You know those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do when they grew up? Yeah, I'm not one of them. My path to becoming a psychotherapist and nutritionist was anything but linear and predictable.
Given that I'd skipped a grade—and that grade 13 was removed by the time I got to high school—I was 16 years old when I was picking out universities. All I knew was that I liked learning about the world and writing, so I majored in English & Sociology at the University of Toronto. Though my career aspirations remained unclear upon graduating, my curiosity about why things are the way they are led me to Western University to complete a master's degree in Journalism. By 22, I was in the workforce with two degrees under my belt.
The world of journalism felt thrilling and exciting yet somehow discouraging. Here I was learning about various problems in the world—and why they came to be—yet I was just the messenger. I couldn't help but wonder what happened to the people I interviewed, to the systemic issues I helped uncover.
On top of work-related stressors, I found myself feeling overwhelmed by life in general. Dating seemed complicated, friendships were changing, family dynamics were evolving... And so, for the first time, I decided to see a therapist. Little did I know that doing so would change my life forever.
When things felt "too much," there was my therapist ready to listen with an open ear and heart, providing objective insights that I hadn't considered. Better yet, it was someone who I knew couldn't repeat our conversations, which gave me the space to explore different things I didn't yet feel comfortable discussing with others in my life.
It also occurred to me that interviewing people as a journalist felt similar to therapy in many ways. Many of the people reported that they felt relieved to have an outlet to speak about things that were close to their heart and seemed to find the process helpful in and of itself.
After a few years of being a journalist, I decided to take the brave step of going back to school to complete my second master's degree in psychotherapy. While my inner critic lamented that I had "wasted too much time" or "spent too much money" on my journalism degree, I can see now that it has made me an even better psychotherapist. My innate curiosity allows me to explore things in a non-judgmental way and my awareness of systemic issues allows me to bring my value of inclusivity into each session as well. I guess there's a reason that the cliché that "everything happens for a reason" has held up for so many years.
I consider myself to be an empathetic, optimistic, kind-hearted individual who is committed to doing whatever I can to make the world a better place. Simultaneously, I feel like good therapy is about more than just receiving empathy; sometimes we need to learn skills, strategies and knowledge that can improve our wellbeing, too.
Additionally, I'd describe myself as being a pretty "straight shooter." With your permission, I value asking thought-provoking—even tough—questions or sharing my observations if I feel they could be useful. Overall, I strive to bring a healthy balance of compassion and 'calling-you-out' to each session as I've experienced this as being the best recipe for lasting change.