I first recall taking an interest in the field of psychology when I was in high school. Growing up in a small town where I didn't fit in, I struggled with academics, substance use, undiagnosed mental health concerns, a learning disability, being bullied, and a repressed Queer identity in a religious and conservative family. It was hard for me to take interest and apply myself, but I was most drawn into subjects like Drama, Dance, English & Literature, Social Studies and Biology. There was a teacher at my school who took initiative to create a psychology elective. Something very unique to the small highschool I attended, and the topic immediately caught my attention. I remember well learning the basics about psychoanalytic approaches like those of Freud and Jung, as well as the behaviorists like Pavlov, Skinner and Watson. I recall my interest being piqued in a way that no other subject had been able to. 

I would also finds myself gravitating to the self-help sections of bookstores, and stumbled across Dan Goldman's Emotional Alchemy. It was my first glimpse into schema therapy, mindfulness and what any therapeutic approach might look like in practice, though I wasn't yet able to put that all together. 

I applied for graduate studies to Major in Psychology right out of high school, and when I received letters stating that I did not have the grades to attend this program, I did not have the resilience or fortitude to persist in upgrading or applying to other universities or colleges. Instead, I pursued my dream to work in the performing arts - a decision that was motivated by surviving a serious car accident which shook me out of my depression and connected me to moving towards my dreams. The people, training, and performance opportunities helped me to connect with myself more deeply It wasn't until I was 26 until I was able to have the