My commitment to the craft of psychotherapy began at Columbia University School of Social Work where I specialized in Clinical Practice. My focus was on understanding and treatment of wide range of emotional/psychological difficulties and their impact on relationship with self and others, ability to be creative and productive, and on overall capacity for HAPPINESS.
I continued to advance my skills through post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for the Family - a world-renowned center for teaching, research and treatment in the field of couples and family therapy, where I learned most up-to-date clinical models from experts in this field.
My work as a therapist began in New York City right after 9/11 terrorist attacks. Mount Sinai Hospital was launching a new program for World Trade Center rescue workers and volunteers who needed medical and mental health assessment and treatment. My experience at the WTC Program helped me develop expertise in treating trauma (PTSD), depression, anxiety, panic, and adjustment to chronic medical illness. I had written on this topic and given presentations at many professional conferences.
Witnessing how disaster like 9/11 ravaged the lives of so many first responders, while leaving others seemingly unscathed, and even stronger and happier - made me wonder: what is the X-factor of our human resilience?
Speaking with thousands of responders revealed again and again the undeniable wisdom: having reliable and responsive relationships with important others AND the ability to seek refuge in those relationships at a time of crisis – serves as a psychological shield of protection… I bring these lessons from Ground Zero responders into my personal life and to my everyday professional practice …
One of my own therapy experiences was another major influence: I found that traditional approach of a distant therapist who offered little feedback and responded from a place of “knowing it all” – left me feeling frustrated, judged, and alone. I was moved to turn my frustration into an opportunity to seek a more responsive and connected way of being with my clients.
I also incorporate mindfulness skills and non-judgmental acceptance and compassion for self and others into my life and my professional practice.
All elements of my personal and professional quest constantly come together to form my vision and my approach to being a therapist.