I remember the day I realized that I wanted to be a therapist. And why.
But let me start by telling you I had actually set my heart on becoming an artist. Drawing and painting were the loves of my life.
And then came my husband. And then I was about to become a mother, which is where this story really begins.
In preparation, I read every book I could find on parenthood. I spent so many hours reading and researching that I could tell you in detail the names of all the child-rearing experts and each of their theories.
But this didn’t help. The theories conflicted, and I became more confused about how to be a perfect mother. As time passed, my theoretical book learning often conflicted with my life experience. I found that what helped me with my first child didn’t for my second; and what had worked for the first two definitely didn’t with my third.
So I enrolled in a formal therapy training program through the Hartford Family Institute. And that was the day I found my life’s calling.
First I studied Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy, where I learned how important relationships are to healthy living. Then I trained in many other therapies, like Internal Family Systems Therapy, which helped me understand how all the aspects of our personalities unconsciously dictate our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and feelings.
I started to see just how complex and influential our relationships are on us as individuals, couples, families, generations and cultures. I continued on to complete a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Central Connecticut State University (where I now teach and supervise) and became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Based on my training, I developed a holistic approach to learning and writing that I shared in a book I wrote and published to support other women who want to go back to school later in life.
I learned to apply my knowledge and training in the real world and pioneered the first Marriage and Family Therapy department in a public school in the entire country (in Hartford).
Each of these steps on my journey have helped me become a more effective therapist by giving me a richer understanding of my client’s needs and the flexibility to draw on a range of therapies and techniques to help them. I still love art, and bring it into therapy along with imagery and play.
Look closely at any painting and you’ll see the layers of paint the artist applied, built from single strokes with their own own energy, color and direction. In a way, we are all works of art: layer upon layer of unique experiences, no two alike.
My role is to help you stand back and see the whole picture, to see its complexity and appreciate its beauty.