In terms of my educational background, I did both my undergraduate and graduate work in Tennessee. I attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and had a double minor in Sociology and African-American Studies. After graduating, I went to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I obtained my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. While at The University of Tennessee, I had the opportunity to provide therapy to adults, teens, children, couples, and families.
After completing my coursework at The University of Tennessee, I completed my pre-doctoral internship at the Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, which is part of the Yale School of Medicine. Here, I worked with adolescents and their families in both inpatient and outpatient settings. I also worked with adults struggling with both psychiatric illness and substance abuse problems.
My post-doctoral training took place at the U.C. Davis Medical Center, in the Department of Psychiatry. While at U.C. Davis, I worked with adults, adolescents, children, and families, providing psychotherapy and psychological testing services. I also completed a one year research fellowship at the U.C. Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, where I worked on a project investigating sleep disorders in children with autism. After completing my postdoctoral training, I served as a member of the volunteer clinical faculty at UCDMC for a number of years, where I taught a seminar on Methods of Personality Assessment.
Once I became licensed as a psychologist, I worked in a variety of settings over the years. I’ve spent time working in a private practice setting, a prison, in an HMO setting, and in nursing homes. It seems that I’ve worked with every age group in some way, shape, or form, and I am thankful for the richness of experience I’ve gained. No matter my day job, I have always been passionate about private practice work, because it allows me the freedom to customize the treatment I offer specifically for each person that I see. No cookie cutter approaches around here!
My Experience With Therapy
Even with these accomplishments, one of the most profoundly meaningful aspects of my training was being a client in therapy myself. I don’t care how well trained a therapist is, you can never know what it feels like to be a patient until you are the one sitting on the couch. I think it’s important that everyone do their “work,” especially therapists. We’re all human, and we all have our own stuff. What’s important is that therapists work through their own stuff, so it doesn’t interfere with their ability to provide good care for their clients. Also, going through the process of therapy has given me a full appreciation for the range of emotions that people experience during this journey toward growth and awareness:
- The anxiety of having to make that first call
- Mixed emotions when walking through the door to the office for the first time
- Taking the risk to reveal yourself and your vulnerabilities to a virtual stranger
- building a relationship of trust with the therapist, believing that he or she is trying to help you become your best self
- Walking through the dark corners, hidden curves, and unresolved challenges in your life
- Making the connections between past experiences and present behaviors (the epiphanies are tremendous!)
- Growing, evolving, letting go of hangups, finding joy, and becoming more genuine, authentic, and more at peace with every part of yourself
- Developing immense gratitude for all the hard work you did, the work you and your therapist did together, and the powerful changes it has created in your life and your relationships.
So, trust me; I get it. I’ve been there. Therapy ain’t for the faint of heart. It takes work. It takes courage. But, pressing through will yield some pretty great benefits to your overall sense of well-being. Even if you’re afraid to try it out, the rewards (if you stick it out), can be life changing. Your spirit will thank you once you get to the other side.