devoted to learning new skills that can be practiced outside of therapy. Reasoning things out with someone else is a key benefit of psychotherapy, so I also reserve time for reflection and gaining perspective, too.
As a scientist-practitioner, I am dedicated to providing evidence-based treatment and consultation services. I offer a warm, supportive, compassionate, and nurturing environment in therapy while encouraging personal responsibility in patients.
I deeply respects the courage it takes to change and am genuinely concerned about the people I serve. Great care is taken for developing and maintaining a strong therapeutic relationship, which is the number one predictor of positive treatment outcomes. I approach therapy with energy and enthusiasm. This work is my passion – it feeds my soul.
As a Research Scientist and Academic
My professional experience spans two decades and encompasses a wide range of activities in clinical, academic, and research settings. In addition to my international private practice work, I continue to carve out 30% of my time be an active international research scientist. I am an expert consultant to Columbia University, an Ivy league school in NYC. Over the past 20 years, I have been a consultant for the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), Department of Defense (DoD), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the National Institute of Health (NIH), to name a few. I am a co-author of the prestigious Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-5 (SCID-5), which is known world-wide as the field’s gold standard for psychiatric assessments. I have also authored many journal articles, scholarly papers, and book chapters on the assessment and treatment of mental disorders. Results of my work have also been published in newspapers and magazines, and have been presented to professional audiences in technical reports, briefings, and conference presentations. I have also taught several academic courses at universities in the U.S.. I am honored to be the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding contributions to psychology and for my service work in professional and public communities.
Other Ways I Love Life with Reckless Abandon
Outdoor adventures are where it’s at with me — fishing, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, ice hiking, paddle boarding with glaciers, getting chased by Kodiak bears (true story). I also love making photos, long-distance traveling, making art, flower and vegetable gardening, and cooking (I still love ramen noodles!). I also exercise every day, and sometimes I enjoy that, too. My biggest fans are my son, Jordan, and my English bulldogs: Coco, Brock, and Peter.