How long have you been in your profession?
I have been practicing since 2006, working in various settings from college counseling centers and eating disorder practices to integrative clinics and most recently private practice. I’ve also been teaching yoga and integrating it with therapy since 2007.
What made you choose to be a psychologist?
Therapy changed my life and healed my heart. I wanted to pay it forward and be a source of support, encouragement, guidance, and hope for others as therapists have been for me in my life. Being a psychologist is also endlessly intellectually challenging and spiritually meaningful. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
What keeps you engaged in your work?
The results with my clients. Witnessing their progress, evolution, and healing is tremendously rewarding. I see people evolve and emerge from therapy as a more congruent, vibrant, powerful and self-loving version of themselves. I feel so grateful to play any part in that transformation. I also stay engaged by being a life-time learner, presenting research at conferences, attending trainings regularly about new therapies, voraciously reading, and continuing to do my own spiritual and personal work.
What kind of clients do you like working with most?
I love working with clients who are willing to show up, pull up their sleeves, get curious about themselves and make some real change. Though certainly we are all complex, I also enjoy working with clients who have gotten the message they are particularly complicated, even “treatment resistant” or who feel utterly stuck and disillusioned with mental health treatment. In my experience, it is often the case that pieces of the puzzle are being missed as a result of clients receiving care in a siloed healthcare system. There is much more to tap consider than talk therapy and medication- things like chronic inflammation in the body, gut health, genetic mutations, body armoring, neurologically held trauma, etc. By having a bigger picture awareness of these factors, I come at a client’s concerns from every angle and eventually the entire system- mind, body and spirit begins to come shift, integrate, and heal.
What concerns do you like to work with most?
I really enjoy variety and diversity in my work so I hesitate to say what I like to work with most. But if I had to select a few I would say chronic depression, grief and loss, trauma, eating/body concerns, existential concerns, self esteem challenges, and those with a harsh or neglectful relationship with themselves.
While thinking and challenging thought is definitely often a component of healing in psychotherapy, I think for many it feels safe but not significantly life altering. You can sit and talk at a therapist for years, fully understanding intellectually your struggles and yet see or feel absolutely no change in your life. For that reason, cognitive interventions are not my favorite nor what I see the most improvement with. I love helping my clients to learn to identify, process and relate to their emotions- which always involves reconnection and feeling the physical body and moving energy in a visceral concrete way.
To give a specific example, I had a male client who struggled with chronic depression and addiction for decades. A very intelligent client, he knew everything there was to know about depression and yet the symptoms stubbornly persisted. We identified there were likely some biological pieces such as a possible MTHFR genetic mutation we supported with targeted medication, supplementation, and the incorporation of more leafy greens in his diet. We also identified that in addition to this, a primary root cause was repressed emotion and a harsh internal critic that constantly shamed and berated him to the point he’d want to get high just to have relief from this unrelenting voice. We worked on helping him to learn to identify and actually feel emotions as well as practice self-compassion strategies regardless of how foreign they felt at first. As a result his internal relationship transformed slowly and eventually provided an environment conducive to managing addictive urges and depressive symptoms in a completely new way. Below is what he had to say about our work together:
“I have struggled with depression and addiction in varying degrees since my late teens. I am now in my 30's and in the intervening have sought help from several therapists. Dr. Roth is the only therapist that has given me a deeper understanding of the dynamics of my struggles, as well as approaches that have given me a level of control I have never had. From the first session it was clear that her approach was different. She didn’t just seek to alleviate pain in the moment, but to help me build the tools I need to address my pain for myself. She is not a band-aid solution therapist. Her approach is the only one I have experienced that was as multifaceted as my struggles. In no uncertain terms, she saved my life. I cannot recommend her enough to anyone who has not found peace through other avenues.”
What are you currently working on in your professional life?
I completed Level 1 &2 EMDR training and continue to learn more and train in Internal Family Systems, I plan to become Level 1 trained soon! I’m also an obsessive consumer of info about functional medicine, psychiatric epigenetics, and somatic psychology and find the way our psychology shows up in our bodies utterly fascinating.
Tell us about a time you really connected with a client and went above and beyond to meet Their needs.
For me, therapy and self-exploration is sacred. I so value the time, energy, money and resources people bring when they show up for therapy and are brave enough to change their lives so I show up just as hard. I truly try to go above and beyond for each of my clients because I care about them deeply and know change is possible.
What do you look for in a health care practitioner?
I look for someone who is authentic, present, has reputable credentials, thinks holistically and cares more about my needs and experience of what is going on than their need to be right or expert.