Therapist, Introvert, Idealist, and Advocate
As a professional therapist, I believe the heart of the therapy journey beats from the relationship forged in the journey towards growth and healing. I bring all of myself into the therapy room with clients even as I choose to withhold some aspects of my personal life so as to keep the focus of treatment on client needs. However, I find that the heart beats stronger when we are both genuine. To that end, I find it beneficial for you to get to know me better by sharing more here.
Re-Claiming my Sensitivity
Growing up in Davis as the youngest of three brothers, sibling rivalry and teasing came with the territory. As an introverted and shy child with a wider emotional range than many around me, I often found myself teased as ‘too sensitive.’ Today, I find this sensitivity invaluable as a therapist – a core strength that allows me to connect with others at a deep level. This sensitivity is both a personality trait and reflects a willingness to meet others where they are, however down or distraught.
No doubt, my own pain and suffering contributed to the awareness of how others struggle to be truly heard. My sensitivity gives me a micro-lens into the hearts of others. Maturity of experience provides the macro-lens to place issues in wider context.
I often speculated that I was born in the wrong decade. Watching historical documentaries and attentive to injustices in the U.S. and elsewhere, I believed (and still believe) in the possibility of justice for all, equality of opportunity, fairness, and peace rather than intolerance and discrimination. In my teen and young adult years, others might have called this passion ‘naïve.’ While some of that spirit was normal for a young person, I retain much what I’d now re-frame as the idealism for greater harmony.
My perspectives have continually widened through numerous multicultural encounters. My friendship group has always been diverse. I still relish in the opportunity for cultural exchange. From connections made and experiences in life, I came to better understand culture, family systems, and experiences of discrimination, racism and other –isms. I consider myself a strong supporter of equality and social justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Accordingly, I consider myself an ally of the LGBT community. We are all inherently worthy of love and respect even when our culture, behavior, or lifestyles differ from those of others.
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
Humbling Lessons Abroad
With a youthful exuberance and adventurous spirit (parents might have called it defiance), I left California for college in Canada. During my 3rd year at university, I ventured off to Ecuador for a study abroad. This experience significantly changed my perspective on life, cultural differences, power and privilege. As a minority White person in South America, I felt and experienced the curiosity, contempt and idealization from locals. Albeit from a position of privilege, it was a unique and eye-opening experience. The host families and campesinos in rural communities touched my life in ways that I will never forget. My values and priorities in life became much clearer through these encounters.
Bringing the Lessons Home
Having majored in International Studies and seeing classmates take positions in far reaches of the globe, I doubted that was the life for me. I wanted to ‘change the world,’ but how? Somewhere, the quiet voice inside me kept suggesting a more direct, tangible way to bring about change to those around me.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something. One person or family at a time, I am proud to be making a difference in lives of my fellow community members. Even when I cannot see it, I have faith in the power of my caring efforts to create ripple effects for others. This gives me hope that I can change the world yet. Becoming a therapist gave me this concrete way to harness this compassion and make a difference.
Commitment to Growth
I believe that therapists must commit to their own growth right alongside their clients. I consider this a parallel journey where I “walk the talk.” I simply cannot offer what I do not have. Sadly, the stigma around mental illness persists and needs to be challenged. I have no hesitations about stating that I have personally benefited from therapy. From these experiences, I have much appreciation for the vulnerability clients feel, the courage it takes to open up, and the tenacity to change seemingly ingrained habits. I have found many avenues of healing and am grateful to each. Therapy is chief among them.
Outside of the Therapist Chair
Self-Care and Fun!
Married for over 10 years, I greatly value quiet time with my wife who is an invaluable source of support. Hobbies include: reading (history, memoirs, and mystery/suspense novels), amateur gardening (and the weeding that comes with it!), hiking out in nature where I feel most ‘Zen’, bicycle rides, watching college sports (both men’s and women’s), and experiencing something new (especially food!). As a professional therapist, these are the activities that keep me grounded and in a good place to be helpful to clients.
Offering my services as a professional therapist is more than a vocation for me; indeed, I felt called to serve my community in this way. With every therapeutic encounter, I feel more alive and invigorated, passionate that I am making a difference. The courage of my clients humbles me and their resilience regularly impresses. Whether I hear about the success stories from my clients, or when I can take to heart that I have planted important seeds to potentially sprout later, I highly value my work and pour my heart into it accordingly.
If you’d like to speak with me about getting started in therapy and feel we may be a good fit, please contact me today to get started!