What inspired you to become a social worker?
I first became interested in social work as an undergraduate student. I went to school in rural Ohio and volunteered once a week to meet and mentor local juvenile offenders. Getting to know these teens and their daily struggles with mental health, addiction, trauma, and systemic oppression truly changed my perception of the world. After college, I landed an internship with a group of lawyers offering services to low-income families in DC. They put me in charge of connecting families with resources. This work was so difficult but so rewarding that I decided to go back to school for my Masters in Social Work.
How do you find a balance of acceptance and change in your own life?
It’s an ongoing process and some days are easier than others! I’ve found that slowing down and noticing my thoughts, emotions, and sensations in a particular moment can clue me into 1) what is present and 2) what might be missing.
For example, a common morning vignette in my house: I’m frantically trying to get out of the door, lost in self-talk about my disorganization, and feeling chaotic. A moment of awareness clues me to take a breath and practice acceptance of the current moment.
In my practice, mindfulness of the present moment is key to balancing acceptance and change.
What do you enjoy the most about working in this field?
My patients and my co-workers, no question! My week is spent interacting with such brave, smart, and interesting individuals. My days fly by because I am constantly challenged and learning something new.
What is your favorite hobby or leisure activity?
Cooking, traveling, spending time with friends and family, reading or listening to audio-books, and snuggling with our dog, Fiona, while watching scary movies with my husband.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
Both my parents are from the UK. As a child, I lived in Hungary and Poland. The most exotic places that I’ve traveled to are Kazakhstan and Malaysia. I have two older brothers; one lives in DC and one lives in London.