The New Power Couple – Top Relationship Tips From The Author’s Blog

Below is our interpretation of the best relationship tips found on the blog of the Freemans, authors of The New Power Couple: Designing An Abundant Life And Relationship That Lasts Forever which you can get at https://www.amazon.com/New-Power-Couple-Designing-Relationship-ebook/dp/B01M71GL79.

1. Conflict resolution: Accept that conflicts will happen during the relationship in the future, and be better prepared for it by setting rules about what is or isn’t acceptable (e.g. crying is okay but physical intimidation is off-limits). Resist the natural urge to stand your ground on your point of view being the correct one and try listening to each other to work towards a common middle ground. Empathize with and put yourself in your partner’s shoes to better understand their position, and communicate what you felt to make sure you got it right.

2. Relationships as life challenges: Challenging experiences in relationships (not limited to romantic ones) are learning and self-improvement opportunities as they provide insights about yourself that you can’t see directly, but beware of relationships that are simply too damaging. Even positive relationship challenges may not necessarily feel pleasant, but recognizing them as learning experiences and how you react to and deal with them determines how much you learn and gain from them.

3. Habits to create with your partner: Do something together in the morning that’s “offline” – no smartphones, no electronics. Ask each other specific, thought-provoking questions. Read things with substance rather than the shallow things that pervade the world today. Be aware of each other’s schedules. Engage in activities that promote learning and self-improvement. While it’s good to have goals, it’s more important to enjoy the journey itself.

4. Becoming a closer couple: Always find time to have fun (it helps to take full advantage of the time-saving conveniences of the modern world, and often it’s worth not being so frugal here), especially somewhere with lots of greenery rather than indoors or in the middles of a concrete jungle, and find things that you can afford to remove from your schedule. Don’t be lazy or utilitarian with electronic communication – make sure love and affection aren’t missing from them too. Keep the focus on the two of you rather than worrying whether your relationship measures up to those of others.

Interview with Rochelle Schwartz, LPC, MA, QMHP

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I decided to become a therapist in high school after hearing that I was a great listener and advice giver, and realizing I loved being that for friends. I attended college and received a BA in psychology, and continued on to get an MA in Counseling. I now am an LPC with over 5 years of private practice experience, and previously 5 years experience in a variety of mental health settings.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It brings me so much gratitude and joy to be let into folks’ lives in vulnerable moments to help them morph into their best selves. It never feels like a job, and much more of an honor. My hope is that if one person can re-illuminate themselves, that they’ll spread that light and love to others causing a beautiful domino effect.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

A few things: I teach people that what other’s do is much more often a reflection of the doer than of the receiver, and to find security in one’s own self, so that they can find like-minded people to surround themselves with; I don’t often focus on the situation, but rather the pattern or the underlying reasons that the problem is occurring. I also teach mindfulness, which is a way of checking in with oneself before reacting, and instead giving a thoughtful response in an interaction. I offer weekly practice/homework so that you can continue to see progress outside of the therapy space.

I offer telehealth (confidential video sessions) to help reduce travel time, gas expense, and carbon footprint. This form of therapy is beneficial to those who are housebound, ill, traveling a lot, busy, or living ruraly and has been shown in studies to be equally if not more beneficial to clients than the traditional face-to-face model.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Oh it totally depends on what situation is being presented. 

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Your insurance might reimburse out of network providers, so if you aren’t happy with your insurance-covered therapist, call the insurance company to ask at what rate do they reimburse out of network providers; therapists are trained to be unbiased so you can feel safe sharing an unpopular opinion or shameful experience you’ve had; just about everyone has gone to a therapist and/or should – therapists do, doctors do, plumbers do, homeless people do…Lastly, I’d like to raise public awareness of teletherapy as an equally beneficial alternative to the office. There are many, many therapists who provide this service, including myself.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

As a patient, not being completely honest and not doing your practice/homework both slow progress. Well-trained therapists, though also only human, shouldn’t be making big mistakes in my definition of “big mistake”

Bio

Relationships of all kinds propel us on the course of our lives, and can sometimes cause us to question our actions, values, and worth, thus weakening trust and connection with our inner voice. My goal is to help you wade through the layers of the onion that is you to re-discover your true self, the one that you feel you were meant to be so that you may live a happy and fulfilling life. To do so, I tailor a treatment plan specifically for you, drawing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Collaborative Problem Solving, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, brief solution-focused models, and humanistic and existential techniques.

I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Spanish, and a Master of Arts in Counseling, both from Pacific University and a year-long internship at an alternative high school for at-risk teens. I also have work experience in multiple community mental health settings with children and teenagers. I participated in an 8-week long Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction training course, Ecotherapy training course, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy training courses, Gottman’s Couples Counseling training course, DSM 5 training course, Spirituality and Religion in Therapy training course, and multiple LGBTQ trainings. Please contact me to set up a 30-minute complimentary consultation, or to get right to work with a 50-minute appointment. RochelleSchwartzCounseling@gmail.com 503-410-3048. I am licensed to work with clients in Oregon and New Jersey. 

Straight from a Horse’s Mouth – Top Relationship Tips From The Author’s Blog

Below is our interpretation of the best relationship tips found in the blog post series “Lessons from Jove” by Jana Kellam (Jove is a late horse and friend), author of Straight from a Horse’s Mouth: Relationship Secrets that Take Your Love Life from Meh to Magical which you can get at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075ZZ8MNG.

1. True love is being genuine rather than being manipulative and knowing to show appreciation for what you have received rather than asking for more.

2. Benefits of grieving: it “detoxes” your body and makes you feel better afterwards, serves as a posthumous bonding experience with the departed, enriches your understanding of yourself and makes life feel more vivid and intense.

3. When initiating an interaction with someone (like starting a conversation with a stranger in the subway), be empathetic and considerate rather than selfish so that it’s not an unpleasant experience for them. If you want others to initiate an interaction with you, make sure you’re not giving off a closed, uninviting vibe.

4. Focusing too much on trying to follow idealistic and preconceived notions of a “good” relationship can be counterproductive to creating a deeper connection which is better served by letting things flow naturally.

5. Boundaries are important for a healthy relationship, and even more important is clearly communicating them.

6. Be cognizant of the fact that what you think your partner is experiencing can be completely different to what they are actually experiencing – rather than acting from your own perspective, put that aside and focus on listening and understanding them more.

7. Anger can be caused by fear, so whenever you feel anger try to find the root fear behind it. Do the same when someone shows anger towards you.

8. Tips for less toxic social media interactions: Be calm and impartial – get away from the screen and do something relaxing if you have to. Don’t be so serious all the time. Try to find something in common with the person you’re interacting with. Indicate that you have read and understand their position rather than “talking over” them. Learn to walk away from a conversation you no longer want to engage in (albeit respectfully).

9. Unconditional love doesn’t equal being a doormat – loving yourself is a prerequisite to loving others.

Embracing Conflict – Top Dating And Relationship Tips From The Author’s Articles

Below is our interpretation of the best dating and relationship tips found in Paula Quinsee’s articles, author of Embracing Conflict: Why we should and how we can benefit which you can get at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CBT3XNS.

1. Long distance relationships: Be aware of and prepared for its hardships before entering into one. Communication is everything, especially for building and maintaining trust and honesty and minimizing jealousy (which are more important than ever). Set a time limit (e.g. 1 year) so that you don’t feel that you will be apart indefinitely. When you do meet, don’t overwhelm your schedule or your time together might end up being rushed and shallow.

2. Dating at an older age: It’s more likely for there to be haunting pasts. It can be harder to meet new people (for both internal and external reasons). Identity and loneliness issues can lead to behaviors and emotions that can be obstacles to dating. You’re more likely to encounter larger age differences which can bring its own set of problems.

3. Household chores with your partner: It’s best to begin discussing this issue when everyone’s in a good mood (and to keep it that way by maintaining an attitude of gratitude). Go over every single chore in detail and work out who enjoys or is good at what, and which ones are best done together. It may take time to adapt to new rules and routines that you agree on so be patient and understanding.

4. Valentine’s day tips: Pen and paper may be dying out in general for practical use, but when in comes to love it will forever remain one of the most beautiful and powerful forms of communication. Do something that makes their day easier for them. Don’t limit it to the one day – feel free to extend it in either direction. Get creative with sentimental gifts and organizing memorable and enjoyable experiences that show that you put thought and effort into them.

5. Loneliness: It’s your responsibility and while you can choose not to meet people for various reasons, the loneliness that inevitably follows is not something you can control. Try new activities or rediscover ones that you enjoyed in the past, especially social ones. Take care of your physical well-being – a fit body helps you to have a fit mind.

Relationship Expert Dr. Paulette Sherman – Top Dating Tips From Her Blog


Below is our interpretation of the best dating tips found on the blog of Dr. Paulette Sherman, author of several relationship books and many more on other topics – see them at https://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Kouffman-Sherman/e/B001JRUK30.

1. Ways to meet other singles: The online route (dating websites, social media, etc.) opens lots of options for low cost/risk/effort and has the advantage of being easier to see (at the very least) basic info of prospects before you interact with them (like age). Offline methods are largely divided into hobbies or interest groups, dedicated matchmaking environments and places where singles tend to mingle – some of these environments will naturally be composed of more compatible people while with others you may have to choose specific versions like ones with a specific age range.

2. Showing interest: Smiling and looking at someone can make it more likely for them to make the first move and approach by giving them more confidence that the outcome will be positive. Don’t overthink conversation starters – the simplest of small talk can easily lead to bigger things in the future.

3. First date: Keep your eyes and attention focused your date only and don’t let it wander (whether that be to another person or an object). Mind your manners. Be on time. Stick to positive conversation topics (and make sure they do more talking than you do). Dress well but not in something that makes you uncomfortable.

4. Being single during the holidays: You are worth no less and your life no less rich than if you were with someone – and make sure to tell people as much if they suggest otherwise (not to mention it’s none of their business). Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you’re undesirable, and you should be able to find plenty of real-life examples of other people that prove and reinforce this (and which incidentally should be ones you spend your time with).

5. Rejection: Keep your head and self-esteem up – rejection by nature is subjective, not objective. Remember that rejection happens most of the time to most people in most situations (and not just with dating but with everything else in life as well). Think about the reverse situation too – the next time you meet someone you would reject outright, consider giving them a second (or third) chance.

Dating Again with Courage and Confidence – Top Post-Breakup Tips From The Book

Below is our interpretation of the best post-breakup tips found in the book Dating Again with Courage and Confidence: The Five-Step Plan to Revitalize Your Love Life After Heartbreak, Breakup, Or Divorce by Fran Greene which you can get at https://www.amazon.com/Dating-Again-Courage-Confidence-Revitalize/dp/1592337600.

1. Take consolation in the fact that a breakup is not a tragedy in that at least one party has decided that they couldn’t see a future together – it’s not a Romeo and Juliet situation where external forces tore apart something special, but rather it was doomed already.

2. Even though the one doing the dumping usually has an easier time mentally, it doesn’t necessarily mean they come out unscathed.

3. Indulging in enjoyable activities will help your mind heal (especially physically healthy ones), but stay away from harmful or addictive ones.

4. Cut off all contact with the ex and all news about them. At the same time, get and stay close with emotionally supportive friends, family and professionals.

5. Stop viewing yourself from the POV of the ex and focus on why you’re a good catch in the eyes of a stranger – list them, being specific, detailed and comprehensive.

6. Like a hoarder who refuses to throw away useless things that they mistakenly feel as having value (to their own detriment), doing the same with remnants of the ex (physical and mental) is simply not worth it. To kick things off, clean out your home of all the things you don’t need (even ones not related to the ex).

7. While a new relationship is a logical and reasonable response to a breakup as it fills many of the newly-created voids in your life, avoid jumping into one immediately, using it as an emotional crutch, expecting too much from it or repeating past mistakes. Give yourself time to prepare mentally and physically for a new relationship by looking and feeling your best.

8. You might feel like not going to school or work, but it’s actually a good time to double down and become a workaholic – not only will it help you take your mind off things but the improved work/school performance that will likely result will be further helpful. Not employed or studying? You can also do this with any other activity that involves helping other people.

LOVE Beyond Your Dreams – Top Relationship Tips From The Author’s Blog

Below is our interpretation of the best relationship tips we found on the blog of Riana Milne, author of LOVE Beyond Your Dreams – Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve! which you can get at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JXMDBHA.

1. Sibling rivalry: Avoid confrontation during family holidays and special occasions (and if you feel uncomfortable seeing a sibling at all due to past trauma, it’s okay to skip them entirely). A good reason to let go of past grievances is that people change, and putting the emphasis on a positive future will free and empower you. Keep your cool in response to provocation.

2. Marriage finances: Be honest about your past or existing money flaws. Be transparent while maintaining balance and independence. Don’t be (a) spendthrift(s). Don’t rush to tie the knot until you at least have a positive net worth. Schedule regular and frequent money talks.

3. Signs of trouble in a marriage: Greatly reduced physical contact. Conversations that resemble work-related communication between coworkers. One person beginning to feel like a domestic worker in a vacant home. Not confiding secrets in each other first.

4. Honesty in a relationship: If you’re unhappy about the how your partner’s behavior or attitude towards you has changed over time, don’t forget to think about whether you’re guilty of the same thing. Be faithful even in the face of temptation – this requires active, preventative vigilance otherwise you risk “accidentally” cheating.

5. Upset about a commitment-phobe? It could be the least of your worries (and a pointless one) if you’re overlooking other major flaws that make them an unsuitable marriage partner in the first place.

6. Toxic relationships: The mental toll a toxic partner inflicts in a relationship can have very real effects on your physical health. The causes of repeatedly falling for toxic people in the first place involves being afraid of trying healthier but unfamiliar relationship approaches, refusing to acknowledge the negative influence of past trauma(s), not being picky enough to the point of recklessness and being too idealistic – in most cases the root cause of all these is low self-worth and a sense of helplessness.

7. Delaying physical intimacy can not only help you see more clearly whether you are compatible with someone mentally, it can also help create space to develop compatibility in the first place.

10 Things I Learned From The Book Loving Bravely

Below are 10 things I learned from reading Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want by Alexandra H. Solomon PhD which you can get at:

https://www.amazon.com/Loving-Bravely-Twenty-Lessons-Self-Discovery/dp/1626255814

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loving-bravely-alexandra-h-solomon/1124807870

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781626255814

1. Your earliest experiences with relationships you observed and had with other people in childhood reflects and affects the way you approach relationships in adulthood, mostly without you even realizing it.

2. Your current approach to relationships aren’t set in stone, but changing things (if they were negatively affected by past experiences) requires you to engage in the possibly unpleasant (or worse) task of facing the past from an objective perspective – not acknowledging it at all doesn’t mean it goes away, rather it means that it stealthily continues to influence you.

3. Rebelling against a negative past can backfire if you misguidedly choose a seemingly opposite but ultimately reactionary and equally negative path, e.g. becoming a needy and clinging person in response to emotionally detached parents.

4. Problems in a relationship are rarely, if ever, entirely the fault of one party. It’s best to for both sides to look deep inside themselves to assess whether what they perceive as problematic in a partner are in fact mired in subjectivity arising from hurtful past experiences. It’s important though that the pendulum doesn’t swing to other way to blindly absolving the partner of any wrongdoing all the time.

5. While the past can’t be changed, your life story depends on how you interpret it – like how the atmosphere and plot of and entire movie can be changed completely depending on how it’s shot and edited.

6. There are emotional equivalents of “acquired food sensitivities” – paint points created from life experiences that are so deeply entrenched that you virtually forget about them, which actually gives them more power to disrupt your relationships with others.

7. Emotional responses, positive or negative, are an unavoidable part of life. It’s important to be honest about them while at the same time making sure they don’t overwhelm and control you by recognizing when that starts to happen, without necessarily suppressing them.

8. Anger is not inherently good or evil, but like an unpeeled pineapple it’s unpalatable and unpresentable without cutting it and reaching the soft fruit inside – the more vulnerable root emotion that you are afraid of sharing.

9. Rather than explicitly making demands in the relationship, reveal the emotions that make you want to make such demands, e.g. “I feel worried that you might cheat on me” rather than “I don’t want you to have opposite-gender friends!”. It’s important to do this without implying that they caused you to feel this way.

Interview with Samantha Dareff, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I majored in womens studies in college and began to do a lot of public advocacy work around gender equality but soon realized I wanted to help people on a more direct and interpersonal level. I traveled to India to volunteer at a womens short stay home, among various projects, and there realized that clinical social work was the path I wanted to take. I came home, applied to graduate school at NYU and have been practicing ever since!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think being a part of another persons growing process is a really special thing. I love seeing my patients discover new parts of themselves and become stronger in their self-identities and relationships.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

One of my favorite relationship tips is to remember to stay true to who you are. It is so common to get wrapped up in other people’s perceptions of us and lose site of who we are at times. Believing in your personal value is integral to any relationship. And of course open communication and trust!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think its important to look at therapy not just as a space to “fix” something or deal with a problem. Therapy can be a powerful vehicle of reflection in order to gain increased self-awareness. Giving yourself time amidst your busy life to work on the relationship with yourself is invaluable!

Bio

Please visit www.Dareffpsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Rachel Buchan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was interested in people. This began as an interest in Theology and Anthropology, but whittled down to an interest in therapy — In the personal and subjective experiences an individual has rather than looking at those experiences on a larger scale or a group level. As I began to learn, I become very interested in the process of therapy, and the way in which a skilled form of listening and a therapeutic relationship can bring about change.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching an individual change. Without doubt. As a therapist, you are granted the permission to meet with someone often at their darkest times – at a point of crisis, chaos, pain, confusion. Over time you then become witness, in a very personal way, to the change that begins to come about for that person if the individual is putting the work into the counselling.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

For me it’s the focus on the individual. This sounds obvious, but the mode in which I work (integrative) means that my focus will be on that person, on their unique set of circumstances, experiences and personality, and what is the best way to work with them. This is very different to the concept of ‘this my mode of therapy and you either fit in with it or not’. Rather, integrative therapy encourages adapting your approach to the individual in front of you.

This also places the emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, which I think is best established by working this way.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

This links to the above question – I’m not a fan of tips / advice as my role as a counsellor is not to give out advice. Also, what will be a good ‘tip’ for one person will be completely different to another, as their circumstances will not be the same.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My goodness, so many things! The good news is that at the moment, in the UK, this is being done for me. There is a big drive around raising public awareness of mental health, and caring for your mental health in the same way you would your physical health. This awareness also focuses on challenging the stigma that has traditionally surrounded mental health. So there’s lots of fantastic campaigns happening and many people are opening up about their own personal experiences of mental health, and the support they sought out.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The most important thing about mistakes in therapy is that they’re discussed. The onus for doing this I believe lies with the therapist who, if they think they made a mistake in some way, is first able to take it to supervision for discussion and second, if appropriate, has the ability to check in on what happened with the client; finding out how the client feels about it. The therapist is hopefully also able to be transparent with the client about what went wrong for them in that moment.
Equally, if the client has said or done something “triggering” for the therapist, the onus lies with the therapist to discuss this in supervision – exploring why they have reacted the way that they did, and whether this is to do with therapist and should be kept with the therapist, or whether it is potentially something useful to take back to the client and into the therapy.

“Mistakes” or what I would call “ruptures” in therapy are difficult, but if dealt with rather than shied away from, are often a very rich part of the therapeutic process.

Bio

You can learn more about Rachel Buchan at https://rachelbuchanpsychotherapy.co.uk.

Interview with Mari Grande, LCSW-R, LCAT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My background is in the Arts. My initial professional intention was healing through the use of art, teaching and leading groups. I still love that, but find a lot of richness and reward working with individuals and families in a more intimate setting. Before becoming a therapist, I was lucky to have some wonderful therapy experiences by kind, smart, and generous people. Those role models affect me to this day (past and current).

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I like to use the body a lot. Whether it is by making art, tracking somatic experiences, or noticing something in the body. It becomes a powerful tool to understanding (from the inside out) which leads to a ‘felt’ sense, and that can deepen and connect experience to understanding. (There is no knowledge without understanding.)

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Incorporate fun and play. Fun motivates, and without fun learning is dull and boring. Especially when there is tough stuff to learn about each other. For instance, role play is fun and gives a fresh and often unexpected result. Art games can also serve a similar purpose.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

If you are in therapy it does not mean something is wrong with you. It usually means you want more. It takes a lot of courage and self-love (NOT self-obsession) to make time for your mind, body, and spirit to grow.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Timing. Going too fast is usually the problem. We are not “fixers” or need to be “fixed.” There are ways to have greater awareness, insight, and understanding; tools and techniques can help you get there more effectively, but the most important tool that needs to develop is something inside each and every one of us.

Bio

Mari Grande is a licensed Creative Arts Therapist and licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice in New York City where she sees individuals and families. Her specialty is helping people work through overwhelming circumstances and reaching deeper understandings of themselves and their relationships. She is also an EMDR therapist and EMDR consultant in training, Hypnotherapist, and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in training. Mari is on the faculty of the Institute for Expressive Analysis (IEA), former Director of Admissions at IEA, and currently on the National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP) Executive Committee of the Integrative Trauma Program.

For more information or to schedule a session please contact Mari directly:

Mari Grande, LCSW-R, LCAT, EMDR therapy
Creative Arts Psychotherapist
122 East 42nd Street, 1724
New York, NY 10168
212-871-6856
mari@marigrande.com

www.marigrande.com

Interview with Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

During my work as a spiritual counselor and transformational life coach, I would often receive referrals from other coaches whose clients were not sustaining their gains. Most times, there were unresolved childhood issues wreaking havoc in their relationships. The problems in their relationships would then impact every other area of life, resulting in a backslide so to speak. I realized that formal training as a psychotherapist was necessary to be able to fully serve my clientele.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love helping my clients to release what no longer serves them, resolve and heal the past and create the future they desire; but it is so much more than that. I am deeply honored to facilitate this healing work. I get to be a witness to their return to authenticity and true self love. Once they have shed their unconscious programs, self-sabotage mechanisms, and blocks to self-love they recreate themselves and meet themselves anew. It is a sacred and holy experience and I am profoundly grateful every day.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I combine an east meets west approach by combining scientific evidence-based techniques with holistic, spiritual and shamanic techniques. I am trained in accessing the subconscious and unconscious mind, including pre-verbal trauma, birth trauma and conception trauma. This helps me to be able to get to the root of any issue and takes much less time than traditional talk therapy.

I facilitate women’s circles in person and online and am the founder of The Awakened Feminine Retreat, an international transformational experience. My next retreat is in Scotland on August 9th, 2018.

www.lisaangelini.com/awakened-feminine-retreat

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

(1) Your relationship with yourself will determine the quality of your relationships with others. (2) People can only meet you as far as they have met themselves and vice versa. (3) When you have a big reaction or trigger to something happening in the present, there is usually a thread to the past; an unhealed part of self or unresolved issue.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

(1) There is no shame in seeking therapy. Everyone can benefit from healing and taking there lives to the next level. (2) PTSD is not a life sentence. Find someone trained and with experience in EMDR to resolve this issue.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

As, I work with a holistic, wellness model and not one of illness, I prefer to use the term “client” instead of patient. It is important that therapists do their own therapy and healing work. If we are going to help people and lead people, people we must continue to work on ourselves. It is equally important that clients are as honest as they can be in their therapy sessions. If they are not, then the therapist is just directing their fantasy.

Bio

For over 15 years, Lisa Angelini has made it her life’s passion to assist individuals and groups in unifying body, heart, and spirit to achieve their highest potential – reclaiming their inherent self-worth, gifts, talents, and joy. Using a unique combination of Western techniques as a licensed Psychotherapist, and the universal spiritual wisdom and teachings of the Shamans, she tailors an approach to reveal behavioral patterns that no longer serve and replace them with effective strategies to bring meaning and healing, allowing for a fuller and purpose-driven life.

With compassion, love, humor, and positive insights Lisa pulls on her extensive training and her own life experience to help others along their healing journey. In addition to releasing the everyday blocks that keep us from becoming the best versions of ourselves, she is noted for treating addictions and addictive relationships, body image and eating disorders, trauma resolution including complex PTSD and divorce recovery.

Lisa offers on-site intensives, individual or group counseling and coaching sessions at her Scottsdale, Arizona office, and web-based or phone consultation. She hosts women’s retreats both nationally and internationally and is available for speaking engagements.

For more information or to schedule a session, training, or workshop, please contact her office.
www.lisaangelini.com
lisaangeliniLPC@gmail.com

​For information about The Awakened Feminine Retreat-Coming Home to Self
www.lisaangelini.com/awakened-feminine-retreat

Interview with Simone Ayers MBACP

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was working in an office in Central London when I first began training. It had often been suggested to me that I would make a good counsellor and I wanted to learn some new skills so I enrolled on an introductory course to see what it was all about. I quickly discovered that I had a huge passion for personal development and working with others to overcome their mental and emotional challenges. I continued studying out of pure enjoyment and satisfaction for learning about counselling for another year before deciding that I wanted to turn that passion into a career and make the commitment to go on to become fully trained and qualified.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching people learn to trust themselves and their own instincts, being part of the process of someone overcoming obstacles they never felt possible and seeing the changes that clients experience in their lives and relationships. No day is ever the same as a therapist and I have long learned to “expect the unexpected”. It’s a huge privilege when people share their most private and difficult feelings with me and I take that honour and responsibility very seriously.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As much as it’s important to spend time focusing on our relationships and improving communication I think it’s essential to remember to nurture ourselves as individuals as well. We need time to ourselves to replenish and refresh so that we have enough energy to put into a relationship and accommodate the needs of the other person. Remember when you first met your partner you were attracted to THEM, who they were, what they did and what they stood for not just how they could serve you in a relationship (hopefully!).

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

1.Talk! 2.Listen! It sounds obvious but it works. And I don’t necessarily mean talking for hours every day about your relationship, I mean keeping the line of communication open so that when there are important things to talk about everyone feels they will be given the time, space and respect to do so. And if you really don’t want to talk, saying something like “I don’t want to talk right now because its too hard/I’m really exhausted/if I start talking I think I’ll break down so this isn’t the best time” is better than an aggressive rebuff if you can manage it! It helps the other person to feel respected and give them an idea of how you are feeling which means there may be some non-verbal way that they may be able to support you or initiate closeness whether that’s a hug or giving you some space.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That it’s a positive way to take care of yourself rather than a sign of weakness. Most often people struggle on carrying intense burdens as they feel they ought to be able to deal with everything on their own. By the time we go to see a counsellor we have often reached crisis point and are completely burnt out but you don’t have to wait until you get to that point.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a therapist I think it would be making too many assumptions that you know what the clients experience is. Every individual processes and experiences things differently. For clients I’d say coming to therapy because you feel pressured to by someone else. It’s your journey and you have to be ready and willing to participate if there is going to be any real benefit.

Bio

I am based in the UK and work with adults and teenagers in Tring Hertfordshire and Aylesbury Buckinghamshire. I also provide online counselling by video, Messaging or email. I will also be offering Couples counselling sessions from Aug/Sept 2018. You can visit my website http://www.simoneayerscounselling.com for more information or email me at info@simoneayerscounselling.com.

An Illness By Any Other Name

What does it mean to be ill? And who gets to decide which illnesses are worthy of being researched, treated, discussed, and valid? Physical illness and mental illness are not treated equally. As a society, we are slowly making it ok to talk about mental illness, but the stigma is still there. Our culture has done an excellent job of empowering people to seek treatment for various physical illnesses. When we become physically ill, as in our bodies are not functioning the way they usually do, we are encouraged to seek medical treatment. Indeed, it has taken time for us to be able to say the word “cancer” without whispering it, and now, notice how much compassion we have for those struggling with and how empowered we feel to treat cancer. Notice we cannot say the same about mental illness.

We consider annual physical check-ups and teeth cleaning twice a year (those of us who don’t fear the dentist!) the norm and even recommended. Why do we not recommend “mental health check-ups”? Take a moment and ask yourself, why, if we value healthcare in our culture, why does it matter whether it is physical or mental health? When we struggle with our thoughts, feelings, and reactions to life experiences, it makes sense to get mental health treatment.

A mental health check-up and/or therapy is just as necessary if not more so when working toward wellness and healthcare. Why? Because, if, as a society we are unable to cultivate compassion for one another, driven by irrational belief systems, and unable to manage our emotional reactivity, our relationships will suffer. Family functioning will suffer, teamwork will suffer, and our interdependence upon one another for survival will suffer. Our very survival is at risk if we cannot manage our relationships in healthy ways. No one is expected to know how to have healthy relationships. It is learned behavior, and a skill set to be taught. How can parents be expected to teach their children about healthy relationships if they never learned it either? So dysfunctional relationships, poor communication skills, and inadequate coping skills are getting passed down from generation to generation.

We live in a time where mental health awareness and wellness is peeking out from under the rug. There are tons of books and teaching aids available now so no one has an excuse to say they didn’t know how to resolve conflict better, teach mutual respect in the home, encourage positive self-esteem, and engage in a healthy intimate relationship. Anyone who has had a positive counseling or psychotherapy experience is encouraged to share it with the world, as it is a gift to share wellness, not hide from it in shame.

I dream of a world where an annual mental health check-up is the norm beginning at the age of 3.This is the age that children with educational and medical limitations are screened at the school level for accommodations and programming for special needs. We are all special and we all have needs. We can begin to take better care of ourselves by focusing not just on the medical health care, but also mental health care.

Bio

Laurie L. Rosen, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Red Maple Court
10617 Jones Street #201A
Fairfax Virginia 22030
703-239-2600
laurielrosenlcsw@gmail.com
www.laurielrosenlcsw.com

Serving individuals, couples, and families in the public and private sector for 30 years, Laurie earned both a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology, and Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maryland. Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in Virginia, Laurie is certified as an LCSW supervisor. In her private practice in Fairfax, Virginia, Laurie provides treatment for: depression, anxiety, couple issues, parenting, physical and emotional trauma, stress management, eating disorders, life transitions, chronic illness, and grief and loss. She provides mental health consultation to private school programs, as well as presents custom workshops and staff development about various mental health topics. As a participating provider with “Give An Hour”, she offers pro bono mental health services to military personnel and their families.

Interview with Psychotherapist Emily Rooney

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My reason for becoming a Therapist was due to having a confusing childhood. I really wanted and needed to understand myself and other people, the way we think, feel and behave. My own personal issues led me to seek counselling in my teens, and Counselling training followed in my 20’s. I want to be the therapist I would have wanted when I was really struggling to understand and shift my own mental health. I have always believed that people have the potential to grow, develop, change or accept who they are and I want to be able to help facilitate that in my clients.
I started a Counselling Listening skills course, up to Level 6, at Hull University. I then completed my Counselling and Psychotherapy training at SCPTI (Scarborough). I have since completed a Therapy with Adolescents certificate with The Relational Academy in Cambridge.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have many rewarding moments but a lovely one in particular was receiving a card from the Mother of a young woman, who came to me experiencing anxiety and low self-esteem, to tell me that her daughter was a ‘different girl to the one I brought to you a year ago…her transition to Uni went better than she expected and she seems to be loving it’.
When clients have a ‘breakthrough’, having become aware of something of themselves they hadn’t realised before, or coming back the following session to reflect how they’d tried something different in their lives which had a positive emotional impact, is always rewarding.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel that I have a very honest approach to my work and my own background and experiences help inform my intuitions, hunches and approach to how I might gently challenge my client in order to bring about their own awareness.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is for anyone. It is not a sign of weakness to seek emotional support, rather, a sign of bravery. Therapy is not a quick fix, nor should it pretend to be. Therapy becomes part of your journey of understanding, awareness, self-acceptance, perhaps even change and one of the most important and rewarding parts is the therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. When a client says they feel listened to, understood, heard, not judged and supported, to name but a few, then they potentially go away feeling more wise about themselves than before they came.

Bio

Emily Rooney is A Relational Counsellor and Integrative Psychotherapist for 7 years, supporting adults and young people in Whitby, Scarborough and Filey. You can learn more about her at https://psychotherapywithemily.com/.

Interview with Psychotherapist Paul Jozsef

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My decision to become a therapist was largely informed by having had my own therapy at various points in my life; I felt that I wanted to give back/pay it forward in some form. Further, if I am to be honest, my decision to become a therapist also involved internalising and accepting the Jungian concept of the wounded healer.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I find witnessing my client’s ‘penny drop’ moments the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist. That is, seeing a client have a breakthrough realisation. I feel very privileged being able to share such an intimate and illuminating experience with another person.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As alluded to above, I have experienced, and worked through, a significant amount of early childhood trauma. I feel that this facilitates/allows a natural empathy and vulnerability. These emotional qualities allow me to sit with another person who may be in pain without having to explicitly say, “I understand how you feel”.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My favourite interpersonal relationship tip is a therapeutic technique that I ‘borrowed’ from colleague who ‘appropriated’ it from a rehab clinic: the three-sentence technique. It is a method of deescalating arguments through reality checking and emotional vulnerability. In essence, the technique goes a little like this: “when I notice…”, “I make up…”, and I feel…”

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I feel that in Australia, there is an inherent culture of ‘machoness’. That is, a strong Aussie bloke isn’t free to share their struggles with mental illness. I like to talk and share about the prevalence of anxiety (and depression) in Australian society. I feel it is essential to talk about, and make clear, that there is no shame or weakness in males experiencing anxiety.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistake a therapist or a client can make is being inauthentic. That is, pretending like you have all the answers. We all struggle to some extent with ‘stuff’. To be open, share and be vulnerable is, to my mind, a true strength.

Bio

Paul Jozsef Counselling & Psychotherapy provides psychology services for adults, adolescents and couples seeking therapy in Surry Hills, Sydney.

For further information, please visit: http://pauljozsef.com.au/.

Interview with Psychotherapist Naelah Khan

Naelah has been practicing as an Integrative Psychotherapist and Counsellor for individuals and couples for over eighteen years.

She has worked in private practice for over nine years alongside working as a specialist individual therapist and group facilitator to survivors of trauma for the past fourteen years. She previously worked in the NHS as a Primary Care Counsellor for eight years and in several domestic violence organisations as a counsellor for six years.

She has extensive experience of working with a wide range of issues including depression, relationships, workplace concerns, trauma, PTSD and cross cultural problems.
She is widening her practice with clinical supervision of individuals and groups and running reflective groups for organisations.

Naelah is a Registered and Accredited member of BACP & is UKCP Registered.

Further details can be found at:
www.wellness-therapy.com
E: info@wellness-therapy.com

How or Why Did you Become A Therapist?

I always wanted to work in the psychological field and to help people and recently found comments in my school books from friends wishing me luck in my ambitions to be a psychologist. I was fascinated by people, their behaviours, actions, choices and was always questioning the part played by nature vs nurture, free will, luck and all the other variables present in our lives.

I went on to study Psychology at University, then counselling and a more rigorous psychotherapy training a few years later.

What Are The Most Rewarding Aspects of Being A Therapist?

Meeting and forming unique relationships with amazing, inspiring people whom in ordinary circumstances are lives may have never crossed paths. It’s exciting and gratifying being alongside them in their journey of recovery. My work in the trauma field has been especially humbling. I’ve been able to work long term with women who would never be able to access specialised therapy.

What’s unique or special or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

When I form a therapeutic relationship, I take into consideration the individual and all the wider systems they may belong to. This can include their ethnicity, religious culture they may have grown up in, gender, educational background, culture, workplace organisations and all the other groupings they may be a part of.

We all belong to various sub-cultures that may influence our perception of ourselves, our place in it and of the wider world.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listen to your gut, the innate voice inside you that guides you. When you trust your instinct, there is a level of belief in the self, a confidence in your ability to know what is right for you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The choice to have therapy doesn’t have to be driven by a crisis. Just as we have a yearly tune up for our car and boiler so we should for our emotional and mental well-being. I would like to encourage people to create a space to check in with themselves from time to time and reassess their emotional and psychological health.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Mistakes can often be a source of learning in therapy, for both client and therapist. It requires trust, willingness and a commitment to work through ruptures and learn from them. Oftentimes it can strengthen the therapeutic relationship and reveal patterns of relating and managing conflict which may not have emerged ordinarily.

Interview with Montreal Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Nicolina Ratto, MA, PhD, CCC

“I help heal the relationships people have with themselves, with close others, and with the world.”

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My earliest memories are about helping people who suffered, were misunderstood or mistreated. As a shy and sensitive child, I had an innate ability to understand people’s emotions leading me to develop a helping role early in elementary school. For example, I remember giving some of my clothes to a young girl that I barely knew who was bullied because of what she wore. I wanted to protect her from future bullying.

As far as I can remember, I have had an enduring fascination with human relationships and behavior. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives but I wanted to do it with the right qualifications. I studied attachment relationships as part of my graduate research. My clinical training and experience furthered my specialization in relational and emotional well-being.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being chosen to work with a client is both an honor and a reward. I experience awe when I see the incredible resilience and growth that can arise from people’s pain and suffering. I am deeply moved when I see my clients positively transform their relationship with themselves and/or with others. There are no greater emotional rewards than to see my clients heal, grow and thrive!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a strong background in attachment theory and research which guides my clinical practice. Given that attachment relationships influence people’s experience and regulation of emotions, it has helped me better understand differences in the way people connect and relate to each other, manage relational conflicts and breakups.

I also do not use a one-size-fits-all psychology approach.I am fundamentally person-centered and integrative in practice. Scientifically-supported therapies are approached holistically (mind-body-brain), and customized to the needs of each individual person.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • Create more positive couple interactions. Research found couples with a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions have happier more satisfying relationships. ​
  • Show appreciation. Hug, cuddle or touch your partner daily. Oxytocin (the love hormone) is triggered by touch and intimacy and found to reduce stress and promote couple bonding and trust.
  • Share jokes and laugh together every day. Shared laughter (not mocking or sarcasm) has been found to boost interpersonal positivity, intimacy and relationship quality.
  • If you disagree, do it respectfully and constructively. Take responsibility. Don’t attack, justify, withdraw or stonewall. Manage conflict with more compromise and negotiation.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy can be helpful in increasing self-understanding, providing solutions/skills to specific problems, resolving life and relationship issues, and improving mental health. There are many therapeutic approaches to consider. Not all approaches are scientifically proven. Therapy is likely to be ineffective when the therapist and/or their approach are not a good fit with the client and/or their problem. Take time to research which approach is best suited for your issue. Find a therapist you like and feel comfortable with. Each therapist has their unique style, personality and experience. Studies have found a strong therapeutic relationship predicted successful therapy outcomes.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Nicolina Ratto at www.montrealpsyservices.com

Thank you for connecting/following Dr. Ratto:

GOOGLE PLUS: http://google.com/+NicolinaRatto
TWITTER (dr_nicolina): https://twitter.com/dr_nicolina
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/montrealpsyservices/

Interview with Psychotherapist Nigel Moyse

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I paid a lot of money to a careers advisory firm in London in the 1990s. When they suggested “counsellor” I was surprised and didn’t accept this as a possible career for several years, but after ten years experience I’m completely sold on the idea!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Obvious to me: seeing clients overcome their difficulties / deal with their pain / find a job / make a success of a relationship / etc, etc.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I would say helping the individual to stand back and observe their own contribution and how it affects the other party; also encouraging compassion both with ourselves and others over mistakes committed.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Send love to the other person when you are in conflict or feel bullied / intimidated by another. Sounds very New Age etc, but I think it works because when you really mean it, your whole demeanour changes and non-verbal communication – under the control of your sub-conscious mind (sometimes known as the infinite intelligence) will be picked up at the sub-conscious level by your antagonist’s mind who may therefore become more affable as a result. Remarkable things have happened through the sending of positive vibes.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That more and more people – including some you would never have suspected – are getting the benefit from therapy and realising that, if you can find a good fit with a therapist, it really can transform your life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not turning up for a session! I try very hard to avoid this one, but even with the best laid plans things can go wrong (traffic jams, calendar failure) but after about 4000 sessions I think I have only got it wrong 2-3 times and almost always managed to alert the client. Another is giving free advice. If I make suggestions to a client, I aim to always make it clear that it is just that – a suggestion. However I would never tell a client to leave a partner, for example. But I may reflect back to them that this is what they are telling me they want to do and open it up for discussion.

Bio

I am a BACP accredited counsellor/psychotherapist trained in psychodynamic studies at Oxford University and have taken a brief course in CBT with the world-renowned Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. Previously I had obtained a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised degree in psychology and in 2001 completed a Masters in Cognitive Science. I have also received training in Couple Counselling with the Berkshire Counselling Centre.

You can learn more about me at http://www.oxford-counselling-solutions.co.uk.

Interview with Dr. Melissa Schacter

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was always interested in people and subsequently their behavior. Being a therapist, therefore, seemed like a natural fit for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
It’s most rewarding when a client, couple, or family feels as though they have acquired the tools or gained the insight they need from therapy in order to handle an issue on their own.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Marriage and Family Therapist, I get to use both backgrounds in my work with people. Furthermore, I approach therapy in a very different manner than traditional psychotherapist in that I practice in a very efficient, effective, and time-sensitive manner; for example I practice a form a psychotherapy called Single Session Therapy. You can learn more at www.drmelissatherapy.com/sst I feel that it is my job and ethical responsibility to get people to a place where they essentially no longer need to come see me.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

People typically come to therapy for significant issue; after marriage, after kids, etc…. Rather than having an issue escalate, I always encourage people to use preventative measures. For example, I often hear couples saying, “we’re only dating, we shouldn’t be going to therapy at this point”. I strongly disagree because I stress a preventative approach. Learning the tools needed to be successful in your relationship is invaluable and best learnt before unhealthy patterns and behaviors develop. Gaining insight, tools, and, using proper communication early on promotes longevity and health in any relationship.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Every therapist is different, and I believe that success in therapy is very much intertwined you and your therapist’s compatibility. If you feel that you not benefiting from therapy, try identifying what you are looking for and search for that in another therapist rather than giving up on the process all together.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Melissa Schacter at https://www.drmelissatherapy.com.

Interview with Anthony Costello LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a psychotherapist was not a career I originally saw myself pursuing. It took life experiences, a desire for a fulfilling occupation, and an earnest determination to help others for me to end up where I am today. I spent 7 years in a corporate role and held a plethora of wide ranging jobs throughout my schooling. While I enjoyed aspects of every path I have taken there was always a void until I started on my current path. I truly love the work that I do.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

For me it’s having the privilege to form the unique therapeutic relationships with my clients and being able to hear their stories. I love seeing people grow, live lives that are more meaningful, rewarding, and peaceful and if I can be even a diminutive part of that process than that is the most rewarding career I can imagine.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, my training was ingrained with a systemic lens that focuses on seeing the larger picture and how all the components of that system play a role in dysfunction or harmony. I valued my time in grad school as I took part in a very small, intensive program where we actively practiced therapy with couples, families and individuals with our supervisors looking on behind one way mirrors with the client’s consent. I have been told by clients and supervisors that I have a unique way of conversing and being with people of all walks of life and being able to create a space for exploration and safety. I also think my wide range of work and life experiences help me relate to my clients. In particular, having lived with a chronic illness for 20 years has allowed me to empathize and understand some of the afflictions that my clients face.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I especially like the work of John Gottman and Sue Johnson and agree that Identifying adult attachment styles and how they interweave into the patterns of dysfunction is essential to change. I also adhere to the notion that conflict is inevitable and healthy to a certain extent. Couples must learn the skills to prevent physiological escalation as neuroscience has proven that when we are triggered we become flooded with hormones and chemicals within our bodies that prevent us from thinking or acting rationally and regress to a more primal and defensive state. Couples in distress need to learn to slow that escalation process down and so they can be productive in managing conflict and repair the emotional injuries when necessary.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think as the stigma around therapy continued to dissipate within our culture more couples are seeking proactive help rather than waiting to they are on the brink of divorce. Some couples can make it back from the depths of hurt, pervasive stress, and conflict but it is always so much easier to nip the tensions and negative patterns in the bud when they address their issues prior to years of resentment and distance.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I am referred a lot of clients who have seen other therapists in the past. I often find that in our field there are practitioners that lose their sense of the ethical necessity for autonomy. I often have couples coming in to therapy with a false expectation that I will magically solve their problems. Couples therapy is work and going back to the “teach a man to fish…” proverb, I view therapy as a process where you help people figure out their problems on their own rather than trying to implement your own interpretation of what a healthy relationship looks like. I think you need to take an active stance but also be aware of your own implicit biases and make sure clients are moving in the direction they desire, not you. This approach creates lasting change that can help the couple function more harmoniously outside the confines of the therapy room.

Bio

Anthony Costello is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing out of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Website: https://www.costellopsychotherapy.com/

Interview with Psychotherapist Natalie Moore

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I’ve known that I wanted to serve in a helping professions role as far back as I can remember. When I took an AP psychology class in high school that was it for me! I knew I would become a psychotherapist. In my studies and work with families, I was a voracious learner and enjoyed my work immensely. I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think the most obvious answer is that you get to have a front-row seat to meaningful, positive change in people’s lives. A more unexpected answer is that it is really fun! I do body-based therapy with adults and play therapy with kids, and you never know what clients are going to say or do. And you get to build relationships with people you otherwise would’ve never met. There is also a peaceful quality to sitting in a room with people and being entirely present to their experience. Lastly, the job pushes you to grow in your personal life (never a dull moment!) and there is always SO much to learn in your professional life.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My training from the start has been in holistic approaches to psychotherapy. This means that I see people as a whole being which includes mind, body and spirit. My job is to help people become intimately acquainted with their moment-to-moment body experience and their internal wisdom. Techniques I use include body awareness, mindfulness meditation, grounding techniques, somatic release of trauma and many more.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Number 1 is presence. But down the phone, close the laptop and attend to your partner fully. That means looking them directly in the eyes and deeply listening to what they’re saying. Number 2 is be aware of your own emotional responses. If you’re getting emotionally triggered in a conversation you won’t be listening anymore, rather planning your response. You’ll likely become defensive and say something hurtful that you don’t mean. Quietly note your emotions and body experience, take a deep breath and share what you’re feeling with your partner in a calm, connected way.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want people to be less afraid of the process of starting therapy. Yes, it’s natural to experience some fear of something unknown and unfamiliar and I get that. But most therapists are caring, nurturing, empathic and loving humans. They want what is best for you and are going to do their best to create an warm, comfortable and safe environment for your self-exploration. There really is nothing to be afraid of.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

There are many legal and ethical mistakes that therapists can make, which is beyond the scope of this interview, but long story short — a therapist should never do or say anything that makes you feel very uncomfortable (and I’m not talking about in a therapeutic way where they’re challenging you to confront an uncomfortable emotion, I’m talking about a situation where they step over a boundary that feels weird and wrong.) If this happens speak up and seek a second opinion.

The only mistake a client can really make is giving up on therapy too soon because they haven’t see progress yet. Therapy takes time and if you feel that your therapist knows what they’re doing and is attuned to you, give the process a chance to work. It could take months, it could take years. But you’ll never know if you don’t commit to the process.

Bio

Natalie Moore is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Pasadena, CA. She utilizes a holistic approach to helping young adults relieve anxiety naturally through mindfulness and somatic practices. Natalie also works in an agency setting with children on the autism spectrum and their families using a socio-emotional modality to help kids with special needs live meaningful lives. When she’s not working you can find Natalie on a mountain top with some awesome homemade goodies. You can learn more about her at awakentheself.com.

Interview with Morgan Barber, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist by getting the necessary education required in order to be hirable as a therapist. Then I worked as one for awhile, while working on becoming licensed. Became licensed and started to work exclusively as a psychotherapist and as a couples counselor. Why? Well..15 years ago when I was thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up I had a job in the wilderness therapy field and found myself admiring the quality of person that I perceived in the therapists I worked beside. I thought I want to be like them and I thought if one is to be a therapist (which I assumed to be a person who was going to help other’s live a good life and make sound decisions) then I thought I would learn a thing or two about how to live a good life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s awesome to offer a service that is effective and have people appreciate it and pay you money for it.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I’m not sure what is unique because I don’t know how others are practicing. It is confidential and thus we never actually get to see how other people work. As for special, I think the understanding I have of how to assess a couple and help them become aware of the ineffective ways that each one of them is relating, positioning, communicating to the other and inform them of a more effective way to express themselves is special.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Don’t argue! When your partner has an idea they want you to understand, provide understanding. Understanding and agreeing are different concepts. I can provide evil people whom I may hate understanding. It in no way indicates I agree with their actions or statements. Understanding is something you give or provide. Avoid the critical stance first. No need to assume the moral authority or fall into the objectivity trap. Focus on the gist of the idea your partner is trying to express and give them some room to imperfectly express themselves. Relate to people as if they make sense first. Be curious and nonjudgemental about the ideas your partner would like to discuss with you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

It’s work for the client(s). It’s successful when the individuals are interested in expanding their perspective. It’s not successful if the clients remain focused on external change (i.e. their partners changing)

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

A mistake a therapist can make is having limited flexibility and uniqueness in their treatment or collaboration with individuals and ironically a mistake a therapist can also make is being too flexible in their treatment approach with couples. Breaking confidentiality is a big mistake.

Bio

You can learn more about Morgan Barber at www.counselingportlandme.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Gaea Woods

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s therapy’s dirty little secret that doing this work is extremely rewarding for therapists and clients alike. I identify with the concept of the wounded healer archetype coined by Carl Jung. To paraphrase, maintaining awareness of your own personal wounds while acting in service of your clients is an incredibly rewarding, and mutually beneficial experience. Jung asserts that being wounded does not make you less capable of taking care of the client, rather it makes you a companion to your client, no longer acting as your client’s superior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I love working with clients who are examining aspects of how they feel empowered or disempowered in their relationships. This type of insight oriented work might involve assisting a client in clarifying their boundaries, or pointing out their defense mechanisms.

Lately I have found that many of my clients are interested in exploring non-normative types of relationships such as ethical non-monogamy. I love assisting clients along their path towards finding relationships where they feel fulfilled, free, and happy. Often this involves unpacking cultural and family of origin messages around relationships and gender.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think a mistake I made was trying not to be vulnerable with my clients. As a therapist, you can model for your clients how to address conflict within your relationship in a healthy way. Not that this is easy! One of my biggest breakthroughs with a client occurred when I noticed a misstep I had made, and brought it up during our session. Instead of creating distance in our relationship, our connection was deepened.

For a client, it can be a mistake to rely too heavily on a therapist as the vehicle for change, when in fact it’s a collaborative effort. This reaction may be a defense against acknowledging their own ambivalence towards committing to their inner work, or simply because they are new to therapy. To address this, I often work to empower my clients by enlisting them as the experts of their own experience.

Bio

Gaea Woods, M.A. Clinical Psychology

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #103679

I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. I see clients in private practice, and at The Krevoy Institute for Eating Disorders in Los Angeles, California. In my private practice, I specialize in working with adults and adolescents experiencing symptoms of distress due to: anxiety, depression, disordered eating, life transitions, creative blocks, relationship problems, self-esteem, family issues, trauma, and career issues. I work with couples to improve communication, build empathy and trust, and gain insight into dysfunctional relationship patterns.

My style is loving, non-judgmental, and creative. My role is to help empower you to change. I do this by uncovering unconscious mechanisms that drive your current issues. As your therapist I will assist you by promoting honesty, self-compassion, and self-acceptance in order for you to connect with your authentic self to come into your natural state of well-being.

Please visit my website to learn more: www.gaeawoodstherapy.com.

Interview with Yaji Tramontini, MA, MFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I knew I wanted to be a therapist at a very young age. I was born into quite a bit of turmoil and thanks to my school therapists I was given a chance to overcome the obstacles that life gave me. I wanted to give back the gift that had been given to me. My life has been dedicated to learning how to grow and overcome & I have a passion of sharing what I have discovered is helpful to me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding moments are when I see clients shift. Limiting beliefs can be held in the unconscious for many years and create havoc in life as it impairs perception and the resulting emotional behavioral response. The moment a person sees that is such a gift.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a few things that are unique. First, using EMDR, Bio-feedback and other “trauma” based modalities to help clients release “baggage” that creates problems in their relationships, is a big part of what we do at LTC (Love Therapy Center). 2nd we are much more involved than traditional talk therapy, we also have a Communication Guide that informs much of the therapy. It is a framework that we work from. It is a free download on the website – http://lovetherapycenter.org if you would like to check it out. I always recommend clients download this before getting started as it can give them a good head start. 3rd – our approach and philosophy is based on self-love first. Learn to love, know and accept yourself first and all relationships become much easier. Lastly, we have an interesting blend of Eastern and Western Philosophy Spiritual practices and Quantum empirical studies that are interwoven into the therapeutic approach.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

You can find many good tips in the Communication Guide, my favorite is switching from communicating what you DON’T like and instead saying what you WOULD like. It is an innocent mistake that we all make – speaking in the negative – but it has the potential to be devastating in relationships. Even more, making this one change can also have a powerful positive impact on an individual level. When you start thinking of what you would like instead of what you don’t have, you already start to feel better, it gives you hope and is empowering. Then you can approach your partner, friend, colleague more from a place of inner peace and being grounded. This gives you a MUCH better chance of being successful.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The interconnection of mind, body and spirit is profound and is slowly gaining traction as a valid part of Western Medicine. More and more studies about stress and the effects of stress on the body and physiology are being done and proving the connection. Society is still overcoming a bit of shame around therapy and having a therapist, but little by little we are overcoming that. Seeing a therapist is not just for treating mental illness, yes there is a place for that as well, but therapy is also an amazing place to start if you want to do ANYTHING better in life. Relationships, Work, Career, Money, Health, Spiritual Growth, anything can be vastly improved by getting yourself in the right mindset. In fact I might go so far as to say that is a key ingredient. It starts with mindset and that’s what therapy can help with.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The single biggest mistake a patient / client can make is giving up when it seems to be taking too long or if they have a setback in their therapeutic journey. The saying, “it’s darkest before the dawn” is very true. I often see big shifts in those who persist through the times that it seems nothing is changing.

The biggest mistake therapists make, in my view, is to think they shouldn’t be working harder than their clients. This is a mutual relationship that should take as much effort on my part, if not more at times. If a person is not ready to put in the work but they are coming in, then it is our jobs to figure out what is preventing them from putting in the work to get them to the place they want to be.

Bio

Our goal is to offer you the most comprehensive, supportive and effective Psychotherapy that can be found.

Yaji Tramontini founded Love Therapy Center in 2008 but it was a seed planted long before. Yaji is an expert practitioner of many different forms of Psychotherapy and takes a very personal and passionate interest in finding techniques and methods that truly work to release trauma, so you will be sure to get the most current, effective help available. Love Therapy is unlike your typical counseling and talk Therapy in that you will find more guidance and involvement from your therapist, using guided techniques that are inclusive of mind, body and soul.

Originally from the East Coast, Yaji graduated from Boston University with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy. Beginning her career at BU as an engineering major, she realized her true calling was to give back what she had been given in learning to heal and overcome the past. Thus she brings with her a unique, personal perspective on what works in addition to a strong emphasis on math and science. She additionally participated in several cognitive behavioral (CBT) empirical, evidence based studies, given lectures on the intersection of Cognitive Behavioral Science with Spirituality at JFK University, presented at the Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis, and has has over 10,000 hours of experience working with couples and individuals to release trauma wounds, create great relationships and most importantly, become congruent, with higher levels of self-esteem, and self-love.

Some other fun facts about Yaji: She is the mother of a beautiful, young boy born in 2010. She is a musician, a self-admitted closet geek with a penchant for fantasy adventure and MMORPG’s, and has a fascination with the latest technology gadgets.

License, certifications, and degrees:

State Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MFC45878 – 2006
Master of Arts (M.A.) – Institute of Transpersonal Psychology – 2003
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) – Boston University – 1994
Certified Psychosynthesis Instructor – 2005
Shamanic Studies 2006 – 2012
Certified EMDR practitioner – 2010
Positive Discipline Certified Instructor – 2012
Master NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner – 2014
Hypnotherapist – 2014
MER® (Mental Emotional Release) Practitioner – 2014
Certified Supervisor for Psychotherapy Interns – 2009
Yoga Teaching Credentials (CorePower) – 2017
Bio-Feedback – Heart Math Institute – 2018

Interview with Nancy Harris, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was a natural progression for me in terms of a life-long curiosity about people and what makes us tick. Even as a young child, I was always trying to figure out what was really going on with people beneath the surface. I was a sensitive kid and probably born to do this kind of work.

I was an Anthropology and Sociology major in college and became fascinated with other cultures in terms of the vast differences and similarities.

I spent my junior year of college in Vienna, Austria and traveled all over Europe. Immediately following college, I found Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and became deeply involved in mediation, yoga and Eastern spirituality.

I was on a quest to learn all I could about life and to help other people with what I learned. It’s my passion and I will probably be doing this until the day I die.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I basically love people and find us endlessly complex and fascinating. People are really struggling these days and want more quality of life. Anxiety is rampant. Loneliness and isolation are increasing problems.

Most people are looking for deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. I can’t think of anything more valuable than to spend my time helping others live more meaningful and purposeful lives.

I love seeing my clients make break-throughs, heal from past pains, take risks and create something new. I get to see people heal and change. My clients tell me things they’ve never told anyone before. It is an honor and privilege to do this work.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Because of my early connection with yoga, mediation and Eastern spirituality, I was practicing many of the tools and principles 30 years ago that are finally becoming mainstream now. I use these tools myself and practice what I preach. I’m a daily meditator and have been for years.

I am a big believer in mindfulness, living in the present moment, connecting with one’s own inner guidance and inspiration as daily tools. I utilize spiritual principles in my work with clients if they are open to that. In terms of interpersonal relationships, I believe it is important to work on one’s own healing on a consistent basis in order to be fully present and functional in relationships with others.

I work with my clients a lot on becoming self-empowered and developing their own self-mastery in terms of being skillful with their thoughts, feelings and actions. It is only then that one is able to be in a healthy relationship with another without losing their own sense of self.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Work on yourself first. Don’t expect to get all your needs met from another person, especially your partner. Create a full, well-rounded life that includes good friends, hobbies and interests of your own and meaningful work if possible. Spend some time daily in silence to connect with your own inner self.

I have seen people make amazing changes. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

Take care of your health. Most mood disorders such as anxiety and depression can be healed with food, exercise and some form of meditation practice. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if given the right circumstances.

Release limiting beliefs, heal the traumas and negative emotions that are holding you back with the help of a therapist. This creates space for your highest potential to unfold.

In most cases, medications can be a last resort.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The world is a very stressful place. Most people are struggling with at least one issue in their life that is very difficult. No one gets a free ride, yet some people do seem to have easier lives than others…

Don’t white knuckle it and think you have to do it all alone. Statistics for loneliness are epidemic and on the rise. Social media is not a replacement for real relationships and face-to-face contact. In fact, too much social media makes people feel worse.

Don’t be ashamed to reach out to a therapist or life coach if you are having a hard time. You’d be surprised at how many people are going to a therapist or hiring coaches to help them navigate the stress in their lives. We are social creatures and need each other.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Quitting the process too soon is one of the biggest mistakes I see.

As a client, once you have found the right person to work with, stick with it. I sometimes see clients stop the process as soon as they get out of the acute pain that brought them into therapy in the first place. I understand that money may be an issue, however getting out of pain is not living a great life.

Since I am both a licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, I am trained to help people heal pain from their past and also create more fulfilling, meaningful futures. Life is meant to be an adventure in which we reach our full potential. This is a life-long process.

Not that you have to work with your coach or therapist forever, but stay with it until you are well on your way to creating the happy, fulfilling life that your heart and soul desires. You know deep inside that you were born to do this. You can feel it.

Honor yourself and know that the Universe has your back. It will rise up to meet you in terms of providing the resources to get the help you need once you make that commitment to yourself.

We live in a self-correcting Universe in which you are pre-programmed to reach your highest potential. Help is available if you need it. Don’t cut yourself short. Life goes by fast.

Bio

For the past 20 years, Nancy Harris, LCSW, has been helping women and men transform their lives, experience more joy, create better relationships, develop meaningful work and live more authentically.

As a certified Transformational Life Coach and Holistic Psychotherapist, she works with individuals and couples who are feeling stuck, confused and searching for answers to get back on track, reconnect with their dreams, and create a bigger vision for their lives.

She was chosen as one of Denver, CO’s “Top 19 Life Coaches” in both 2017 and 2018 by expertise.com. In 2015, while living in Providence, RI, she was chosen as one of the “Top 3 Marriage Counselors” by threebestrated.com.

Her website is: www.nancyharriscoaching.com.

Interview with Lisa Bahar, MA, CCJP, LMFT, LPCC

Lisa Bahar is a licensed marriage and family therapist, professional clinical counselor and certified drug and alcohol counselor. She works with individuals, couples and families and specializes in personality disorders, mood disorders and substance abuse treatment. Lisa specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) an intervention skill set that helps client regulate emotions, learn how to assert or say no, manage stressors and crisis, and maintain a quiet mind with core mindfulness skills. Lisa also uses a creative technique called Cinema Therapy, which implements movies and the cinema into the therapeutic process. Lisa Bahar is located in Newport Beach, California. You can learn more about her at www.lisabahar.com.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was a second career choice for me. My first career was in cinema and I received my Bachelors in Cinema Television from USC. I was involved in making films for many years, however, a turn of events had me return home to my family and at that time I decided to reconsider my career path and through that therapeutic process became interested in my mental health. As a result of that personal process, I then wanted to help others once I gained insight and a new plan for my life. My inspiration was to return to school, get my Masters in Psychology and pursue a career as a licensed psychotherapist. Ironically, I use my first career of the Cinema in my Therapeutic practice and implement a therapy technique called Cinema Therapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Having someone return after therapy or even during therapy and sharing how their life has become what they prefer through a process that we collaborated on in therapy. It’s quite an honor for someone to come in and be willing to be vulnerable and share their story and the challenges they are facing and trusting in the process that I can help.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I use a lot of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in my work with clients when working on relationship goals. DBT has a concrete approach on how to express yourself, ask for what you want and learn how to attend to relationships. It is a helpful skill set that client’s feel they can master and apply to their relationship, whether it is a marriage, work, family or otherwise.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Be willing to remove blame or fault from the situation. Focus on the issue, versus the person being the problem. Learn how to validate one another, which does not mean you agree or approve, but that you understand the other person’s point of view. I think validation is the key to healthy communication and relationships, people want to be heard and understood before they are open to change.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Remove the stigma of mental illness and be willing to ask for help. It’s not easy for some to ask for help, I give a lot of credit to people that are willing to ask for professional help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I have made quite a few and I will continue to make them and do my best to learn from them.

Patients can make no mistakes in my opinion, it’s up to the therapist to help guide the process.

Interview with Deborah B. Knoll, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My parents say that I have always been listening to people – from my friends when i was young to the elderly in a nursing home when i was in high school to parents when i was teaching parenting classes in my 20’s. So, they were not surprised to learn that I wanted to pursue a psychology degree in undergrad and a master’s in social work afterwards. I love to solve all kinds of problems and I am a very outgoing person, so I think the field of therapy was a natural one for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being able to create your own schedule, helping people make breakthroughs in their lives, listening to the stories and understanding what’s necessary to untangle the knots, always being busy and never being bored!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t think i have anything different to offer than anyone else, other than an intact family of origin that is very loving and close. Many people go into this field to resolve conflict from their families and childhoods and I feel blessed that that is not the case with me. I draw on a lot of positive communication from my 5 siblings, incredible parenting skills from my parents and my Christian faith that ties it all together.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

There is a lot more trauma in this world than we know and people who live with it don’t even realize the things they have endured or the things that they say to themselves to manage it on a daily basis. If we can remember that each one of us has a past and a story and probably something rough that they are dealing with, maybe it will make us more compassionate and understanding w/each other.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Coming to therapy when you are not ready or because someone else thinks you should be there is usually a recipe for an unhappy and unsuccessful experience. As a therapist, taking on issues and clients that you are not prepared to treat is also not recommended unless you are being carefully supervised and are steadily working on improving your skills and knowledge. Also, tasking clients with certain things like limit setting and standing up for yourself and then not modeling that isn’t helpful. The last thing a therapist should avoid doing is talking too much about themselves. Only if the information is relevant and useful to the client should you say it. Otherwise, remember that it’s not about you and they probably don’t need to hear about your personal situation.

Bio

You can learn more about Deborah B. Knoll at https://www.debbiebknoll.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Francesca Glenn

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I felt most alive and connected when I could help others make sense of their fears and longings. In my growing up years, the well of my own unmet needs drove me to try and make things more bearable for everyone.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

To be with someone courageously making sense of their own experience is awesome and deeply moving. Helping another gain understanding for how they have survived difficulties such as trauma, rejection or loss evokes respect in me at the deepest level. I feel excited and heartened to see someone blossom as they strengthen their internal and external resources through therapy. Witnessing another’s growth is a privilege especially as they begin to live more comfortably in their own skin, throw off outmoded defences and form authentic relationships that are nourishing and supportive.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a unique integration of models from decades of observing and transforming the implicit communication between parents and infants. This gave me sensitivity to relational needs and how they are missed again and again and how from very tiny we begin to defend ourselves from how painful and confusing that is.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • We have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio!!
  • The Delphi maxim “KnowThyself” is still the most important message about relationships in the 21st century as it was for Ancient Greeks.
  • Modern neuroscientist Daniel Siegal, says that self awareness has the biggest and most positive impact on all our interpersonal relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

The myth that therapy is indulgent! Bizarrely, self defeating behaviours such as excessive TV, drinking or shopping are not judged in this way. I’d like more awareness that therapy is about growing up and taking more responsibility for our needs and feelings. It helps us to become bigger, stronger, kinder and wise in all our relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Having provided decades of supervision and training to other therapists, I think not owning our own process is ‘a mistake’. Equally, if we take things personally it is unhelpful, and it’s better to understand with the client the unexpressed need within their hostility, withdrawal or angry demands. As for a patient, I wouldn’t really call anything a mistake but might say they would get more out of therapy if they could trust the therapist enough to share what is not working for them.

Bio

I am a full time qualified BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist and IIPA Internationally Certified Psychotherapist. I am also trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (level 1). I have worked in mental health for the past 21 years and as a clinical supervisor in Halifax, West Yorkshire for 20 years. I bring a diverse experience and sincere commitment to meeting the needs of my clients at emotional depth. I also run professional groups and trainings for therapists. Learn more at http://www.counsellingandsupervision.net.

Interview with Counsellor & Art Therapist Michelle April

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had resigned from the Canadian federal public service. At a loss about what to do next, I was soaking in the tub and “art therapy” as a vocation dawned on me. Since I was a teenager, art and expression had been my own catalyst to healing. Beginning in my 20s, I was creating collaborative art events with older adults and young people. After completing art therapy studies, I studied counselling and spirituality. The rest is history.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is connecting with people and modeling healthy relationship within the therapist/client relationship. On par with these direct connections is the reward of witnessing people in their personal transformations.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel like a case in point. My childhood was dark, cold, and often violent. I was subject to poverty, neglect, and poor attachment. I have healed many relationships that were formed in these conditions. I feel like my personal experience has brought me to a place of patience and has made me empathetic and unhurried about the process of others. I was differentiated early in life and I have a strong sense of both separateness and interconnectedness in equal measure. My own capacity to heal drives ‘hope’ in my practice.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

It is a good idea to ask for what we need and what we want. This does not mean we will get the outcome we want. It is only after we ask that we can make a determination about whether our needs are being met sufficiently…only after all the cards are on the table. Attachment to outcomes often gets people into trouble. This is a model of interdependence over ownership over others.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a means to add intention to the direction in your relationship or life in general. The efficacy of therapy is more notable than working through personal growth roadblocks alone. As well, we are able to bring some new ways of thinking and the workable tools with us down our personal path.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or person in therapy can make?

Again, a strong attachment to outcomes is the biggest mistake we make in my view. Life is a process!

Bio

Michelle April is an individual, couple and family Counsellor & Art Therapist with a private practice in Ottawa, Ontario. She also offers workshops to counsellors and other health professionals in creative expression, expanding creative vocabulary and self-care & expression through art-based practices. She places a strong emphasis on intimacy with nature including our own inner natures. You can learn more about her at https://www.michelleapril.com.

Interview with Marcello Real, MFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist after I had lived abroad, mostly in Asia, for 7 years. My pre-travel days undergraduate degree was a BA in psychology, from which I had learned a lot about myself and the human condition, but after living in various Asian countries and diving deep into their ancient culture, I realized there was a lot of wisdom there that could help the mental health field evolve.

By the time I entered graduate school (Marriage & Family Therapy) I already had a few years worth of deep practice in meditation and Hatha yoga. I had some huge epiphanies from this. It was revolutionary, because the model for mental health in these ancient practices is quite simple and direct – only 1 thing is the cause of each person’s problems – each person’s EGO. Plain and simple, especially when compared to the almost limitless multitudes of complicated therapeutic models and strategems existing in all of western psychology, psychiatry, and mental health therapy. So in graduate school and in practice with clients this is the basis of what I shared with colleagues and professors and how I work with clients.

This was one of the driving factors in becoming a therapist, to introduce an alternative to the heavily based materialistic science approach to modern day mental health therapy of all types, for which the “hard question” is “What is consciousness?” When for the ancients in Asia, especially in India, it was ALL ABOUT EXPLORING CONSCIOUSNESS.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

When a client suddenly has a “Light Bulb” moment in their explorations of their lives and difficulties, where they suddenly see their role in the conflicts they have been involved with. This paradigm shift is exemplified by their taking responsibility for their part in their situations, and deciding to stop their repetitive patterns. This is a moment of self-empowerment that is wonderful to witness, like the special blossoming of cherry blossoms.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Now after 18 years and 10,000+ hours of practicing meditation and yoga, I have understood that what matters most is for each person to become more conscious. I am not a religious person, but I noticed that the center of all religions is the mystical experience of no-thought (simultaneously an expansion occurs) where a superconscious awareness becomes more rooted into one’s moment by moment existence. This leads to living life with more confidence, no doubt, and a deeper sense of gratitude for the unbelievable mystery of our lives on a planet that is moving through space at 60,000 mph….

So in the therapeutic context I intuitively remember that each person, whether they know it or not, are on a spiritual journey, and ironically perhaps more so when a person is a devout atheist. So I find ways to help people realize this in their own cultural background, in their own context, and then encourage them to start a daily and simple practice of whatever method they want to apply to become more grounded and centered in their lives, because a consistent practice is the key factor in this pursuit.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My advice for any mental health practitioner is simple, understand that you cannot solve your client’s problems. Any advice you give them is your manner of trying to resolve their difficulties if you were them. Each client has to find their own method, their own path, since each person has their own life trials to experience and grow from, and shockingly their own personalized task master is their own ego. Their trial is to realize that their ego is “a wonderful servant, but a terrible master” in order to move into a more balanced, aware, and grounded life.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want the public to become aware that the training of psychologists, psychiatrists and all other mental health practitioners in the mainstream academic field is unfortunately limited and hindered by an obsession on basing their systems on the materialistic scientific paradigm which shockingly cannot say anything about consciousness. Wouldn’t this seem to be a pre-requisite for being able to listen to others and their difficulties and deep pain? Wouldn’t a personal exploration of consciousness, beyond concepts, seem like a major requirement of becoming a mental health practitioner? Having already been a meditator while in graduate school opened my eyes to this deficiency, but the solution is quite simple: each student should be required to complete 5 silent 10 day meditation retreats before being allowed to graduate. A non-meditating therapist would be aghast with this suggestion, but any therapist with deep experience with meditation of any type would say “Of course!!!!”

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Some of the biggest mistakes can involve being too sympathetic with the client and their life-trials. Sympathy does not help and it ends up weighing heavier and heavier on the shoulders of a therapist, especially when they unconsciously match their client’s “energetic” profiles and don’t know how to “clean out.” Empathy is much healthier, and it helps the client when a therapist can stay steady and not get involved in their “dramas” and act like a mirror for them.

Another mistake for therapist is to not remember the powerful effects of what is known as “The Rosenthal Effect” which is basically a variation of the famous physics experiments of the particle/wave duality of light, but applied to living beings. I was stunned when I heard about this in graduate school, and have been even more stunned when I meet psychologists, psychiatrists, etc who don’t remember it.

Bio

You can learn more about Marcello Real at marcelloreal.com.

Interview with Dr. Roberta Gottardo

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I decided to become a therapist when I was I was fourteen. I was an adolescent and I was going through all the difficulties of this developmental stage. My favourite subject at school was philosophy. I think that I used to love that subject because at least it was able to give me some answers to very introspective questions that I used to ask myself, such as, who am I and what do I like. I think that at that time I had already started looking at the hidden elements of my personality.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

This could appear as an obvious answer but helping others is for me certainly the most rewarding aspect. If you are able to help others, you don’t feel useless and I love seeing a real smile on my client’s face. Another exciting aspect is having a good understanding of human nature. As a therapist you can better understand the underlying reasons for a behaviour. You can find an explanation even for the behaviours that seem odd or irrational.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I mainly work with families and couples. I specialise in systemic therapy. I always see individuals as part of a system, either a family or a couple. My background is Italian and family is certainly a very important value for Italian people, and maybe for this reason we have very good family therapists in Italy. I am proud of having had the best teachers in Europe during my training.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Before looking at the other member of a couple, look at yourself and how you behave. Saying :” It is his/her fault” is very easy, but admitting that it takes two to make a relationship work, is much more difficult.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a changing process and coming to therapy is the first step to start this change.
A client’s motivation is crucial to making a therapy a success because therapists don’t have a magic wand to change things. I always say that my clients are the best therapists of their own life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a client, it is only seeing himself as a person with a mental illness. However, therapists can make the same mistake too, when they only see a client as a person with depression or anxiety. I really believe that seeing a client, first of all, as an individual with his own strengths and weaknesses, is fundamental for the success of the therapy.

Bio

Roberta Gottardo
Psychologist and family and couple psychotherapist
You can learn more about me at: robertagottardo.com

Interview with Lisa Cloyd, Ph.D.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I think, like many people in the mental health field, from a young age I wanted to better understand people, including myself. As I grew, I also knew that I wanted to help others. My goal was to leave the world a better place than when I entered it, even in a small way. As I took classes, it made perfect sense to me to combine my wish to help others with my curiosity about people. I then worked in a mental health hospital to experience working with many people experiencing a variety of issues, to ensure this was my path. I quickly learned it was, and entered graduate school.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is such an honor to be invited into my clients’ lives. The amount of trust they place in me is incredible. Therapy can be so scary, and despite that I am invited on their life journey, even if only for a brief time. Even when doing evaluations, which are typically not therapeutic, many of my clients have found that simply having had me nonjudgmentally listen to them, they begin to feel better. That is often an opportunity for them to realize how helpful therapy can be, and can be the start of their work with another therapist. I also greatly enjoy working with my therapy clients and walking on their journey with them. Seeing them unfold, develop their skills, find their answers, and change their lives is amazing. I still sometimes think back to my clients from over 20 years ago, wonder how they are now, and feel satisfaction with the work we did together.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Honestly, I’m not sure how my background or approach is particularly unique. I imagine, more than anything, what is unique is simply who I am, as with all therapists. I don’t know that it’s my approach as much as simply me. One of the first things I learned in my training was “the therapist is the tool.” We receive training in different techniques, different ways to think of people, and different ways to interact. However. ultimately, it all comes down to the person. I believe it all comes down to the persons in the room – therapist and client/s. How we interact. How we work together.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listening. This is one of the most important pieces of having a positive relationship. We all come into relationships with different experiences, ways of thinking, and ways of reacting. Even if we have similar experiences, it’s important to listen to what the other person is saying, as they may think or feel about the situation quite differently than we do. Additionally, when there is disagreement, we tend to listen less and when we do listen, we listen for how we can prove our point or how the other person is incorrect. Instead of listening with that filter, it’s critical that we simply listen to what the other person is saying so we can better understand. Even when we disagree with others, which is inevitable, it feels so much better to both parties to actually be heard.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I understand that therapy is scary – one has to acknowledge a need for help and then also entrust a stranger with very personal things. Some view needing help as an admission of weakness. Personally, I view it as courageous. There is so much stigma in our society regarding mental health, I believe it is very brave to acknowledge a need for help and then to trust a stranger to help us. I wish mental health issues were less stigmatized – we don’t stigmatize physical health issues. I’d also like people to be more aware of how important the relationship between therapist and client is – if the therapist is not someone the client can connect with, find another therapist who is. Make sure you are comfortable with your therapist. Finally, I’d like people to know that therapy is not a magic wand and it’s not only about the therapist. Therapy does take work, and it can be quite uncomfortable. It’s not only the therapist working – it’s also the client. It takes time and is also very rewarding.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes is not ensuring there is a good match between the therapist and the client. Without there being a good match, little therapeutic work can be done. The match is critical, which is why I offer a free 15-minute interview, in which the client can interview me to see how he or she might feel working with me. If the match is not optimal, I’ve also helped clients find a therapist who is a good match. After all, I got into this field to help people – I want to do all I can to help them find the right therapist.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Lisa Cloyd at lisacloydphd.com.

Interview with Karen Peabody, LICSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist for the same reason everyone becomes a therapist, I wanted to change the world. And I was terrible in math. There is almost no math in any of the undergraduate or graduate programs! Kidding aside, I have always been interested in people and their behavior. I earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice thinking that I would love to have a career in criminal profiling. This was before the days of the ID network and internet, the days of books. I would read everything I could about crime. I remember one Christmas when I was 18 years old, I received all true crime books. Even though I thought it was fascinating, I also began to feel it was too dark for me, just way too depressing. I would ride the train to Boston everyday just looking at all the people wondering if anyone had every done anything bad. That’s when I decided I should work with people that are alive. So, addiction here I come. I got a job on a street outreach team in Cambridge MA and we walk the streets of Cambridge connecting with all the homeless people along the way. It was great. The pay was terrible, and the working conditions were even worse but meeting people, hearing their stories and building relationships was exactly what I wanted. After about a year of that job I went into my boss’s office and told her I wanted to quit. She was genuinely surprised and inquired why. “I have been here a year, and I have not been able to convince one person to get sober.” She laughed, “You are not here to get them sober, you’re here to check to see if they are still alive.” Good lesson, know your job responsibilities. At that point I knew I wanted to work in the field, working with people to find solutions to the problems.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Watching people heal.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am a very direct person, so it makes sense my therapeutic practice is pretty direct. I am an addiction and trauma therapist. I have my own version of addiction work that I created using CBT, Narrative Therapy and Meditation skill building. I also provide a lot of psychoeducation of foundation skills, which is essential self-care. For my trauma work I use a lot of reprocessing and Brainspotting. My program is pretty intensive, and it is hard work. I am very focused on healing the emotions and treating the behavior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

”You never know”. People are interesting! I have treated some people where I think, “Oh, this is going to be a rough road” and they do amazingly well after four sessions and they are gone. Or the people that I think will breeze right through treatment and then they just don’t mesh well with the therapy. And of course, there are clients that give you a run for your money, they make you want to pull your hair out because their addiction is strong and then two years later they are clean, sober and engaged in treatment working hard on their traumas. It is amazing.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I wish people knew more about trauma. Most people think it is events that create a bad memory, but it is actually events that change how your brain and body functions. And these changes do not readjust after the trauma is over, creating the body to become just a little more hypervalent. This hypervigilance distracts from your ability to make decisions in the present life, therefore people are more susceptible to making a bad choice. This cycle keeps repeating, increasing strength. We have come such a long way in understanding trauma and what it does to the body, especially how it links to many physical and emotional problems. It is fascinating.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

I think the biggest mistake a therapist can make is not taking good care of yourself. This work can be consuming. When we are seeing clients everyday it is easy to neglect our basic needs. It is essential to take breaks to eat, use the restroom, go outside, take days off, schedule paperwork days, participate in peer supervision and go to trainings. Your clients will thank you for it.

Bio

I started my career in a Street Outreach team for the homeless population in Cambridge and Somerville, MA. This experience brought me face to face with what addiction, mental health, poverty and social structure can do to a person. This job provided me with the education to begin my journey to trying to understand substance abuse. It also introduced me to some of the most wonderful, creative and inspiring people. I was hooked. For the next several years I worked in many areas of social services all focusing around the needs of substance abusing clients. In 2002 I made the decision to return to school to complete a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College. Upon graduation in 2005 I began my career as a social worker specializing in substance abuse. I have lead several group practices to support people in Suboxone Treatment and Women with Dual Diagnosis Issues. I have also maintained a private practice since 2009 to treat people struggling with addiction issues. I am the owner of Forgewell Solutions, a collaborative therapy office housing eight other therapist to utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to treat the needs of the community. We offer individual, couple, family and group therapy for adults and children. You can learn more about Karen Peabody at www.youronesolution.org.

Karen Peabody, LICSW
36 North Bedford Street Suite C22
East Bridgewater MA 02333
(774)222-3196
(774)221-9196

Interview with Jaye Kelly-Johnston, MA., LPC-S, CMS-CHT, FIBH

I’ve been a licensed psychotherapist for 25 years now. I spent the past 10 years working in partnership with law-enforcement. I have had many opportunities to serve a wide variety of people, from all backgrounds, and with a variety of belief systems.

One thing that each person I worked with had in common, was a desire to heal, and to heal fast. It was then that I discovered the amazing power of hypnotherapy; also referred to as hypnoanalysis. I spent 3 months in Albuquerque, NM training at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America and am current a fellow of the International Board of Hypnotherapy with over 500 hours of training.

It all comes back to healing. Regardless of a person’s current circumstance, people want to heal. They want to be happy. Couples want to be happy with their chosen mate (well at least for the most part but that’s for a different time).

Marriage is challenging. You take two imperfect people, then put them together in a fast paced imperfect world. Then people question why their marriage is not ideal or perfect. Some people would prefer to toss in the towel at the first sight of trouble, only to realize later that most people have a tendency to fall in love with the same type of person.

In this busy imperfect world, it is easy to focus on the negatives of life. For example: It was his turn to take out the garbage and it did not get done. Or once again she forgot to pick up his shirts from the cleaners and now he’s trying to determine what to wear for an important meeting the next day. Or the battle of whose family to spend the holidays with or who to name the children after.

Life judges people, whether in a good way or a bad way. I do not feel it is my need to make judgments about other people, especially my clients. I prefer to help someone look at his or her own issues, identify and process the feelings behind such and to make judgements about their actions for themselves.

A seasoned therapist will understand the complexity of dynamics of relationships, offer a safe environment for feelings to be processed as well as provided guidance, structure, reflection and questioning where necessary, all without judgment or taking sides.

If when a couple presents for relationship counseling, if the therapist does not honestly believe that the couple will be able to make progress and resolve their issues, then the couple is less likely to be successful, at least with that therapist.

Marriage is hard work; whether you have been married 3 years of 30 years. It’s hard work; it takes effort. But please note that the hard work and efforts can pay off in having a deep, meaningful, loving relationship; making a soul connection with the another living soul.

Communication is a foundation and necessary for the marriage to grow. Learning how to communicate using “I statements”, avoiding name calling and respecting the other person’s right to disagree with you are all means to establish that strong foundation.

Sometimes couples need ground rules in their relationship. For example; I once had a couple who had been married for about 10years when one morning over breakfast, the husband was looking through magazines. He had a big huge smile on his face and eagerly noted and circled the boats that he was interested in. He asked the wife if she wanted to go with him “boat shopping”.

This stunned the wife and she questioned as to why he would even think of making such a large purchase without first consulting her. She had never actually told him he could not have any of the “toys” he desired, but she expected to be included in the process.

He informed her that they did talk about it, the night prior, and she had given him “her blessing”. This started a huge firestorm that resulted in them sitting in my office both feeling hurt and offended.

It was later discovered that the wife had taken medication for a cold prior to going to bed. The medication made her very drowsy and she had difficulty waking up as well as difficulty remembering things the next day.

By the end of the session, they had established a ground rule that no conversations of “significance” would occur if one or both of them were under any type of mind altering substance (including alcohol). This was a good ground rule for them.

By the way, the husband did get his new boat. They both report loving the time they spend together boating and waterskiing.

Helping a couple develop good communication skills as well as establish any necessary ground rules, is a good start in helping couples successfully address any issues they currently are dealing with as well as preparing them for future issues that are sure to develop.

Helping clients learn to reconnect to each other is such a joy and honor to get to a part of.

There is so much more to working with couples in counseling. This should provide insight as to the beginning process of couples counseling.

Life is meant to be exceptional; enjoy your journey.

Bio

Jaye Kelly-Johnston, MA. LPC-S, CM-CHT, FIBH

For more information please check out my website at www.KJCTexas.com. Follow us on Twitter, Linked in and like us on Facebook. Thanks!

KELLY-JOHNSTON COUNSELING, PLLC
We want to create a comfortable, safe environment, where we will work to achieve your goals together. We offer counseling and hypnotherapy clinical services to anyone who struggles through their life and are not sure of what is the solution. For 25 years I have been writing and working with various cases of social disorder, self-esteem programs and family/relationship issues. Being a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist, I provide private sessions to help my clients to get the most out of therapy.

ABOUT ME
Jaye graduated with a masters’ degree in Counselor Education in 1993 from Sam Houston State University. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor with over 25 years psychotherapy experience.

She works with children, individuals, couples and families addressing a variety of issues.

Jaye is a Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist. She brings a unique blend of analytical and creative skills to her practice.

Jaye believes in the power of the mind, actively uses self-hypnosis, hypnotic techniques, and positive suggestions and mindfulness to further refine and consciously deepen her mental awareness.

Jaye is a graduate of the Hypnotherapy Academy of America where she successfully completed 500 hours of Clinical Hypnotherapy Training receiving her Certification as a Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist.

She is a Fellow of the International Board of Hypnotherapy which has the highest certification standards in the Hypnotherapy industry requiring on-going learning for certification.

I am a true believer in the Law of Attraction; the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.

Jaye has a fondness for doing Couple’s Past Life Regression Therapy.

MY PHILOSOPHY
I believe that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality.

If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them.

I believe that each person possesses within his or her being, all the answers needed in order to answer their deepest most personal life questions. Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy are modalities that can help a person in getting to such answers. My Philosophy creates a comfortable, safe environment, where we’ll work to achieve your goals together.

Life is a spiritual journey, full of beauty and excitement. May your life journey bring you peace, joy and fulfilment.

Interview with Psychotherapist Damian George

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I decided to retrain as a Gestalt Psychotherapist following a very serious car accident eight years ago. My right leg was very badly injured and needed reconstruction. At the time, I was working in the TV industry, which involves spending a lot of time on one’s feet. I soon realised that this was no longer a possibility and therefore decided to pursue the only other occupation I had shown an interest in.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing people change, seeing their quality of life improve, over time and through our work. I hadn’t fully realised what an honour and a privilege being a therapist would be. I think that privilege comes with huge responsibility but seeing people flourish, grow and become increasingly self sufficient is a think of pure joy.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Interestingly, a lot of my television production work has played a key role in developing my skills as a therapist. For instance, when working in drama and creating a character, the questions you must ask, in terms of “what’s happened to you in order to get you to who and where you are today” are uncannily similar to the exploratory work in the therapeutic setting.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Listen. Not in order to reply but to understand. Learn to hear what’s not being said. Learn the power in simply reporting what you see and feel. Be fully present and available for contact. Treat each individual client as the unique person they are and tailor their therapy accordingly. And be yourself, whatever that means, rather than “trying” to be a “therapist”.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In the UK, we seem to have a huge stigma in terms of “going to therapy means that you’re weak”. In my experience, from both sides of the room, this could not be further from the truth. I think it takes huge courage, strength and sheer guts to choose to face yourself. Sometimes, therapy hurts but in the pain, lies the road to healing.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Thinking that we know everything because we are the “expert”. Not holding clear, firm and ethical boundaries. Getting the clients “stuff” mixed up with our own. Not being real.

Bio

I work with adults on a short or long term basis. It is my aim to provide you with a meaningful and effective opportunity to explore your personal & relational issues, where I will aim to facilitate, support and guide you without judgement or prejudice, in a safe and confidential environment in order to help you explore a range of personal and life issues.

My approach is primarily but not exclusively Gestalt, which focuses mainly on self-awareness and the ‘here & now’ – what is happening from one moment to the next, and guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole – a mind, a body and a soul. The aim is to become more aware of who we are in the world, by seeing ourselves in relation to others. This increased self knowledge can enable us to understand our processes and so to make positive changes in our lives.

The therapeutic relationship, between you and I, is the most important feature of the therapy I provide.

You can learn more about Damian George at www.damiangeorge.co.uk.

Interview with Kristina Dragnea M.C., R.P

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When couples come in to see me I start off by stressing the imperative nature that each party work their darnedest (against all odds set out by the ego) to focus on themselves, developing a keen eye for personal virtues and also faults in the self. Although that may seem counter intuitive for “couples therapy”, the dynamics in a plummeting romantic relationship tend to be intricately convoluted—blaimy if you will (is too a word), that it becomes second nature to identify the other as being at fault while not recognizing ones own contributions to the increasing dysfunction. The only purpose this serves is to build existing mental law suits against the other which subsequently increases both resentment and distance. Alternatively, (and only if the above is no longer serving the couple) I encourage each partner to actively participate in the painfully challenging yet adventurous journey of self discovery in relation to each other. Dare to bring one’s highest and most authentic self to light while cultivating the compassion and empathy in the self to further see each other as equally deserving of love, understanding and acceptance.

“Everything about other people that doesn’t satisfy us helps us to better understand ourselves” – Carl Jung

No one will or can serve you a platter of happiness, but you can help yourself to the playful curiosity needed to transcend to the optimal version of yourself. Here are a few mindfulness tips I help clients cultivate necessary to impact change.

– Disarm and observe the self with playful curiosity while accepting the other with the same openness and intrigue.
– Trade the pitchfork in for a magnifying glass to transform the ‘blame game’ into the ‘explore your shadow’ game.
– Accept and acknowledge things and people for what and who they are while continuing to cultivate the mindfulness imperative to introspective exploration.
– Align closely to your authentic self and live alongside your like willed partner with integrity and strengthened resilience to respond more and react less.
– Rinse and repeat.

For a more in-depth look at and experience of what this looks like in practice come visit us at our Queen West boutique clinic and talk to any one of our psychotherapists at www.mindfulmaelstrom.com.

Bio

Simply put, my passion lies in helping people along their paths to re-discovering their true, authentic selves.

In my career as a psychotherapist and through my own introspective explorations, time and time again I have witnessed the life-changing clarity brought on by the integration of a mindfulness component as part of therapy.

​I work with the belief that we all have unconscious, unacknowledged parts of ourselves that influence our thoughts, feelings, and subsequent behaviours, for better or for worse. The more we work at bringing these parts of ourselves to the forefront of our awareness, the more confident we will feel in allowing ourselves to be guided by our own experience and intuition, rather than by external influences. The less we look to the world around us for answers and instead look inward, the more aligned we will feel with our purpose and the more we will be living it fully and authentically.

Research into mindfulness studies and psychotherapy suggest that the partnership of the two modalities can accelerate a person’s ability to function more in the present moment and live more from a place of acceptance while maintaining a less reactive response in both their intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. Treatments offered can be tailored to address issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatic (sleep) disorders, and adjustment disorders to name some of the more reported difficulties.

Let me guide you on a Journey to Mindfully Align to the Beat of your Own Drum.

You can learn more about Kristina Dragnea at www.mindfulmaelstrom.com/kristina-dragnea.

Interview with Mary Marano, RP, MSc

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because at one time I was a foster parent for the children’s aid Society and due to wait lists and a flawed system children had to wait extensive time for service which I found to be painful and unfair. As a therapist I felt it was important that everyone had access to services no matter what the circumstances.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is when I get to witness transformation and change as that individual travels on their journey.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

What is unique about my intra-personal approach to therapy is that people feel like they come into a therapy session like they’re having a cup of coffee. I demystify therapy for people where they feel safe and comfortable to hear some truths that they may otherwise resist. For me, this is real life therapy and I don’t mess around with peoples lives.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Two of my most favourite tips are change is not a skill, change is a choice. And you feel what you think. The moment you go into negative thinking patterns, you will feel crummy, and potentially use negative behaviours to cope.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I would like to make people aware that usually people come into a therapy session because of a crisis moment, however therapy is for everyone and we must begin to remove the stigma from the old messaging that society has put out there, change the belief is that there is something wrong with you if you need therapy. In fact, taking care of our emotional and mental health is The best gift anyone can give them self.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake of therapist or patient can make is not being clear in communicating the expectations and goals of the therapeutic relationship. It is very important at the initial stages to be clear and have a guideline and treatment plan so the lines in the therapeutic relationship do not get blurred.

Bio

You can learn more about Mary Marano at www.lifeandfamilycounselling.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Philippa Smethurst

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because at the core of me is a deep and abiding interest in people. I was a music teacher and overseas development worker/recruiter, bur all the time it was what people are about that interested me most.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of being a therapist are the contact with individuals who entrust themselves and their difficulties to me and engage with me. To this day, and many thousands of hours on, this feels like an amazing and moving privilege.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t know what is unique or special about my background or approach really. I have done a lot of training and my most recent training incorporates an understanding of the body into psychological processes. This additional training feels to me to ‘complete the jigsaw’ as I have always felt that the body was largely missed out of the picture in terms of other psychological theories and understandings of counselling and psychotherapy. I have found this additional training has enlivened my work and made it more effective more of the time.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I don’t give advice. I think people think they want advice but don’t really need it. What they need is to learn to listen to themselves and all that is going on inside. That can be an overwhelming task and feel like a ball of string, but with time and attention, I notice that we find what is going on inside becomes clearer and more illuminated. When more is understood and given voice to, we can feel calmer and more in charge of what is going on. The results of such an encounter with within can be amazing and can feel like the best job in the world.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy can be fun! And ideally is a creative process. That does not mean that it can sometimes be a struggle and very hard going, when things can get harder before they get easier, but it can be fun and celebratory and exciting too. I love engaging in the process of therapy and being open to where it takes me and the other person.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Biggest mistakes? I’m sure I’ve made loads. Trying to give advice. Thinking that we have a responsibility to solve another’s problems. Trying too hard. Not being thoughtful or self reflective enough. Not having enough personal space to think and work out what is going on with myself and therefore becoming too pressurised.

Bio

You can learn more about Philippa Smethurst at www.philippa-psychotherapy.com.

Interview with James McCracken, LCSW, PLLC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was a Political Science major during undergraduate studies, but realized after graduation that I had a knack for listening to people, being able to take multiple perspectives, feeling and dealing with a full range of emotions, and feeling ok being an active part of people’s lives who were experiencing trouble. I worked for a psychologist briefly as a testing assistant, and didn’t find that rewarding, but when I started working with families with complicated circumstances as a counselor everything made sense. I continued that work for a couple of years, went on to earn a Masters of Social Work with a focus on Clinical Social Work, worked many other public agency positions, and eventually found myself much more focused on people’s relationships and how they coordinate their emotions and intentions. I am now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist who sees mostly couples and families in my private practice in Durham, NC.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Connecting with people and helping them undo their aloneness and despair. Helping people make sense of their emotional lives and their closest relationships, and helping them build and rebuild rewarding, secure relationships is the most rewarding work I could ever do.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am one of a limited number of Certified Emotionally Focused Therapists (as well as a Supervisor Candidate) in the world, which means that I privilege people’s felt emotional experiences and the associated attachment needs and help clients make sense of those in an organic here-and-now way. I do not teach communication skills, problem-solving skills, or how to “fight fair,” but rather bring people safely into their authentic emotional experience, and help them find the courage to assertively share and hear emotions in relationships. I hold the space in my office so that it is safe for all persons to understand each other. I have also been trained in many other approaches to psychotherapy and couple/family therapy, all of which revolve around privileging what it is that my client’s need and want first.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Turning towards your partner with vulnerable emotions, while at times scary/risky, is the path towards intimacy. If an emotion feels like a shield, you’re not in your core, vulnerable emotions yet. Look to the signals your body sends you first… a tightness in your chest can mean fear, a lump in the throat can mean sadness, a pit in the stomach can mean dread. What does that feeling want to say about your need in-the-moment in the relationship? Can you take a risk to share this with your partner, and if not, can you tell your partner about what feels too risky? If you hear this from your partner, can you just listen to the feeling without fixing, and simply be with them so they aren’t alone? I recommend everyone read the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy should be a safe and validating experience that isn’t about fault finding or fixing flaws. Therapy is about growth, healing, and compassion. Therapy is about having the right relationship conditions so that what is natural (healing and growth) can occur. Emotions aren’t the problem… they are actually part of the solution. The best learning is done from the inside-out.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For a therapist, thinking you know better than your client or that you’ve somehow got it all figured out. There’s always more to learn, and no one knows the experience of another as well as that other person. Get feedback from your clients.
For a client/patient, I don’t know that you can make a mistake by taking a risk in coming to therapy… when you’re ready to do the work and the environment is right, you’re likely to do it. Remember that relationships (including therapy) include you but it’s more than you… it’s about the dance or dynamic created between you and someone else rather that just what one person is doing. But watch out for pitfalls… blame, defensiveness… those are usually signs that you need to be understood more.

Bio

James McCracken, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist and Supervisor Candidate who operates a private practice in Durham, NC focused on treating relationship distress. His professional background includes serving a variety of community-based populations experiencing a variety of problems including relationship distress, psychiatric and serious emotional disorders, addiction disorders, chronic and terminal medical conditions, and extreme psychosocial distress. James believes that by focusing on strengthening clients’ naturally occurring relationships, independent of what other problems they may experience, we can facilitate lasting and empowering change for adults and their children. His practice website is located at http://www.jamesmccrackenlcsw.com/. In addition to his clinical practice, James also co-owns a relationship education and enhancement business, Shelter Each Other, LLC, and a clinical software company, both located in North Carolina.

Interview with Hilary Brown PhD

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Why did I become a therapist? There is a feeling dimension to the question and thinking strand.

When I was younger there were times when I was left to deal with things that were too difficult for a young person to manage. It was the emotional equivalent of lifting too much for your back to bear and hurting yourself in the process so that you often have a “pull” or a “twinge” when you go to carry things as an adult. That motivates me to work with people who struggle with what happened to them and who continue to be hampered by the structural damage caused by their own particular ways of coping. I like seeing blame and guilt fall away so that people can get on with their lives freer from emotional pain and comfortable with asking for the help they need.

The thinking part of the equation is that people are endlessly interesting and creative and I learn from my patients while we are working to understand their particular situation. Freud said being a psychoanalyst was like being an archaeologist, digging around to find what was there and what was missing, but I think it is like being a mix between being a curious aunt,- close but not too close, and a cartographer,- mapping where we are in time and place and opening up a dialogue about how to get through difficult terrain.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When you find yourself saying “How could she do this to me?” or “Why on earth is he behaving like that?” or “Why can’t she be like other people?” or “What would make a mother do that?”or “How could he?” or “Why can’t she get school bag ready like other children?”

If you turn the dial down on the indignation with a good friend or a supportive therapist these are often really helpful questions to answer. The process of cooling off and stepping back is often a gateway into acknowledging things you have already “clocked” but are not taking fully into account. Often we find we know the answers but are acting as if we didn’t. It isn’t that we are explaining away bad behaviour or making excuses but opening ourselves up to others and trying to make sense of the world from their point of view. This helps us to move on and to make good decisions for ourselves.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Hilary Brown at www.tunbridgewellspsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Jayni Bloch M.A. C.Psych.Assoc.

I always, even as a little child, wanted to understand how relationships work best, and knew that there are more to it than what seemed on the surface. Wondering why people experience so much conflict, became a puzzle that fueled my passion to solve. After years of studies, personal experiences, and sharp observations of my clients, I have come to insightful and meaningful ways of grasping relationships and helping those who need guidance. I am thankful for the many shoulders I can stand on of researchers and theorists that went before me and influenced my search, understanding, and personal and professional relationship practice. I do believe that I can only preach what I practice myself in life.

The different perspective that I bring to couples, family, and all relationship challenges (even groups and cross-cultural relationships), is the extreme divides between people I experienced during my childhood during the Apartheid-era in South Africa. The pain of conflict inspired my passion and compassion for all who are at loggerheads. Whether the feuding is interpersonal, or family and group related, there are certain principles that are important to apply in the healing of conflict. These principles are healing to both individuals and groups.

The first of these principles is that one can learn to accept and understand oneself better, and heal one’s own unconscious wounds, by truly listening to what another person, or group, annoy or inflames within you. That thing that annoys you is possibly something you suppress in yourself. That very annoyance you feel, indicates a personal wound, fear or hurt that occurred somewhere in your personal or cultural history, which creates defense mechanisms. One easily tends to project or point the finger outside of oneself, when the wounds are triggered by anyone stirring those unconscious wounds. Only when this suppressed quality is acknowledged, can you negotiate the conflicting relationship with compassion. It is not a matter of being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but rather a matter of understanding with compassion where your hurt lies in oneself and how you defend yourself from it, as well as how the other party protects themselves from their pain in their behavior towards you and others.

We understand ourselves and others better when we have a comprehension of the parts of ourselves that partake in the union that composes our personality. I give workshops in teaching these parts and how they work inside us under the subject of Archetypes, but I do have a different opinion about what archetypes are and how to use them, especially where relationships are concerned. For more information on this subject, please visit my website.

Love is not enough, when it comes to what makes a personal relationship work. It is paramount to discern who you merge with in an intimate partnership, assuring that the person you want to spend your life with have the same values and adhere to the personality qualities that equals your own. This last fact assures a foundation on which the relationship flourishes. Of course, you do not have to be the same, but both people in an intimate relationship have to compliment and support each other’s qualities. The meaning of partnership is exactly that, that the parties involved are equal in their ability to support, grow, and contribute to whatever the union stands for. Too few people think of that and fall in love with beauty or money or fame, which is not sustainable in the long run. Values that you hold, which the other do not adhere to, can destroy a relationship, unless you know and accept this and are prepared to live like this in advance. People do not change unless they have the quality and the desire to do so. One can only expect growth through change, together, when the foundation of your partnership is based on the qualities and virtues of personality in the first place, which matches your deepest soul needs, and not on external circumstances alone.

There is not enough understanding or information on relationship building and choices in general. This lack of understanding allows people, especially young people to get involved in destructive relationships too soon in their lives. It takes time to learn who one is, and the best time to commit to an intimate longstanding relationship is in the third decade of one’s life, after one has lived and accumulated adventures and experiences that informs more of one’s true needs. Societal pressure on young people to get married and have children is harmful. Learn as much as you can about yourself first and heal your history while you encounter relationships without long-term commitments while you are young. When you are truly ready to enter a long-term commitment, you will be able to discern clearly who to be with in constructive healing and growing ways.

This short article is only touching the tip of the iceberg about the complex field of relationships. There is much to heal about our ancestral, personal family influences that affects our ability to relate well. And there are specific ways to communicate in concise and clear protocols that promote understanding which is not readily available to people. Please read more and connect with professionals who can support your own understanding and healing.

For more information about my own approach, be welcome to connect with me through my website or join a workshop: https://genian.net/

Jayni Bloch M.A. C.Psych.Assoc.
Kanata Psychotherapy Centre
https://genian.net/
613-599-0937

Interview with James Matthew Green, M.Div., LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

As a young man I became impressed with how psychotherapy helped me become more emotionally healthy and happy. The personal growth that I gained in therapy resulted in me having much better relationships. So I got interested in the field of psychotherapy and eventually became a therapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The therapist is privileged to get to know clients on a deep level. I consider it an honor to walk with my clients for a while on their journey in life. When I see I have made a difference, it makes me feel fulfilled. The more I get to know people by sharing with them about their inner lives, the more insight I have about what it means to be human.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I earned a Master of Divinity in my younger years because I am interested in how we are connected to something greater than ourselves. In my practice, I notice people call that God, the Universe, Higher Power, the Unified Field and many other terms. This dimension in life is, I believe, very important in terms of having a sense of meaning and purpose. It is also important to reduce anxiety, because if you are a part of something greater, you can draw strength from it. My clients choose me as their therapist because they want to bring the spiritual dimension into their personal growth.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Often clients ask me, “Can I get my loved one to change?” I respond, “Possibly. People can learn and grow. And then they do change. However, I think your main focus should be on your own personal growth. The best way you can find greater happiness in your relationship and in all other part of your life is to be dedicated to your journey to becoming a wiser, more loving person. In doing that, you will already begin to change your relationship. You will draw forth a more loving response from your partner. And you may realize that with or without your partner, you really like the person that you have blossomed into.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Every human being is learning and growing. And we all benefit from insight offered by others, especially experienced professionals, because sometimes it is hard to be objective about one’s self. Relationships are a school for personal growth. If someone asks me, “Why do I find myself in this difficult relationship?” I respond, “You are in this relationship because there is something important you are supposed to learn. So let’s explore what your relationship is teaching you.”

If someone says, “I am seeing my therapist today,” the healthy response from a friend is, “You go! I admire you because you are proactive about making your relationship and your life better.” Sometimes clients tell me, “I was reluctant to begin therapy because I thought it wouldn’t do any good. But now I see how I have changed and how my relationship has changed. Everyone tells me I am happier and obviously enjoy life and my relationship more. I find talking about my life in therapy extremely interesting. It is the one place in my life where it is OK to focus on how I feel and what I want out of life.”

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to be too highly directive; telling the client what life decisions to make. If a therapist starts doing that, run! The biggest mistake a client can make is to make therapy a once a week experience. Therapy must be woven into daily life. The insights and new activities that are discussed during the therapy hour must be practiced in everyday life, or you will not see change.

Bio

Jim Green, M.Div., LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Charlotte, NC.
2434 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205. 980-307-1131. jimgreenmdiv@gmail.com jamesmatthewgreen.com
Member, American Counseling Association
Jim brings 30 years of experience to his work as a psychotherapist.

Clients often bring to psychotherapy concerns that are at the heart of being human. These concerns may be expressed as, “How do I find meaning in life?” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” or “Why is there suffering?” Ultimately, these are spiritual questions, and Jim’s theological background prepares him to enter into these discussions with great ability and empathy. Jim’s graduate education emphasized offering emotional and spiritual support to clients of all faith traditions. Jim also has considerable experience working with people who claim no faith tradition, utilizing basic human values such as love, patience, and nurturing, which are common to all humanity.

Interview with Psychotherapist Edward Traversa

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

A very abbreviated version is that someone told me that I would never make something of myself and I wanted to prove them wrong.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing a client go from struggling with life to thriving. Its also a profession where there is a continual learning of how people function and how to best help them.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I tend to focus more on unconscious factors which may be affecting interpersonal relationships, particularly ingrained patterns. I am not overly focused on insight though it has its place, I tend to focus more on leveraging the unconscious towards helping a person reach their aims in life.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Find a way to relax, most things go better when people are relaxed.

Another thing I find is that often people are using protective mechanisms that once served a good purpose, but which no longer serves them well. When people are hurt they tend to strike out with an old protective mechanism. Their tasks in relationships is to learn to let go of those ways of dealing with conflict and learn new more adaptive and beneficial ones.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There are lots, but I think one of the biggest is the idea that there is something seriously wrong with them. The research demonstrates that as many as seven out of ten people are afflicted by some form of mental health issue in their lives. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but for many people it can be an excellent way to learn to thrive in life.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the misconceptions people often have is that the therapy session itself is the work. But, it is more like coming into a session and then implementing what came out of the session into daily life. The client is ultimately responsible for change.

From a therapist’s perspective, one of the more common mistakes is to overly rely on techniques and procedures. Techniques and such can help, but as research consistently shows it is often the relationship between the therapist and the client which often is healing.

Bio

You can learn more about Edward Traversa at https://edwardtraversa.com/.

Interview with Counsellor Nadja Zivkovic Nikitin

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was always very curious about people and interpersonal relationships and people recognized this so they often came to me with their problems as I was a good listener and natural in empathy. I genuinely care about people and the more I work with them, the more I believe that that is exactly what makes the difference.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Definitely the most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is actually seeing the change in people, seeing that you did not give them the solution or a prescribed recipe but instead you gave them tools that helped them make the change unique to themselves. Sometimes people just need support and if you can, instead of following your own agenda as a therapist, be attentive to your clients’ needs and mirror or respond to those needs, you hit the jackpot!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe that being open and curious about people, different cultures and languages really helps me. I recognize the importance of therapy in the patient’s mother language and the small nuances that can often be missed when the patient is consulted in a foreign language can turn out to be very important.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Probably being open to genuinely care about others and do that long-term in any relationship. Intimate relationship, friendship and in fact any other interpersonal relationship always grows and changes just like we do, it is different in various phases in life, so each of these relationships need constant care and investment on both sides.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In my opinion, there is still too much stigma about psychotherapy and people initially do not believe that it can help them. It is also often unnecessarily connected to pharmacotherapy which is off-putting to many.

I would like people to be able to recognize that when they have an issue, there is help available and they can turn to therapy. Most people suffer in silence and later find themselves so entangled with their issues that it becomes too difficult to even get to the real problem, let alone deal with it.
Also, I believe that every person could benefit from psychotherapy, even if it is only for getting to know themselves, their qualities and limitations.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes a patient can make is to censor things they say to their therapist because they are afraid of being judged or they want to keep up the appearance they have in other relationships. A therapist, on the other hand, can make a big mistake if they do not let themselves be close to their patents emotionally and to have sincere feelings for each patient. I believe that the relationship between the patient and the therapist can be a significant reparative tool for the patient and if it is not genuine on both sides, it fails in being as beneficial as it can be.

Bio

I am a qualified psychologist and counsellor trained in France and United Kingdom. My approach is integrative and combines humanistic, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural elements depending on your needs and circumstances.

My aim is to provide you with a safe, confidential and judgment-free space to explore your issues and make your daily life and functioning easier. I want to build a trusting relationship with you where we can reflect on your self-awareness and ways of relating to yourself and others. I work in the English and Serbian languages, either in person, in my Belgrade office, or via Skype, wherever you are.

More information can be found on http://nadjacounselling.com/

Interview with Krystal Boothe, LCSW

Krystal Boothe is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of Wings of the Future. Boothe grew up in Detroit, MI from an underprivileged family in an abusive home; her father had two wives. The abusive environment made a major impact in her schooling as she had special educational classes. As an adult, she found herself repeating the cycle of abuse; she became a victim. “[I] was in an abusive relationship for nine long years, but [no] one could tell. [I covered] my pain…and suffered in silence.” After leaving her abuser, she married her current husband in 1999, but after 14 years of marriage they divorced only to reunite after 3 years to found Wings of the Future shortly after. Krystal Boothe was featured as a survivor for Mary Kay’s “Inspiring Stories: Give Hope” documentary (www.marykayinspiringstories.com) where she shares her story of Hope, resilience and recovery.

Who We Are

Wings of the Future is a Private Practice located in LA, Pasadena and Quartz Hill Antelope Valley. It provides treatment in psychotherapy/counseling, psychological assessment and group therapy/classes. Wings of the Future addresses trauma with the use of various treatment modalities including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness (Inner Child Healing) to assist client’s in discovering and healing complex trauma. Our clientele is typically adults, adolescents, children and their families in Los Angeles County who have DCFS and court-ordered counseling and Psychotherapy group/classes. We strive to provide the highest quality of rehabilitative services by psycho-educating each client about trauma, codependency, domestic abuse, mental health, addiction and various other issues which contribute to the separation of families. To learn more about what we do check out our website @ wingsofthefuture4us.com.

Our Mission

Our mission at Wings of the Future is to facilitate the healing process of marginalized underserved families from trauma so that they can emerge into functional family systems. We aim to assist our clients with developing the skills necessary to create healthy and rewarding relationships. We believe this is the key to an individual’s growth and can benefit the families we serve.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My desire to learn psychotherapy came out of my own pain from complex trauma. As a young girl growing up in Detroit Michigan I experienced almost every form of trauma known to man. From attachment, domestic violence to physical and emotional abuse. But it was not until my teen years following a very traumatic incident that I said to myself “I’m going to become a psychologist because people need help” at the time I barely knew the word psychologist, but somehow, I arrived at this decision to help others. I guess I thought to myself. “I wish someone would help me.” That simple statement was like a cry for God’s help. It was not until years later that I was working as a case manager for an agency in California when I was spotted by an intern from University of Southern California. This young lady would not leave me alone and encouraged me every time she saw me to apply for the master’s program. I wasn’t long before I took her advice and applied. The rest is history.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I sometimes believe therapy was made just for me. I know that sounds silly how can a whole profession be made for one person. Its just that it fulfills me in so many ways, it’s hard to completely describe. I feel so honored to be trusted with people lives. To be allowed into the most secret places of a person life to help them discover, uncover and expose their true selves. It brings so much joy to my heart when through listening. I help others heal themselves again and again. This is so rewarding. Not to mention using my emotional intelligence, analytical skills, compassion, empathy, and so many more skills. I feel like when I leave a session, I grow more knowledgeable each time I interact with my clients. Never boring day in this profession.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I approach interpersonal relationship with the understanding that you can never have a better relationship with anyone then you have with self. If you can’t love yourself or have compassion for yourself in an area, you will find it hard to transfer this to another. All relationships stem from the relationship we have with ourselves. However, judgmental or conditional that may be. This can be challenging for people because we often model our disposition towards self from our primary caregivers. This can be unlearned, but one must be consistent and ready to break old negative patterns of behavior.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My advice when having a relationship is to simply be open and willing to connect. Honest communication is key. Allow others to see who you are so they can learn to trust you.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My main public service announcement in therapy would be to learn as much as you can about the complex trauma and how it impacts a person’s ability to function in their daily life and develop and maintain healthy relationships. Trauma influences so many areas of a person’s life that to completely understand it is a life journey. This is something I feel needs to continue to be brought to the front-line of this profession.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Boundaries crossing is one of the biggest mistakes you can make with a client particularly when they have trauma. Its something that should be reviewed on a regular basis when working in the helping profession.

Interview with Psychotherapist Tressa Porter

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

“Because I failed miserably as client!” I’m joking, though I felt like that for a long time! In therapy, fortunately you cannot fail. It’s a process of growth and understanding. I struggled deeply for many years to find relief from my own mind, to make sense of my feelings and navigate my life. Therapy helped me profoundly. This propelled me to learn and continue learning about what’s going on inside our minds and what really helps us feel better over the long term. I never wanted anyone to feel the way I did.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love supporting people to understand their own mind and really understand and love themselves. I watch people learn to experience agency in their own mind and find joy in their relationships and their life. There’s nothing better! I think of therapy like the fishing analogy. You can catch a fish for someone and feed them for a day or teach them to fish and they are fed for life. Therapy offers this because when we truly understand our own mind we are equipped to navigate our inner and outer world for a lifetime.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I work from a psychoanalytically-informed perspective which is based in attachment. This simply means I come from the understanding that much of what causes problems for us is in our unconscious mind which we learned in our developmental years. Repetitive patterns we get caught in are often the result of unconscious information we learned about ourselves and others when we were little. I believe we all need a safe relationship to explore how the past is present, to become clear how our unconscious ideas about ourselves are still alive and see how what we don’t know about ourselves that may be running our lives. I am very skilled and highly trained in doing just that! I help people learn about these unconscious patterns and change them.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

1. Learn empathy and understanding for yourself. It will become much easier to have it with others.
2. If someone else is to blame for how you feel you’ve lost your agency and your connection to your choice.
3. Conflict in our relationships is not always a bad sign. Conflict is always at the doorway to growth if we decide to take it. Our closest relationships are the most powerful place where our unconscious patterns will play out!
4. We highly overestimate how easy and satisfying our intimate relationships should be. We highly underestimate how much work, focus and support we need to have healthy successful relationships.
5. Somebody once told me not only does it take a community to raise a child, it takes a community to grow our relationships. We all need help.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Psychotherapy is not a quick fix. There are many quick fixes out there that can be very helpful in the short term. Psychotherapy is about a process, a tool if you will, you can use to grow your awareness of you so you can understand and navigate your mind, your relationships and your life consiously. Its not about being fixed. Its about deepening your understanding of yourself and your relationships so you can grow your life in a way that feels good.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Its tempting to get focused solely on short term feel better ideas and miss the long term vision of sustainable well-being. It’s like a lawn mover. It will rid your yard of dandelions very quickly, which seems attractive and logical, but very soon they will grow back unless you take the time and make the investment to dig them out at the root. I believe taking the time to dig up the roots is really where its at, although I happen to love dandelions!

Bio

Please join “The Inner Compass” email. The purpose is to explore tools to hone our emotional navigational skills and increase our confidence exploring our inner world and nurturing our relationships:

https://forms.aweber.com/form/89/763760489.htm

Or you can also sign up at tressaporter.com

Interview with Jennifer Jones, LMFT

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Blending lots of different experiences, see below.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Being authentic and understanding your real feelings is a much better basis for long lasting trust and satisfying relationships than “behaving” correctly. I think truth, even if its hard outweighs performance.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Clear and positive exploration of male experiences through the male psyche, not translated into female psychology. Clear translation of interpersonal conflict to increase bonding and intimacy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not having a good connection from the beginning. The feeling of fit is an important element. I advocate that prospective clients make sure they like and feel comfortable with the therapist style. Also, vice versa.

Tell us about your background of your business and yourself

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the power of the “invisible world.” I was adopted and grew up surrounded by engineers who focused on the concrete; I evolved in opposition. I focused on the internal world of feelings and thoughts, curious to explore our human relationship to the more energetic and subconscious worlds, e.g., language, brain, intimacy, emotions, motivation.

Graduate degrees in Communication & Cultural Studies, Counseling Education and post-graduate training in Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy, allowed me to deepen these interests. I trained in career counseling, systems theory, psycho-dynamic psychology, child and adolescent personality development, grief counseling, couples therapy, psycho-oncology, mindfulness meditation, infertility counseling, adoption, and other mind-body modalities. I study evolutionary psychology and apply this perspective as well with clients.

I’ve owned a counseling practice since 2002 and worked with countless individuals and couples. I also have been studying male psychology for quite some time and advocate for a more positive understanding of male’s experiences in relationships.

I feel happy intimacy and close relationships are core to one’s happiness in life. We may get caught up in the world of money and tasks, but when things get quiet, people really just want more love. A smooth relationship to Love-Intimacy-Trust doesn’t always come easy, however, particularly if you have sustained some emotional bruising in your lifetime.

My work helps men and women decrease barriers that are diluting Love-Intimacy-Trust. My goal is help make the invisible more concrete and increase men and women’s feeling of competence in their love life, so they can enjoy as much love as they want!

What inspired you to pursue your profession?

I like complicated puzzles created by invisible dynamics. I was good at detecting the subliminal level of things, body language, emotions. I’m intuitive and highly observant, so I gravitated towards a field that rewards that.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I appreciate connecting with people as they tell their stories and working with real, intimate material. I don’t really get excited about spending lots of time concentrating on the superficial level of existence. I like meaning and listening to other’s who are interested in making meaning for their selves.

Practice info

Located in beautiful San Marcos, Texas, this destination couples therapy is an action oriented, male supportive, non-judgemental approach.

Couples get away from their daily life, and in one block of time, resolve intimacy and emotional issues, finding a way forward together or apart.

12 Hours Total Private Couples Counseling.

Strategy Report, Resources and Snacks Provided.

In addition to offering the Private Couples Retreats, I’m also developing a video based project, set to launch in 2019-2010.

More information, see jenjonestherapy.com.

Interview with Michael Raskind, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Originally I was interested in police work and was accepted to college for Criminal Science. My mother put the bug in my ear about how people seemed naturally attracted to me as someone who people seem to like to talk to. I have a cousin who was a social worker in Boston and I called him. After speaking with him I decided that social work was more my thing. I was accepted to a few schools of Social Work and went to Dayton for my BSW and later Columbia for my MSW.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding thing about being a therapist is to see the growth in people. Most people need someone to sell them on themselves and to notice the strengths they have. The excitement I see from them as they begin to acknowledge this is the most rewarding aspect. I see people in person and on teletherapy.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My background is a combination of Social Work and Sales. The two go hand in hand. A successful salesman listens intently and empathetically as well as a therapist. My background is very eclectic with clients of all ages, genders, religions… And I have worked in both mental health and chemical dependency. I have been a therapist in these settings as well as a Director.I am mow a private practitioner and consultant.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My big tip is that a therapeutic relationship is a partnership. We develop a bond to work on common goals to help the individual/couple/family

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is a mode for helping yourself. It is a tool, at one’s disposal, to implement for one’s growth.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake that therapists and patient’s make is stopping therapy too early or waiting too long to stop. Though there are those who benefit from always having a therapist, the majority of people can fly on their own after awhile. That timing is a mutual conversation between the therapist and the client.

Bio

You can learn more about Michael Raskind at www.mraskindlcsw.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Jeannine K. Vegh, M.A., I.M.F.T.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I began working with other people as a Girl Scout and later through charity work. After a decade of working in the fashion industry, which I found very shallow, I looked up schools with a psychology degree and was hooked. I am not as creative as I would like to be either. I am more a thinker so this field works great for me.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

When people listen and follow your guidance and you begin to see their lives improving. They smile more when they talk about how they see their lives changing and you feel happy inside. Especially when they came in, in a dark place and over time, you see the light coming on.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I studied in the department of holistic studies and minored in somatic counseling. I am very intuitive as well so I trust what I see. I am treating the whole person and start with where it began. This helps them to get a sense of the connections between past and present. It helps to find the direction for them. I am now working on getting trained in the Gottman method and have completed the third level and now need to begin working with a supervisor. I think this is the best way to help support couples because it is teaching communication skills. This is the basic key to success in any relationship.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

This would be working with a Gottman trained therapist of course. They have a new app “Gottman Card Deck” which is actually free and a nice segue into their couple’s therapy. I also like using the 5 Love Languages as an adjunct to my work with couples. But my best advice is “Before You Say I Do, it is important to consider pre-marital therapy.” It is too easy to look through rose colored glasses when you are in love and egotistical to think you won’t be one of the 40-50% getting a divorce. Especially if either of you has come from abusive backgrounds, veteran, drinking or drug addictions, or mental illness. Even if there was divorce between your parents or a father who abandoned you. I always look at issues of concern growing up because they will continue to play a role in your marriage. It is important to be conscious of these things, understand how it will play a role and process it with a counselor.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Take time to research your therapist, ask them lots of questions and your chances are, you will find the right fit for you. If they aren’t, don’t be afraid to try again. Those people who research my background are much happier with therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist – Countertransference and so refusing to do work on themselves. I decided not to be a supervisor because I was tired of hearing newbies not wanting to consider therapy as an adjunct to an internship. It is vital to your growth as a professional. NO ONE came from a perfect childhood who considers being a psychotherapist. If you did, you wouldn’t have anything of value to contribute as you would be lacking in real life experience. I would never work with a therapist who didn’t have some type of personal growth through real life lessons.

Client – Not researching the background of the therapist and asking questions.

Bio

You can learn more about Jeannine K. Vegh at www.jkvegh.com.

Interview with Stephanie Konter-O’Hara, LPC, 200-RYT


I became a therapist after a difficult time in my life where I went to therapy in college to a few different therapists. One of the therapists was not so helpful which made me feel worse, but then I went to one that was so helpful and I felt a weight being lifted off my chest, to the point where I felt motivated again and eager to help other people have a similar experience as I did. I also learned something from that therapist that I went to that wasn’t so helpful, that each therapist has a different base in which they are coming from that can either be effective or not effective, so my goal is to provide the most effective therapy I can, and understand when it doesn’t work for everyone and I’m okay with that.

Being a therapist is very rewarding as I am able to speak to people during times of struggle and provide validation, support, and skills that they may not otherwise be receiving without meeting with me. Knowing that I am of service, and impacting other peoples lives help fuels me to continue being a therapist and is truly gratifying.

I think one of my most solid skills is helping people communicate more effectively with others by first learning how to communicate with themselves. Often times if the communication is ineffectively outwardly in a person, that is really a sign of the person unhappiness, anxiety, or apathy they have towards themselves.

Working on affirmations, validation, and providing insight to an individual can increase their empathy towards others and effective communication will follow. So, my tip would be to work on forgiving and validating yourself if you truly want to have a healthy communication style with others. This is something that I feel like gets ignored about therapy, that its not something you do only for others, to make relationships better, to complete some task, or something that must be forced upon someone. Therapy is taking care of your self, just as much as eating right, and exercising is.

Finally, I think the biggest mistakes a therapist mistake is only looking through their lense when they view something the client is experiencing. For example, something that a therapist might see as horrible might be a clients norm, so hopefully, if the therapist can practicing zooming out their lense they can see it a little more objectively, and meet the client where they are at with the situation.

Bio

I have a Master of Arts in Counselor Education with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, from the University of South Florida. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado that works with teens, young adults, and their families. I have training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EMDR and am a Registered Yoga Teacher. The name of my practice is Stephanie Konter Counseling, LLC and the focus of the practice is to help young adults and teens resolve their problems with body image concerns, self-acceptance, forming healthy relationships and build a life worth living. You can learn more about Stephanie Konter-O’Hara at www.stephaniekontercounseling.com.

Interview with Dr. William Cloke

How or why did you become a therapist?

I grew up in a family that believed in being of service and doing something that mattered. I became a teacher in 1970 after graduating from a program at USC called Teacher Corps which was a fellowship program with the goal of bringing new teaching methods into inner city schools. I began teaching in Santa Monica and during my tenure my principal and other parents began to encourage me to become a therapist because they felt that I had the ability to get through to students that no one could. I decided to try it out when my aide became a therapist and essentially gave me free office space and referrals. Once I started seeing patients I realized that it was my calling and something that I had always been passionate about.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most valuable part of being a therapist is both being a part of relieving emotional pain and the value of the relationships with people. Also, helping to keep families together is another great reward.

What’s unique and special in your background or approach in interpersonal relationships?

My approach stems from my mother who was a child development expert, studying anthropology which helps me to understand culture and my teaching background that gave me experience in working with children and families. My approach is to build a method of working that is based on the unique characters of my patients. I believe that I have a natural understanding of how to apply theory to individuals to make the work very specific to each person. I have also developed ways of working with shame issues that are very much my own and they work.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I use a acronym called WAVE that applies to conflict which is the most difficult part of relationships. If couples can learn how to work through conflicts well they can stay together.The acronym is Wait until you cool down, Acknowledge what your partner is saying, Validate their rite to have their own point of view and feelings and Empathize allowing your partner to feel that you see their point of view from their perspective. Then, brain storm possible solutions and get feedback as to how it’s going. Relationships are built on connection and that involves both listening and taking action. Also, read my book “Happy Together” by Bill Cloke,

What are the things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There is a great need for mental health in our country. The mass shootings, homelessness and many health issues are cause by mental health problems. We need to create more mental health facilities for people who have no one and nowhere to go to get help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

The biggest mistake therapists can make is to not get enough of their own therapy. Therapists often don’t do their own work and then they make mistakes because they are not self aware. Often they come into the field wanting to help. The desire to help can get in the way of helping. The focus must be on the patient, it’s about them. Also, therapists frequently become fixated on a particular method of working instead of using a broad based approach to meet the needs of their patients. The biggest mistake is to not get enough education. To do this work requires that we know everything we can and be able to work in every modality. If not we are missing the boat.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. William Cloke at www.billcloke.com.

Interview with Dr. Debra Mandel

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I knew I wanted to become a psychologist by the time I turned 12 years old. I distinctly remember stating my goal out loud while serving appetizers to my parents’ friends during a social gathering at our house. One of the guests asked me the ever-so-common, and often quite annoying question for a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up? Without hesitation, I answered quite confidently, “I’m going to be a psychologist!” The response I received was, “Why don’t you want to be a medical doctor?” I replied, “I don’t want to prescribe medicine. I want to help people heal their emotional pain!” I chose the field of psychology, and specifically becoming a therapist, for several reasons but mainly I seemed to be the one to whom people we’re drawn to share their emotional suffering. I suppose because of being a highly sensitive and empathetic soul. Plus, being a child of non-English-speaking immigrants (and my father a Holocaust survivor) definitely created several challenging dynamics in our family system. Being in the field would allow me to better understand the complexities of humanity—something I so deeply desired. Surprisingly, I never once deviated from my decision and have never had regrets about my chosen profession.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love being able to facilitate clients’ growth and change, and especially help them overcome adversity. My goal is to help people move from victim to survivor to THRIVER!

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My rather traumatic childhood history created many emotional wounds. I wanted desperately to find peace and happiness and hence I was drawn to the field. I believe my depth of personal experience overcoming trauma allowed me to bring greater compassion, empathy, and creative tools to helping people heal.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Most people are doing the best they can at any given moment. Try to assume positive or neutral intentions on the part of people’s actions, unless otherwise noted. Practice the Platinum rule rather than the Golden rule. In other words, do unto others the way they ask you to do unto them (barring abuse, of course) rather than do unto others the way you would have them to do unto you. Why? Because we all have unique desires, needs and feeling and what I want may not be what you want.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Many people still believe that therapy is only for “sick” people. We all have mental and emotional health issues and could benefit from having a trusted confidant, separate from our family members or friends, with whom to share our internal woes and life questions. Therapy is not a replacement for spiritual counselling or practice, but it can certainly enhance our understanding of ourselves—hence allowing us to have more gratifying interpersonal relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is to believe that she “knows better” than her client and imposing her judgement. Therapists need to provide a compassionate, listening ear and gear feedback according to the personal needs of her client. Therapy is not one-size-fits-all!

Bio

Dr. Debra has authored 4 published books, including Dump That Chump! Tune in to The Dr. Debra and Therapist Kelli Show live Tuesdays from 1-2 pm PT or download to listen anytime. www.latalkradio.com (channel 1). You can learn more about Dr. Debra Mandel at www.drdebraonline.com.

Interview with Teresa Solomita, LCSW-R, NCPsyA

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

As the youngest of 7 children in a chaotic household, I learned early on that I’d better learn to manage the relationships with my siblings in order to survive! I spent a lot of time watching, learning and listening – I seemed like the best one for them to turn to when they were struggling with a problem since I was usually around. Somehow, I found myself in the corporate IT world for many years, but I quickly discovered that the power dynamics and relationships in the workplace were far more interesting than programming systems. Soon, through my own experience with therapy, I was able to imagine a much better career. I studied psychoanalysis while I worked in business and eventually made the switch. I’ve never looked back for even an instant!

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The first thing that comes to mind is watching my client’s grow and change and take risks so they can have a better life. And being a partner to that process. Of course, I also enjoy constantly learning and being challenged.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I think my experience growing up in such a large family taught me the importance of community and what it means to be seen and understood by others. And how desolate life feels when you cannot find that or your relationships feel empty or you find yourself to be isolated. The circuitous and difficult path I took to become a therapist helps me appreciate and value my work.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • The most important thing you can do in a relationship is to take risks and be vulnerable. Taking risks comes in the form of defining your needs, wishes, and desires to others. Do it in a way that isn’t blaming. Speak from your heart.
  • Listen like you mean it – that means being able to hear others’ needs, wishes and desires even if they differ from your own.
  • Practice empathy – imagine yourself in their shoes. Become curious about why something is important to your friend, lover, or family member.
  • Learn something new and share your story. If you feel interested in the world, you will be able to be more engaged in your relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is not just for people who have a mental illness or are not able to function well in a career. Therapy can help you break down your own barriers to achieving the goals that are important to you in your life. With the right therapist, therapy can lighten your life and actually be a fascinating and fun learning experience. Therapist’s don’t give advice, but they can help you find your own answers within.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake a therapist can make is misunderstanding what a particular patient needs to grow. The biggest mistake a patient can make is cutting and running before they tell that therapist directly that they made a mistake.

Bio

In addition to earning a Master’s of Social Work (with a focus on group therapy) from Hunter College School of Social Work, Teresa has studied and graduated from the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, The Couples Institute and The Center for Group Studies. Her passion for learning about and being a part of relationships continues—she provides workshops and trainings for colleagues and attends lectures, experiential conferences and readings. Teresa has worked for years with individuals including single women, as well as couples who experience discord or dissatisfaction in their relationships from a psychodynamic, attachment-based and experiential perspective. You can learn more about Theresa Solomita at www.therapy2change.com.

Interview with Faith Dulin, MA, LMFTA

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I kid, I kid.. No, I wanted my very own super powers. OK, for real this time, human behavior is fascinating. What if you could understand why people do what they do and even anticipate certain behaviors?

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

A couple comes in, they’re MAD. They’re hurt, they don’t feel heard. Inside of 50 minutes, things change. One couple left my office playfully flirting with each other. One couple giggled like kids and snuck down the hallway looking for places to leave “googley eyes” as their homework assignment to get back in touch with fun.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I like to have fun at work. When I walk a client out at the end of session, people in the waiting room say, “I heard laughing back there!” Yes – it’s therapy, it doesn’t have to be a dentist visit! The type of clients who enjoy working with me are ready to revolutionize their life and relationships. They’ve described me as “less clinical” and more “down to earth.”

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Start your conversations with “I”: I feel, I would like.. Tell your partner what a hottie they are. Go to bed angry – you’ll feel differently in the morning and fighting all night rarely helps. Realize it’s often not even about you, they’ve got their own history, lens and filter they’re working with. Intimacy is important and encompasses affection, fun, kindness, vulnerability, sharing, support, physical contact, emotional connection, romance, excitement, etc. Last but certainly not least, love yourself!!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy is NOT just for people who are “broken, damaged or crazy.” Taking care of your mental health is just as important as the daily routine of physical care. Your mind drives everything.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapists should know who they’re a good fit for and Clients shouldn’t feel bad about searching for someone who is going to be the right fit for them! The first step in self-reflection is knowing who you are and what you need.

Bio

Psychotherapist Faith Dulin, MA, LMFTA owns Harmony Psychotherapy in Charlotte NC. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, she specializes in relationship dynamics and interaction patterns, helping couples communicate effectively and engage in constructive disagreements. She speaks fluent man and woman-ese and is able to bridge conversations between partners where both feel heard and understood. You can learn more about Faith Dulin at www.harmonypsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Counsellor Lynsey Lowe

Lynsey Lowe is a BACP Accredited Therapist with over 10 years’ experience of working with individuals, couples and groups. Her initial practice and main area of interest was working with survivors of trauma. Lynsey worked for a specialist trauma service for over 5 years as a counsellor, trainer and manager. She enjoys working with couples and is expanding that side of her practice. Prior to training as a psychotherapist she worked as a careers adviser in the NHS. She now works for the NHS as a therapist delivering IAPT counselling and in private practice as a therapist, clinical supervisor and trainer. You can learn more about Lynsey Lowe at www.lynseylowecounselling.co.uk.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because for the reason I suspect most people do – because I’d experienced difficult times in my life and wanted to explore that and gain a greater understanding of myself and what had happened. Unusually I hadn’t had therapy myself before commencing my training but I had done a great deal of personal development work as part of being a careers adviser so I guess that was where my understanding of how support can help you understand yourself better and then make changes in your life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is seeing people change, seeing them gain a clearer perspective about problems and difficulties and gain the courage to make different or difficult choices which ultimately give them a happier life.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I think what I bring to my work with couples is empathy and understanding – as I do with individual clients. I also bring challenge as that’s necessary if there is to be learning and transformation.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Communicate! It’s so simple and yet so complex. We all can get into patterns of avoidance but if we aren’t communicating with our partner/friend then difficulties will only increase. Of course it’s scary for lots of reasons and that’s where therapy can help because you can learn to communicate more safely and more productively.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think the biggest mistake clients make is to walk away when it gets difficult, rather than sharing that with the therapist. It’s those ‘difficult bits’ where the most transformation can happen but if they leave or walk away then they’re missing out on something potentially life changing. Therapists do, of course, make mistakes and the best thing we can do is ‘own them’ and let the client know – from this comes great learning for both parties.

Interview with Dr. Chris Westinghouse

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I returned to the mental health sphere after a hiatus of almost 30 years in which I “did other things,” serving as a reform politician in South Africa, a global marketing supremo for a banking group and a few private business enterprises, including international board roles in the pharmaceuticals research industry. In the back of my mind I have always been curious about the way people think, including the defective ways in which they think, and this probably prompted me to dedicate the autumn years of my life to helping those in need to rediscover the fulfillment and self-directedness that makes lives worth living.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Getting paid is nice. On a more serious note, there is a huge amount of satisfaction in observing my troubled clients moving, sometimes quite rapidly, toward the resolution of the issues that have handicapped them. Sometimes they have lived for years with issues that have plagued them, but they’ve never taken the bull by the horns and sought professional help. So, I find it highly rewarding and a source of validation of my own values when I realise that I have contributed to making somebody’s life better than it once was.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have been around the corporate and political bloc a few times and lived and worked on three continents; I’ve been a bit of a VIP, a dog’s body/donkey, a mover-and-shaker and sometimes, an ineffectual mandarin at others: My unique experiences and my thoughtfulness about them add a depth to my understanding of the issues that ordinary people face. Often because I have faced them myself. There is no substitute for life experience if one wants to be a therapist.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Shakespeare provides a far more succinct summary of all the relationships advice that everybody else, from Freud to Carl Rogers have provided in the text books: “To thine own self be true and it follows as day follows night, though canst be false to no man.”

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I really want people to grasp the truth, that there is no shame and no reason to be shy to ask for or seek professional advice. Far too many die lonely deaths or damage themselves and those around them because (for one reason or another) they didn’t get help. I want people to understand that getting help is an act of courage, and I want them to know that help is accessible and affordable – and effective.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think the biggest mistake a therapist can make is to assume that the client is on the same page as the therapist…. It’s our job to engage with our clients “where they are at,” and not “where we are at.” There are other, more obvious mistakes and errors of judgment or even of ethics that therapists frequently fall into – ranging from bending the rules to outright and intentional misconduct. I have lost colleagues who have stepped over the ethical and moral line and suffered the ultimate consequences.

Bio

Dr Chris Westinghouse is a Registered Counsellor on the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, a Registered Member of the Australian peak governing body, the Australian Counselling Association, and he is a Clinical Neuropsychotherapist and Certified Member of the International Association of Clinical Neuropsychotherapy, among many others.

He sees private clients and describes himself as a generalist with a handful of special interests.

His practice is located in Sydney, Australia and his website is at www.chriswestinghouse.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/unpackthat.

Interview with Couples Counsellor Jonathan Swan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I studied a Masters of Gestalt Therapy and then embarked on studies in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. I became a therapist because I wanted to put into practice core beliefs and values that were important to me, to ‘walk the talk’. I developed a passion for working with relationship as it’s a fascinating and challenging field and I wanted to help people navigate the complex emotional world of relating successfully.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing the shift in people from hopelessness and despair to feeling happier and more fulfilled in their relationships. I find couples and relationship particularly rewarding. When people in a relationship move out of dysfunctional ways of relating, based on ingrained patterns, towards a healthier, happier and more fulfilled relationship.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Being able to alter negative patterns of relating into more positive rewarding ones. I always say, ‘it’s not the people it’s the pattern’. Helping people to understand and accept themselves. To have compassion for oneself is not only a reward in itself but a contribution to others happiness. I am able to understand both sides of an argument/point of view and to be compassionate to all feelings involved in the conflict. I am able to hold to what lies beneath the surface of reactive emotional states and to validate and acknowledge those deeper feelings.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

A problematic relationship is the fault of the relationship, not the people doing the relating! To be mindful of what and how you say what you say especially when you are emotionally charged. To be aware that you can’t make the other person behave or think and feel like you do. But to celebrate the differences in a way that feels safe and not confronting.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That it can be hugely successful if you find a qualified and competent therapist and you commit to the process. That therapy can help to destigmatize mental illness and that all problems no matter how difficult are temporary.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

To give and take advice! Patients have the answers to their own personal problems, the therapist just supports them to uncover them. By giving advice we take the power away from our patients to help themselves.

Bio

You can learn more about Jonathan Swan at goldcoastcouplescounselling.com.au.

Interview with Javanne Golob, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Holocaust. I still remember the first time I heard the word uttered accompanied by an intense tone that was used to insinuate its severity. I turned towards my grandmother, “what does holocaust mean?” Her face was full of love, but also pain and sorrow. She eschewed my query with hopes me forgetting. I was eight years old and the expression on her face that day is still emblazoned on my mind; I would never forget. I yearned to hear her story of pain and eventual survival, but was silenced by my grandfather, who mandated me to never question her about the details of her imprisonment. Rummaging through the history of my family served to be a difficult task, but one I approached with the tenacity of Olympic sprinter vying for the finish line. As I slowly came to discover all of the atrocities my grandmother had endured during those years in Auschwitz I was forced into a new phase of consciousness in my burgeoning adolescence. Simply put, some beings are forced to suffer by no consequence of their own action, but merely because of some attribute of circumstance. The thought of her and thousands of others suffering solely because of their belief system shook me to my core. Even more befuddling was the juxtaposition of my grandfather to my grandmother. While my grandfather had let his experience in war harden his heart and severely affect his ability to trust another human being, my grandmother was the most kind, compassionate, generous person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Her resilient, magnanimous nature inspired me from a very young age to be eternally grateful for the life I was given and to commit myself to helping those who endure suffering because of a lottery of birth.

As I stood by her hospital bed spending my last moments with her at the age of sixteen, as thought flashed through my mind: I was the same age she was when she was seized from her home in Budapest by the Nazis and never allowed to see her mother, father, or baby sister alive again. Her passing moved me to actively pursue aiding those in need, starting with creating a board at my high school that collected student and family donations to create a department store-like atmosphere where homeless people could “shop” with dignity and be treated with respect. Many other endeavors followed suit as I figured out what professional path would allow me to make the biggest impact while honoring my own values. My commitment to honoring her life set me on the path to becoming a therapist long before I knew I would end up there.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

There are so many. I am a true introvert who thrives in intimate relationships, but become exhausted in big groups and by small talk. The authenticity and presence required to work in my field is truly unique in the professional world and for that I am grateful. I am honored to hold each of my clients’ stories and pain. In being a therapist I get a special opportunity to walk with my clients as they explore unknown territory and push themselves to live more meaningful lives- even if it is uncomfortable.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

This is an interesting question to answer because while I do practice a methodology based in the relational work, I wouldn’t say that it is what is special about my approach. Since I was a child I have always been completely fascinated by interpersonal relationships. While other children wanted toys or to become an astronaut, I fantasized about great friendships and tried to understand what my classmates around me were thinking. Understanding relationships has been the work of my life. While I may not have consciously known I would have become a therapist in my adolescence, my journals tell a different story. They are filled with theories about why people acted a certain way and my own struggles to understand my personal motivations for my behavior. All of this to say, interpersonal relationships have always been the catalyst for my actions – I have prioritized them over money, status, and personal gain. I see how uniquely important they are to the health and survival of an individual and how they impact the environment we live in. My passion for and commitment to understanding and exploring relationships (as a clinician and an imperfect human) is what feels unique for me.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

  • To know that when strong feelings of judgement arise about another that those feelings are an opportunity to explore what we have condemned inside of our ourselves.
  • When in conflict, the feelings we experience towards the other are a mix of our own trauma, pain, and history as well as the hopes, projections, and expectations we have towards the other person.
  • In order to truly love and care for another, we must truly love and care for ourselves first.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

  • We (clinicians) don’t give advice and we don’t have all the answers. Our role is to guide our clients’ towards having greater access to their own power and wisdom.
  • Therapy takes time. ​
  • Understanding something intellectually does not mean it will translate into behavior overnight. In therapy we plant seeds and those seeds require nurturance to grow and sustain the test of time.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

  • Therapist: Not doing their own reflective work to process their issues. When a therapist is not actively working on healing themselves, their issues will show up in the room with clients.
  • Patient: To try to be a “good” client instead of an honest one. Therapy is for the client! Trying to please your therapist or pretend that things are going well when they are not can derail treatment.


Bio

Javanne is a licensed clinical social worker/psychotherapist and yoga instructor. As much of her family was lost in the Holocaust, she was exposed to the impact of trauma from an early age. Knowing her family’s experience, suffering, and healing impacted her greatly throughout her childhood. From a young age she felt called to a path of social justice and helping others restore after painful events.

Throughout her life she has occupied many roles as a healer such as being an elementary school teacher, a meditation instructor, a volunteer organization director, a bodyworker, and a homeless shelter coordinator. She found her way to psychotherapy and yoga through a yearning for intimacy and deep connection. She spent many years of her career in university counseling which gave her the opportunity to work with clients from extremely diverse backgrounds and circumstances. Through this work she has cultivated an expertise in being able to support people through life-changing transitions, crises, and identity shifts. Being a psychotherapist is a deeply fulfilling career that allows her to journey with others down their path to wholeness.

Throughout her own life she found it difficult to make sense of feelings she was experiencing and she struggled with her identity. Javanne found, and continues to find, strength and purpose through her relationships with mentors, therapists, and friends who support her along her pilgrimage within. She has learned to embrace the parts of herself she once deemed undesirable. She hopes to offer her clients the same opportunity. Read more about her specializations here.

Interview with David Flowers, LPC-S, NCC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because I wanted to work in an area where I had some natural giftedness, an area I would find rewarding. I was always that kid in middle school and high school all my friends came to to talk about their problems. I tend to think in ways that are pretty different from most other people and they seem to greatly appreciate my perspectives and questions. Therapy is an area where I can, and do, make a difference with my one and only life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Helping people grow closer to one another, and get to know themselves better. Helping people overcome fear and take the risks that are most likely to get them what they want in life. Helping people figure out what is holding them back from being who they want to be, and how to move forward. Helping couples and families and individuals heal.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My wife and I met in 5th grade, got married at 19 — just after high school — and have been together for 30 years. Most relationships between people that young don’t last. Ours has, but it has been incredibly difficult work. We have struggled in so many ways, but we are closer now than we’ve ever been. So I know the struggle. I know what it takes to make progress, and what it demands of both partners. I understand how hard it is, how it sometimes feels so hopeless. And I have experienced first-hand the benefits that come from sticking it out. I am passionate about helping couples find one another again, and become friends again, and develop deep and lasting passion. When couple relationships get better, especially when children are involved, it can change a family tree for the positive — forever.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

a. Healthy relationships are the product of two healthy individuals. The more each partner understands and deals with their own issues, the better the relationship will get.
b. “When you do what you did before, you will feel like you felt before.” Couples often come into therapy demoralized and isolated, having each retreated into their own separate corners. They have lost friendship, connection, and intimacy. When I ask them to describe what they were doing at the beginning of the relationship, when things were good, they say they were having awesome, deep conversations, doing a lot of fun things together, and spending a lot of time together. When I ask what they are doing now, they say they are doing very little of those things anymore. “When you do what you did before, you will feel like you felt before.”

c. Relationships may be complicated, but they are not mysterious. We have known for quite some time what differentiates relationships that thrive from relationships that fail. We really can show couples how to be happier and live more peacefully together.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

a. The longer a couple waits to get help, the more likely it is that one or both of them will just be too angry, or too exhausted, to do the hard work restoring relationships often requires. The average couple has been in distress about six years before they seek help. This often means a lot of deeply hurtful things have been said and done, and there are a lot of resentments and water under the bridge. Get help as soon as either partner notices a problem.

b. When one partner thinks the relationship is in trouble, the relationship is in trouble. If the other partner attempts to deny or minimize that concern, things are only going to get worse. It’s simply not the case that most couples can work out whatever their issues are on their own. A counselor, mentor, pastor, or close friend is often required to help them move forward.

c. Therapy is not for weak people. Only the strongest people come to therapy because it takes a lot of strength to admit you need help and to seek it out.

d. The vast majority of people who come to therapy fear they might be going crazy. This is literally almost never true.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

a. Taking too much responsibility for their client’s issues. A saying in our field is, “Never work harder than your clients.” A therapist can help, but the work is done by the couples and individuals needing help.
b. Therapists take too much blame when counseling doesn’t work, and too much credit when it does. We are helpers, nothing more.
c. Therapists too often don’t take care of themselves personally, and their own relationships suffer because of it. Self-care is critical.
d. No matter how bad a client’s issue seems, therapists must always believe the client has what it takes to overcome it and move forward.
e. Clients need to let their therapist do what they are trained to do. If they don’t trust their therapist, they need to find one they trust, and then listen closely to them.
f. Finding a good therapist can often take a while. If you don’t click with your first therapist, find another one. Keep searching until you feel comfortable with your therapist’s approach and confident in their skills.

Bio

David Flowers is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in the Flint/Grand Blanc community in Michigan. He has focused his work on couples for the past twenty years, but also works with clients who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other issues.

David teaches in the Master of Arts program in Counseling at Spring Arbor University and supervises post-graduate counselors during their required 3,000 hours of work under supervision. He is wrapping up the editing on his first book, The Search for Truth: Why You’re Often Dishonest With Yourself and How to Live Truthfully.

Contact: dave@davidflowerstherapy.com
Websites: davidkflowers.com and davidflowerstherapy.com
Facebook: facebook.com/davidflowerstherapy

Interview with Lavanya Shankar, Ph.D

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Although my childhood desire was to be a dancer, I was also intrigued by the dynamics and subtle communication between people early on. My father was only too happy that I was interested in something “practical” when I chose to study psychology.

I think my interest in working with other people really stems from my own commitment to my personal development. I once heard a fellow therapist refer to herself as her “favorite patient” and I would agree with that sentiment! As I become acquainted with my own internal world, I have more and more of a felt sense and road map of other people. As I develop more of a capacity to be with myself, I develop more of a capacity to be with other people. A major part of my growth of course has come through my own participation in therapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I feel that I am myself when I am doing my work. It is an expression of me, and that is incredibly fulfilling. There’s always room for creativity, learning about myself and others, expansion, and challenge. I get to impact others in a way that feels genuine to who I am.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As a therapist, my favorite way to work with interpersonal relationships is in a group therapy setting. Group therapy is not always on people’s radars for treatment options, but let me tell you that it is a powerful approach to working on relationships. A therapy group is a small group of people who meet together regularly with the shared goal of therapeutic change in their relationships. This includes the relationship to self as well as other people.

What’s so fascinating about this type of group is that it inevitably replicates real life struggles that occur outside of the therapy room. For example, struggles with boundary setting, feeling isolated, feeling unheard or unsure about using one’s voice, reluctance to address conflict, suppressing or exploding in anger, and social anxiety all appear in the room. Although this may be challenging and bring up all kinds of feelings, it is exactly what we hope will happen. We want this to happen because it gives us the opportunity to intervene in a therapeutic way. The result can be resolution of some repetitive and impeding patterns in people’s relational lives.

Part of how this works is that there is so much interpersonal learning that occurs in the group. Group members learn about parts of themselves by observing those parts in other people. Another wonderful aspect of the group experience is that people grow by learning how they are able to give something of value to other people. They get better acquainted with their gifts and capability to influence other people.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Relationships are the arena in which we learn about ourselves and the world. As complicated and frustrating as it can be to work through our relationships, it is so crucial to keep plodding ahead. Even the most painful relationships can have something of value to teach us about ourselves and about life. We learn to define ourselves and clarify what we want in our lives from our experience with other people. When we’re complete with certain lessons, I find we move onto new types of relationships in our lives. As imperfect as relationships are, they are so necessary for our growth.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want to emphasize that therapy is relational in nature, whether in an individual, couples or group format. People heal in relationships that are therapeutic. These relationships need not be perfect; in fact, they shouldn’t be perfect. There should be room for wobbles and foibles so there can be just enough friction that results in growth. If you find a therapist who is a good fit for you and you can engage in the relationship, the gains over time can be invaluable.

Bio

Lavanya Shankar, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Austin, Texas. She specializes in relationships, grief and loss, and trauma. She sees individuals, couples, and groups, and supervises therapists in training. As a seasoned therapist with advanced group psychotherapy training, she particularly enjoys working with patients in group psychotherapy. You can learn more about Dr. Lavanya Shankar at www.lbsinghamphd.com.

Interview with Angela Skurtu M.Ed. LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I have always wanted to help people live in happier, healthier marriages. Ever since I was young, people have come to me for advice on what to do in relationships. Now as a couples counseling, I have excellent opportunities to help couples live happy healthy lives.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

People are my favorite puzzles to solve. Human emotions and connections can be very complex. I love seeing a couple transition from the beginning tense stages of therapy to a place of real happiness and joy. I have made it my mission to break down the process of being a good human in the most simple ways possible. I love when couples find hope and find love again. I offer people a space to be their authentic selves and find a deep and meaningful romance again. What could be better than that?

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a weird sense of humor and I am shamelessly honest to people. My clients tell me my honesty is refreshing and my humor makes people feel safe. I also am a very visual person so I try to describe relationship processes in very unique ways to really drive home a point. For example, many couples struggle to look at their relationship from a distance. As soon as they start talking about their conflict areas, you can see them getting pulled into the fight. One way I help them get above the situation is by asking them to imagine their marriage is a dead body they are dissecting together in session. We are not trying to have fights, but we are trying to dissect the different aspects in the relationship that causes the fights or keeps them from getting close. The graphic nature of the visual really helps people to rethink how they approach therapy.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

When I am teaching a time out, I tell couples the rational for a time out is to avoid hurting each other. Whenever any person is saying things they cannot take back, it is important to end the conversation right away and take a break. One way to really help people follow through is to give them the mantra, “I love you more than I love this argument.” If they both truly believe this mantra, then it helps them take the time out even when it is tough. The important thing as well is to remind them to come back again to talk through their conflict when they are calm.
I also suggest that people try to do AT LEAST one loving thing for each other a day. I emphasize “at least” playfully because really you should be doing loving things a lot more than that! However, bad days happen, and on those days, it is still important to try and do one kind thing even when it’s hard.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I wish people would treat therapy as a check in along the way in marriage, rather than a last resort. Therapy is most effective when people love each other and want to make the situation better. I love it when couples come in simply because they have lost the spark and want to revamp their love life. These are the easiest and most fun cases. Essentially, find ways to use therapy as preventive rather than reactive. Sadly, most couples come in after an affair or when one or both of them are out the door. Marriage is hard work and we all could use some practice!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapists need to ask permission before asking or suggesting things. For example, we have lots of interventions that are designed to help guide people to change. But, we need to explain what we are doing and why so clients understand these interventions and get the most benefit from the treatment. We also need to offer hope by letting people know that change is hard. Most humans are creatures of habit. This means that most of you will fail many times before succeeding. If clients are aware that they need to fail toward success, then when they hit the initial road blocks, it doesn’t make them feel like therapy isn’t working. It just feels like one step in the process (which it is, by the way). As for patients, a big mistake is assuming everything will get fixed magically and quickly. Like I said before, humans are creature of habit. That means that it may take time to see long lasting progress when it comes to behavior change. Another big mistake would be to never come in at all. I know people personally who would rather see their marriage end than to ever see a therapist. There are many of us and we all want to help. Rather than avoiding therapy, do some research and find someone who works for you!

Bio

Angela Skurtu, M.Ed., LMFT is a speaker, author, Licensed Marriage Therapist and AASECT Certified. She runs her own private practice called St. Louis Marriage Therapy, LLC where she offer couples therapy. She has two professionally published books, “Helping Couples Overcome Infidelity: A Therapist’s Manual” and “Pre-Marital Counseling: A Guide for Clinicians.” In addition, she speaks at various conferences, businesses, and organizations both locally and nationally. You can find her at www.therapistinstlouis.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Patricia Murphy

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had been working in the government sector and wanted to move to voluntary clients. I was about 35 when I decided to do this and had a career in the Department of Justice in Ireland but I had always run therapeutic group during that time.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is very rewarding to be invited into people’s stories and to travel the road to recovery or simply to be there with them for part of their journey.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I am systemically trained so working with people in their relationships is part of what I do. I particularly like working with couples around their intimacy lives as this focuses the attention on whatever is difficult in the relationship very quickly.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

We often do not tackle issues in the hope that time will change things but the opposite happens: we create habits of relating that become copper fastened and instead of dissolving they become entrenched and create misery.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In Ireland we still have stigma about attending therapy and so it often takes many years of suffering before someone goes for help. My aim, through my media work, is to make talking to a therapist easy and accessible.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

We all make mistakes in our lives and this is often our best opportunity for learning. The only mistake is not to own it and learn from it.

Bio

You can learn more about Patricia Murphy and her book #LOVE at trishmurphy-psychotherapy.com.

Interview with Dr. Trish Quinlivan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I grew up witnessing people close to me really struggling with mental illness. From a very early age I had a desire to help people suffering in this way. I studied medicine and worked for many years as a general practitioner. I knew I was passionate about mental health but somehow never allowed myself to follow that passion. Eventually my body made me. After 20 years of general practice I suddenly developed very severe insomnia, to the point where I would stay awake all night before work and then have to cancel my session. This forced to realize I had to follow my heart. I have focused on mental health and mindfulness now for 6 years and I absolutely love what I do and my body is at peace.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have often been reduced to tears watching clients move through fear towards love. It’s like watching a butterfly come out of its chrysalis. We are so privileged to be in this position to bear witness to the opening of another human and their discovery of love. Of course often the journey is very challenging and not everyone is ready to shift. However even seeing the tiny steps is beautiful. Sometimes there is no shifting at all but there is still an opportunity to offer love. I am learning this more all the time.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I see everything as an opportunity. Relationships offer the greatest gift of seeing ourselves truly. Inevitably whatever buried emotions or unhelpful patterns of behavior we have will be shown to us once we get into a relationship. This goes for all relationships parents, children, intimate partners, our pets.

If we have the courage to look at ourselves honestly and take responsibility rather than blame externally we will grow. If we discover real empathy and have absolute understanding of what the other is feeling inside we will be able to approach them with compassion. Sometimes love does have to be firm, or relationships do need to end. However there is always room for empathy and compassion. When we understand that everything that is happening in our lives is our choice, life becomes much more enjoyable.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/or advice?

I often ask questions like “if this is happening so that your deepest self can learn something, what would that be?”

If someone is discussing an issue with their partner, along with acknowledging their challenge there is always value in asking “what does your partner feel deep inside?”
My mother is a student of A Course in Miracles. She once gave me the quote “We are never upset for the reason we think.” So often when we have tension or emotional energy occurring we are tempted to project it on to those around us. Sometimes our partners may need to address certain issues. However if we are upset with another person that emotional charge is always reflecting something in us (often our own fear).
Another valuable tool is to really treat other people as yourself.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Many people have fear of coming to therapy, mainly because they don’t want to see their own challenging emotion or their own darkness. However we will never discover the light until we embrace with compassion our darkness. If we do not make our fears or behavior patterns conscious they will stay unconscious and will therefore totally control our lives. The only chance we have of finding our way home to the love that is inside, is to embrace every aspect of ourselves.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make?

I once heard Eckhart Tolle say something like (not an exact quote) “a therapist will do a better job when they forget about their book learning and sink out of their head into consciousness.”

If we are caught in our heads or worrying about doing a good job we will struggle. These days I aim to be as present with the client as possible and connected to presence within myself. There is a love and acceptance that goes with that. The greatest gift I can offer is acceptance and love. Of course we can guide people in a direction that is healing, teach them presence, help them see buried emotions or unhelpful patterns, however the real source of healing is always going to be love. This has been an ongoing learning for me. I have certainly made many mistakes along the way. However mistakes are really just a perfect learning opportunity.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Trish Quinlivan at www.livingmindfully.com.au and www.facebook.com/livingmindfullyperth.

Interview with Andrew Erdman, LCSW

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I came to social work and psychotherapy in my mid-40s after working various jobs in the private and educational sectors for most of my adult life. It was the culmination of a long process of self-discovery, growth, and working-through of very compelling issues of my own that led me to realize this was the work I wanted to do. In some sense, I have always wanted to be a therapist. It just took me a long time to realize it.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I have a creative background: music, theatre, writing, and so forth. To me, psychotherapy is among the most creative undertakings I can think of because it involves partnering with another person (or perhaps several) to help them construct better mechanisms for seeing and understanding their own thoughts and feelings. It is helping human beings with strengthening the infrastructure that will help them to be creative in whatever endeavor is important to them—from writing plays to parenting children.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My family has been affected by mental illness and I have become deeply aware, both through personal experience and professional training, of the ways in which fundamental connections between people play the most crucial role in growth, healing, and development. Even at the neuronal level this is turning out to be the case. I find it essential to “tune in” to people, and vice-versa, to help them find out about who they really are–perhaps to become reconnected to the parts of themselves that have gone into hiding or have been neglect by disuse.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Particularly in close, highly emotional relationships—I am thinking of romantic partnerships, though it could apply to other situations—expressions of need that come from a place of vulnerability and honesty are most likely to move things in a productive direction, as opposed to a heightened focus on what the other party is or is not doing, or is doing poorly. I usually encourage people to focus on how to talk about conflict rather than overly focusing on the manifest subject matter of the conflict. In other words, it’s not so much what we say, it’s how we say it.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Freud said (or is credited with having said, anyway) that psychotherapy was more like sculpting than painting, because it is really about uncovering what is already there but presently inaccessible, rather than “adding-on” or covering-over. If the broad public conceived of therapy as such—a reintroduction to the essential self that has always been there and that knows how to be happy—there might be less undeserved anxiety about being “changed” into something that a person does not want.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I am struck over and over by the deep, inner wisdom that people possess about what they need and when they need it. Even if they are engaged in “problematic” behaviors or are struggling in areas of their lives, something within them is using their current apparatus-of-self as constructively as possible to solve the problem. This doesn’t mean a therapist or a patient automatically endorses all behaviors or patterns. But in a sense, it is about moving away from a place of endorsement or judgment to one of compassionate curiosity: How has doing or thinking X or Y helped you? What has it done for you? What costs are associated with it? Fitting a client to a preconceived diagnostic or treatment model simply because it is what the clinician knows is not attending properly to either the client’s genuine need or the truth of the moment, which go hand in hand.

Bio

You can learn more about Andrew Erdman at www.AndrewErdman.com.

Interview with Maureen Houtz, MA, LMFT

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Despite the 3000 hour process and years of education, many therapists make the mistake of assuming the work is solving the client’s problem.
Thinking we are responsible for a person’s marriage or their children is a mistake. A therapist that has just met a client thinking they are the answer to the client’s problem is presumptuous and arrogant. Some of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make include ethic violations as well as financial ones. It seems it should not have to be said and yet regularly therapists get themselves in trouble when they isolate and forget their role.

One of my passions is teaching associates the proper process of providing therapy. It is for this reason that I help them understand the value of the client’s experience, their choices, their coping patterns all in an effort to seek to understand rather than judge.

Having done some teaching at the masters level, I have often remarked that the school programs teach all the theories and book knowledge. As a result the university’s graduate students are eager to apply what they have learned, so eager to help. Yet the 3000 hour process is designed to teach the art of therapy, the ethics of therapy, the boundaries of therapy; the art of being with the client.

The notion of being a guide with the primary purpose being to understand and meet the client where they are is of utmost importance. The relationship is key. It is the only way change is possible.

When therapists are not clear about the financial aspect of their services, confusion and missteps can occur. Knowing the relationship is one that is unequal- the client is paying for a service, a service you provide makes for a clear and clean understanding. I have known many therapists, often female, who are so uncomfortable about this aspect that they don’t earn what they are worth.

As for the clients or patients, one of their errors is in their expectations. I believe clients should shop for the therapist that suits them best. And yet I realize it is difficult to share their personal story with more than one stranger. Although the work we do is not car repair, I often encourage clients who are reticent about therapy due to a prior negative experience to liken this to needing a good mechanic after having a lousy one. You can’t let the car languish- it needs help and so do we. Find the therapist that suits you, I am sure s/he is out there.

Bio

Maureen has been licensed since 1986. Her experience is in the areas of couple therapy and working with teens and adults who are struggling with anxiety and depression. She works best with clients who desire to change destructive patterns and who want to learn to see their part in the “dance.”

Maureen is married and has two grown daughters, two sons in law and two granddaughters. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to share the joys and sorrows of my clients, and gain a greater understanding of God’s grace each day.

Maureen’s Philosophy of Therapy

My initial goal always with any client I see is to seek to understand. I don’t believe I can be helpful until I understand their situation. I believe most of us do what we do because we believe it works, it is habitual or we have no idea how to change it.

I always want to provide an honest reality check for my clients. They need to know that what they are saying or thinking is clear or not; is sane or not; is true or not. I desire to assist the client in making the change they seek. Change doesn’t happen with insight alone. True change occurs when people act differently. Unless insight results in behavior change I believe I have wasted the client’s time and money.

Because of my training in systems theory, I believe effecting change in one person can result in greater changes for their family system. Whether the client comes in alone, with their mother or their spouse, my approach is one that encompasses their entire world. In the area of couples therapy my hope is to reduce the polarization that occurs with couples in conflict. I use the Gottman method of couple therapy primarily (I am a Gottman Seven Principles educator) since I find it to be skill building, practical and successful. Why does therapy work? Because an individual dares to trust a mere stranger with their story. That mere stranger comes to care for this individual. Out of this mutual respect, the client boldly tries on new behaviors. Therapy works because a relationship built on respect, honesty and integrity is established.

As a committed Christian I pray for all of my clients. Since many of my clients profess to be Christian, I am able to challenge or dissuade them on the basis of our shared belief system. It is a privilege to be trusted and empowered to effect change in people.

You can learn more about Maureen Houtz at MaureenHoutz.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist and Poet Gene Barry

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Whilst living a traumatic childhood from a very young age, I began to people-watch as it enabled me to ‘categorise’ people for my own safety and wellbeing. In doing so, I discovered the difference between the ‘factual’ and the ‘actual’. Although fascinated by people’s habits, attitudes and behaviours, I originally studied electronics, computer technology, ergonomics and mathematics and worked in the computer industry.

I divorced in 1997 and sought assistance with my grief via psychotherapy. Eight months later, fascinated by the little known emotional and psychological engine that drives us, I began my five-year studies in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling. It was compulsory to attend a psychotherapist for the 5-year duration of the course.

As an internationally renowned poet with three published books, I additionally work as an Art Therapist with both children and adults using poetry as my medium. I have worked in schools, libraries, hospitals, with active retirement groups and asylum seekers. I recently graduated as a Hypnotherapist and am certified by the NGH.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Being at one with a 12-year-old student or a retired 72-year-old I work for and witnessing the disposal of their torments, trauma and stress and the alleviation of their emotional and psychological pain. Coupled with this, their unique enlightening cathartic conveyor of calmness, confidence, empowerment, excitement, happiness, inner peace, personal growth, self-esteem, success and trust delivers joy deep into my bones. This enlightening work increases my knowledge and enhances my ability to work with new clients.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Firstly, I believe it to be of Paramount importance that each person/couple feels that I care for and want them to succeed. Because all clients and relationships are unique, I tailor a specific holistic and integrative approach best suited to empower the person/couple to achieve their own success. Because their words should be a match for their actions, I assist them in comprehending their underlying nature. My objective is to enlighten the person/couple to the effects their and other people’s actions, assertiveness, behaviours, beliefs, expectations, feelings, inactions, opinions, pressures, thoughts and words have. This knowledge, integrated with good listening and processing skills in turn enables them to have healthy happy relationships.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Be aware of the emotion driving your and other people’s words. Place assumptions and premature conclusions in the trash. Knowing yourself will enable you to know the other person. We have both a conscious and an unconscious shopping list influencing our choice of partner. It is imperative for you to understand the influences of your unconscious shopping list. A happy, peaceful accepting relationship will be more easily achieved when you are accepting, happy and at peace with yourself.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

What you are aware of you are in control of and what you are unaware of controls you. Psychotherapy is the road to self-examination, self-reflection and in turn psychological and emotional awareness. How we understand ourselves will determine how we relate to the world around us. You can educate/reprogram your subconscious to work for you in a positive empowering way via therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist
Assuming. Being judgmental. Not having had sufficient therapy. Dealing with the ‘factual’ instead of the ‘actual’ and in turn misleading the patient. Accepting that at times the patient may be the expert. Asking the patient too frequently how the issue/topic makes them feel and as a result losing the true meaning of that question. Not keeping up to date by studying. Mislabelling the patient’s feelings. Not taking sufficient time out between patients. Failing to correctly note the level of their patient’s anxiety, anger, depression, trauma etc.

Patient
Remaining with a therapist they feel they cannot work with in a way that is best for them. Fear of self-discovery. Withholding crucial essential information that would enable the therapist. Not carrying out what was agreed in therapy. Assuming that the therapist is always correct. Not planning what they bring to therapy. Agreeing to an appointment time that will be tiring and difficult for them. Not realising that their therapist is actually working for them.

Bio

Gene Barry is an Irish Poet, Art Therapist Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist. He has been published widely both at home and internationally and his poems have been translated into Arabic, Irish, Hindi, Albanian and Italian.

Barry is founder of the Blackwater Poetry group and administers the world-famous Blackwater Poetry Group on Facebook. He is a publisher and editor with the publishing house Rebel Poetry. Barry is also founder and chairman of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival.

As an art therapist using the medium of poetry, Gene has worked in libraries, hospitals, primary and secondary schools, with Narcotics Anonymous, Youthreach, retired people’s groups, Alcoholic Anonymous, asylum seekers and with numerous poetry groups.

Gene has read in Australia, Holland, Kosovo, England, St Lucia, Scotland, France, Belgium and Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Miami, NY, Massachusetts. He has been the guest poet at numerous Irish poetry venues. In 2015 he was chosen to represent Ireland at the inaugural Rahovec International Poetry Festival in Kosovo. That same year Barry was the guest poet at the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Austin and Dallas Texas, Enid Oklahoma and Little Rock Arizona.

Barry’s chapbook Stones in their Shoes was published in 2008. In 2010 Gene was editor of the anthology Silent Voices, a collection of poems written by asylum seekers living in Ireland. He additionally edited the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of The Blue Max Review and Inclusion as part of the Blackwater International Poetry Festival. In 2013 his collection Unfinished Business was published by Doghouse Books, a collection that has been critically acclaimed. In 2014 he edited Irish poet Michael Corrigan’s debut collection Deep Fried Unicorn, and the anthology fathers and what must be said. In 2015 Barry edited The Day the Mirror Called and MH Clay’s book son of fred. His third collection Working Days was published by Authors Press in 2016.

Gene has had a number of short stories published and is presently editing his first novel.

You can learn more about Gene Barry at www.genebarrypsychotherapist.com and www.genebarrypoet.com.

What is the #1 Tip to Keep your Marriage Strong? It’s all about the Small Stuff!

An interview…

I have been working with couples since 2000 and have seen Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Millennials. I work with couples as they struggle with affairs and divorce as well as with premarital clients as they prepare for marriage. When I look back over my years of work I don’t see any one big tool, trick, action or event that helps couples to succeed. There has not been any one intervention that I provided that dramatically increased a couple’s chance of success.

Instead, what I see that really makes a difference for couples is when they take the time to focus on the small moments in their relationship. It is the seemingly insignificant inside jokes that are truly the glue in many marriages. I don’t mean to say that kindness, curiosity, generosity and humor don’t play a major role in our happiness in a relationship – these are what I think of as the hallmarks of great marriages.

While these are important there seems to be something else that helps couples through the many years of day-in day-out family life. It is during these years of raising kids, building careers and mowing yards that many couples find they drift apart. I think that it is very normal to have years where you feel connected to the family but disconnected from your spouse. The phrase I usually hear is “I love you, but I am not IN love with you.

It is during these times that it is imperative that you focus on the small stuff. You intentionally invite the inside jokes. You purchase the pasta with the funny name so you can both roll your eyes and have a giggle. You put on the music that makes him do the funny walk. I have seen in my own marriage how important these small hand holds can be when life gets slippery.

So, the best advice I can give you if you feel yourself in surrounded by apathy, boredom or if you are just having a tough time connecting: bring out the small stuff. You might be amazed by how it leads to more humor, curiosity and generosity. Please contact me if you want to learn more about the hallmarks of a great couple.

Bio

Ashley Seeger, LCSW specializes in individual and relationship counseling. She has been providing therapy for both couples and individuals at her sunny Boulder office and has over 17 years of experience. She is an expert on communication skills and empathy. Ashley studied extensively with the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, focusing on Self Psychology and its application with couples.

In addition to therapy, Ashley also provides Critical Incident Stress Debriefings (CISD’s) for companies or agencies who have experienced a trauma. She gives seminars on “Communication Skills,” “Balancing Careers and Marriages” as well as “Stress Management” and “Dealing with Difficult People.” Ashley is currently writing a book on empathy and communication skills that walks couples through the empowering exercises she utilizes in her therapy.

For more information on Ashley and her practice or to read her blog, please visit her at www.CouplesCounselingBoulder.com.

Interview with Wendy Padley MBACP (Reg), MA, MSc

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

This was a series of things really – I had been doing some voluntary work in a social reading group and I’d previously done an introduction to counselling, so the interest was there. This social reading group re-ignited my interest because I was reminded about how much good talking to each other can help, and talking about the things we are finding difficult. The problems can be big or small, but impact on us can be huge. I decided at that point to train to Masters degree level, but this is not for the faint hearted! I wanted to go into this in much more detail because I was convinced that I could help people; being able to acknowledge how we feel is one of the most healing things we can do. Being heard and understood cannot be underestimated. Also, it’s constantly interesting and fascinating.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I think being able to see a change in people. Some people come to therapy wanting everyone else around them to change, which doesn’t really work! But people who come with an open mind, being willing to think about themselves and be honest with themselves can change more than they ever think they are capable of. It’s really nice to see a client leave with a smile when they have come to therapy in great distress.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I’ve worked with people all my life, in various professional roles. I was always interested is supporting people to be their best, even when it wasn’t in my job description. I think being able to bring a lot of life experience is crucial. Troubles in relationships happen when people feel misunderstood, ignored, or they’ve built up a map of the other person’s reactions. If someone says that they know what another person will do, this isn’t always helpful, as they’ve built up the ‘future’ in their head already. We then experience our own emotions according to that imagined future, and we find ourselves playing our scenarios in our head that haven’t even happened – but our emotions and our brain don’t know the difference. The future can always be changed.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Try and really listen to the other person. Also, don’t assume they can read your mind!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

It’s an investment, like anything else. People will happily pay for two or three yoga classes every week, but therapy is still thought as something that is too expensive, or not really necessary. It’s an investment in your mental and emotional health. As a nation, this is getting worse by the year. We are more connected online than ever but more emotionally alone. It’s not all about Freud!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Not listening properly – on both sides.

Bio

Wendypadleycounselling.com

I am experienced in working with these things as a fully qualified psychotherapist and counsellor. I can offer you counselling as a short term service (up to 6 weeks), or psychotherapy as a longer term commitment, up to 2 years or longer, depending upon your needs. Both of these give you a regular weekly space to explore your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental and supportive way. Psychotherapy especially encourages you to talk in depth about your difficulties and to think about how these relate to past experiences. Being listened to and understood can go a long way to help you deal with your issues.

Counselling and psychotherapy can give you the tools for acceptance and change.

I have worked for a number of years in a respected voluntary sector agency, with the NHS in a specialist psychotherapy service, and also in a Higher Education setting. I also work in private practice.

Interview with Mirel Goldstein, MS, MA, LPC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I confess that it’s because I absolutely thrive on emotional intensity 🙂

And that I live for those moments of connection that are just so real, authentic, and deep 🙂

And that I want my clients to have that too 🙂

A place where they can really say WHATEVER they want, need, or desire to say. Where they can say the things that no one is really talking about because they’re afraid of being hurt or hurting someone else, of disapproval or rejection. Or because they’re just too busy pretending to “have it all together”, or covering up insecurities, or perhaps just being socially “appropriate” or politically correct.

I want to give people a place to be real. Really real. (I mean it).

And that’s why from the moment people step into my office, I cut right to the chase.

I don’t sit and make small talk with you because people don’t need me for THAT.

I’m don’t lead the conversation because the real stuff comes out when people don’t know what they’re “supposed” to say.

And I’m not one of those therapists who rescues people from an awkward silences because that is often the moment just before people share the most important things.

I sit with people as they find their way, yet I promise I am NOT one of those therapists who just listens and does not speak.

I may challenge but I will never shame and I will not judge.

The clients who work well with me are those who know there has to be something MORE and who are willing to fight for it 100%.

The couples who succeed with me are the ones who are ready to take down their walls and give love a chance…again. Despite being hurt. Despite being afraid. Despite being angry. They’re willing to rediscover the person they think they know so well (oh, but the other is never who we think they are!)

I encourage couples to be honest, vulnerable, soft, firm, bounded, and connected.

My best tip is for people to listen to understand…to really understand. Get out of defensive mode because it covers up more than it reveals.

I want the world to know the power of connection. And I want people to know that it’s not weak to seek help.

Bio

You can learn more about Mirel Goldstein at goldsteintherapy.com

Interview with Psychotherapist Ann Hogan

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a Counsellor/Psychotherapist because a close member of my family nearly died and was treated at a hospital many miles away from where I lived. I received a lot of invaluable support from various people at that time and realised how important it is in times of crises to have someone who will listen.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of counselling are when a client comes for assessment and feels very anxious and/or depressed and can’t see a way out of that. The rewards for me are supporting them through difficult times and helping them find coping strategies.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I feel that one of my special qualities is that I’m able to understand that people deal with stress in very different ways – there’s not usually s right way or wrong way. Bereavement and divorce are losses experienced by many of my clients but they will all feel differently about their loss. In the same way, anxiety and stress have a different impact on many clients and strategies need to be tailored to each individual. There’s no ‘one size fits all’.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My relationship tip is that people have very different expectations of relationships nowadays and that it’s hard for our partners to fulfil every single aspect of modern life – most of us still need friends and outside interests to bring back to the relationship to keep it fresh.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I’d like to increase public awareness about the fact that relationship counselling can help couples to look at things differently and hopefully more positively.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes a therapist can make is to make assumptions about a client without conducting an in-depth assessment. A mistake that clients sometimes make is that a client/therapist will ‘judge’ them – hopefully, this is never the case as the counsellor will want to support them in difficulties they’re trying to overcome at a particular point in their lives.

Bio

About me – if you’re wondering about having one-to-one counselling, I offer sessions to help deal with many of the issues that you may be trying to cope with. If you’re suffering from anxiety, have relationship difficulties or feel sad a lot of the time, it’s bound to be having a big effect on your day-to-day life. If that’s the case it’s definitely worth doing something about it, even if you haven’t tried counselling before.

You can learn more about Ann Hogan at www.annhogancounselling.co.uk.

Interview with Psychotherapist Fatima Salya

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I come from a strong Muslim Asian Community from Preston, England. During my teenage years listening to teenagers at mosque suffering from abuse. I realised this community needed therapy and a feminist. During my A Levels I had to choose whether to become a Lawyer or a Psychotherapist. I chose Psychotherapy as my life lead that way. During that time a close person to me suffered from Mental Health issues but the local Imam’s kept pushing towards Nazaar (evil eye) and Jinn (ghost). Now as a Psychotherapist I know all that meant Schizophrenia. Asians and Muslims don’t have a modern approach towards therapy. It’s more like an American or wealthy person that decides they want therapy. I really want to break that norm and encourage therapy as clearing thoughts is very important to put things into perspective and move on with life.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspects of being a psychotherapist are being able to guide the person. My recent client said, “You fixed me in a session.” : )

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

When two individuals feel comfortable in each other’s company and decide to be with each other, they enter into an interpersonal relationship. Whether that is friendship, love, platonic relationship, family relationships and professional relationships.

Interpersonal relationships you should be able to have a reasonable compatibility and communication.

– Honesty is very important do not hide things from your partner. Transparency is important in a relationship to be able to trust one another.

– Staying calm and being a little more adjusting is a very important quality as staying calm doesn’t instigate an argument.

– Forgiving from within do not drag issues unnecessarily.

– Smiling and taking care of your facial expressions whilst interacting. A real smile or a fake smile. “Smile is a curve that makes everything straight.”

– Time is an important role in relationships. To spend quality time to know each other and strengthen the bond.

What is your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I deal with clients who have had arrange marriages. Partners must feel attraction. I’m focusing on passion, intimacy and as they call it chemistry this refers to the physical attraction between two individuals. Individuals must feel physically attracted to each other for the charm to stay in a relationship for a much longer period of time. This isn’t focused on as arrange marriages focus on family, career, goals, interests or same morals and values.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Make therapy a norm nothing to be ashamed of going to have a therapy session or suffering from Mental Health. We are to bothered what people will think and say. I’m a British Indian and when I visited India I realised countries that suffer from poverty have the highest risk of mental health issues. I watched people walking around talking to themselves. Where Imam’s try to cure mental health patients with witchcraft and the Quran. Therefore, I started a charity to help prevent Mental Illness in Poverty. “Stop people walking around talking to themselves they are experiencing living HELL!” If people don’t receive medication or therapy then how can anything progress in their life? Whether it is relationships with one another or career or life in general.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapist and patient should be able to work together during therapy. If the client and therapist are not following the session together then no one has gained benefit of therapy. As a therapist to be open –minded and empathise is extremely important. Therapist and patient should try not to be ignorant and welcome anything that progresses between the therapist and patient.

Bio

You can learn more about Fatima Salya at www.psychotherapistfs.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Amanda Robins

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Basically I wanted to help young people. I retrained in social work after a successful career in the visual arts and progressed to working in public mental health, where I learnt a lot about families and and serious mental illness. My overall aim was to be a psychotherapist and to work specifically with young people.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I love the possibility for connection and empathy within the therapeutic relationship. There is always the potential for transforming lives – that is the most rewarding part of the job.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My background in supporting and nurturing young artists through my career as a visual artist and academic has taught me a lot about how precious finding one’s own voice is and how we can learn to value everyone’s individuality. My own art practice has given me the opportunity to grow and learn about myself through the creative process. I am interested in expanding this and in giving back to others through the therapeutic space and connection.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

The most important relationship advice I can give is to listen to your partner – to try to work out what are they really saying and what they really want? What are the emotions at the heart of what their demands? In any relationship it is vital to allow yourself to be open and vulnerable and to tell your partner how you really feel. Don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions about what they might mean.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t a quick fix. Nor is it about the therapist being all-wise and all-knowing. A therapist just needs to be good enough to hold the patient’s emotional self for the moment of therapy.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Patients don’t make mistakes – its all grist for the mill! If therapy is going to work then there needs to be a commitment from both parties and the patient does need to learn to trust and to be open and honest.
I have sometimes made the mistake of overvaluing my own statements/thoughts and theories when the client is trying to tell me their truth. I have learnt that the best therapy happens when I can sit with, think through and feel with them in their struggles. I don’t have all the answers and any therapist who says that they do is fooling themselves – and misleading their clients.

Bio

I am an artist/writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne. I now specialise in working with young people and families and am particularly interested in early intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder. I love writing about mental health, from my own experiences and from my work with young people. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health issues of interest to young people and parents. My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

I hope my stories will resonate with those who are struggling with mental health issues and maybe help others understand more about the journey.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
https://www.amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/articles
https://twitter.com/amandarobins7
https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandartherapy/pins/
https://www.facebook.com/amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/
https://www.instagram.com/amandarobinstherapy/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-robins-a861a782/

Interview with Psychotherapist Jennelle Liljestrand

Jennelle is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Supervisor, and Coach, working in a “Soteria” psychiatric clinic and in private practice in Munich, Germany. www.jennellepraxis.com.

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I had always been aware of my privilege growing up in a wealthy white suburb. This discomfort, combined with my psychology interest during college, led me naturally to a Masters program at Smith School for Social Work. What I loved about Social Work, is the idea that a person does not need a PhD to learn how to sit empathetically and be present for another person who is struggling. The program believes in the opposite: instead of filling our minds with research in order to have a preconceived notion of our clients, and put them in a box, our studies emphasised unpacking our baggage, our personal histories, in order be non-judgmental in the way we show up with our clients. And just showing up and being present for our clients helps! As a Clinical Social Worker, we are therapists who also see the world through a social justice lens. I saw, and still see, this profession as essential to human dignity for everyone.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The continual learning and exploration process of therapy is what I find most rewarding. It is a extremely creative process to think about therapeutic interventions, using various language or tools until something clicks with the client, or doesn’t. Not only that, but I hear so many other life experiences and perspectives. I enjoy my role of being curious, and gradually witnessing clients come to a better understanding of themselves, and come to feel a bit more okay with who they are. Through learning to understand my clients, I’ve built a lot of understanding towards other people I might see or meet, that most people would be upset by, or afraid of. The other continual learning that keeps me energized, are the training programs and lectures I attend to keep updating my knowledge and I continue to specialise my knowledge and skill as well, in my work with whatever current population I am with. My masters program emphasised learning how to build therapeutic relationships with clients, but did not give me all the tools I need to work with all populations. This means I actively choose new trainings every year to acquire the appropriate knowledge. For example, I started out working in Hospice, then with Veterans, and now with people with psychosis. I like that it is part of our profession to work with different populations and methods before settling down in a private practice or with one clientele.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe that interpersonal relationships and interactions can teach us everything about ourselves and our past, if we allow ourselves to be aware and open to it. Thus, I am a big advocate for group psychotherapy. In groups, therapy groups and groups of colleagues or friends alike, we find ourselves repeating certain roles, “the funny one” or “the quite one”, for example. This is often the role we developed in our family of origin. If we step back and observe this, it can help us either accept it, or to practice a new way of showing up in groups if that role no longer serves you. In these groups, I encourage my clients to notice all their emotional and physiological reactions (emotions are physiological) to their co-group members. All groups are social microcosms, a mini- world, and a therapy group is a social laboratory where we have a unique opportunity. The opportunity, is a space where you can consciously work on your problem, instead of just having your problem. These are two quite distinct things.

When you pay attention to how you show up in any relationship or interaction in the here-and-now you can learn a lot about yourself. You can learn what your behavior is like through feedback and self-observation. You can understand how your behavior makes others feel, if you listen to how it impacts them. You can understand how this behavior creates the opinions others have of you and how they may avoid you, respect you, or like you because of it. Lastly, you can understand how your behavior influences your opinion of yourself and feelings of self-worth . Due to this focus of mine, I check in with clients in the here-and-now of our communication and relationship building. In order to learn on an interpersonal level, we must be present in the moment to attend to what feelings and reactions arise in us during an interaction.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I love teaching about anger. Every emotion has an evolutionary function, a reason why it exists in humans. Anger serves us, in that it increases our psychological size, like animals that bear their teeth or spread their feathers when there is a threat. We obviously don’t spread our feathers, but we stand in a posture that takes up more space, speak louder and more aggressively, etc. I call anger a secondary emotion because it arrives in response to another feeling: usually an opposite feeling. Before the anger came, without noticing it, and maybe for a micro-second, we were feeling small and vulnerable somehow. This could be feeling disrespected, not valued, or unseen. Once you can identify that underlying feeling, and the situation in which it arose, it can transform the way you react towards other people. We see it as a reaction to other’s behavior, but it is actually the meaning we give that person in our mind. Remember, we are the only ones who can make us feel a feeling. For example, a car on the highway may cut us off, and as a result we feel violated, small, and helpless. But maybe it’s really about us. The fact that we are running late to a meeting we feel anxious about. We want to make a good impression to win the respect of the team. However if we arrive late and flustered, we fear they will see the truth: that we are useless. Our reaction has a lot more to do with ourselves and our history than to with the other person!

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

In my view, it takes too much knowledge to find and make use of good therapy. Thus, I want to take this opportunity to increase awareness about how therapy works. It is important to know that you need to feel a positive connection with a potential therapist. Your first meeting is a two-way interview. It is important that you can talk about everything within a therapeutic space, and if that does not happen, one should try another therapist. I stick by the rule of three. Try up to three therapists. If you’re still unsatisfied with all three, chances are, that might be an issue you’re going to therapy to work on, so stick with one of the three. Unfortunately, many people get stuck in mis-attuned and therapy and that is the last thing one deserves, especially in a phase where one needs the most support possible!

I also want people who are currently in therapy, to know how to use it effectively. If you feel misunderstood by your therapist, it is essential to tell him or her that. If you feel frustrated by the process and feel it’s unhelpful, say so. All these feelings are very important material to work with and it helps the therapeutic process even more. I encourage you to see any challenges or negative feelings in therapy as an opportunity to learn about yourself, and how you might avoid these areas in other relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the things I very much appreciate about the therapeutic relationship, is the concept that all therapists will make mistakes in getting to understand someones experience of the world. Just like in all relationship building. Without making any mistakes, as therapists, we won’t ever get to understand and process what it’s like for that client when they feel misunderstood or judged. This is important. The repair after the mis-attunement is what matters most. It builds the therapeutic relationship, builds the client’s self-understanding, and models healthy relationships. Whereas, a truly terrible therapeutic mistake would be the failure to provide a safe-space for an important issue to be spoken. This may reinforce the taboo and the shame. It sends the client a message that you cannot accept all of who they are because something about them is “bad.”

Interview with Dr. Lennie Soo

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My doctorate is in Counselling Psychology. Most therapists become therapists because of the challenges in their own lives and I am no different. I became a therapist because of the challenges that I had faced in life and I wanted to understand how to manage and handle these challenges better. I think I became a good therapist after I had a freak accident which almost cost me my life in 2006. That was when I broke my neck and as with life’s serendipity my training in what appears to be a diverse unrelated fields came together to help me overcome the disabilities that I experience after the accident. Family Matters when you are in a crisis and I feel that helping couples, is akin to helping their families.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

I feel that the most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is the privilege of being allowed by my clients to walk part of their life’s journey with them and to accept my presence and interventions during their times of crisis. I am humbled by their courage to open themselves up to a stranger and to seek help when needed to save their relationship. Isn’t that the wonderful manifestation of love?

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I have a background in clinical hypnotherapy and in personality profiling and I think my background in these 2 fundamental areas of human psyche help me develop the Solution Method of building and strengthening relationships.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I advise couples in the midst of divorce to be kind to each other. It is a simple advise but if we can be as kind to our partners as we are to others, even if the relationship ends, the closure will be less traumatic.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Talking to your friends about your problem is not therapy although it can be therapeutic. If you have spend more than 6 months trying to fix something and things continue to deteriorate, it is obvious that your strategy is not working and you need to seek professional help. I also like to say that research findings had found that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. Those who are weak are the least likely to seek help, so be strong and reach out for help. Also studies have reported that the success rate of those who undergo relationship counselling is around 50-80% so statistically it is a good idea to seek help.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The biggest mistake that a therapist can make is to think that they know everything and to make assumptions about their clients or is focus on area such as fame, money or reputation and not on the client. A therapist who allows their ego to control the session, is a therapist who has lost the plot.

Bio

You can learn more about Dr. Soo at http://asiahypnosis.com/about.

Interview with Counselor Diane Chrestman

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because I love helping people become the highest version of themselves possible. Relationships are certainly complicated and have enormous potential to add to our suffering. All individuals have a unique presentation of personality quirks such as wrong beliefs, perceptions, traumatic experiences and less-than effective communication styles. I love helping people recognize the thoughts, behaviors and emotional reactions that are preventing them from reaching their highest level of functioning and identify better ways of coping. I can’t imagine work that would be more meaningful.

I have been a practicing Buddhist for the past 6 years and have studied meditation and mindfulness with Zen master’s during this time. I draw a great deal from Buddhist Psychology. There are wonderful insights in Buddhism which are very beneficial for improving interpersonal relationships. One of the main concepts of Buddhist Psychology is mindfulness. If one is attempting to resolve a conflict but they feel angry it is of great benefit to know that you are angry. You should not try to resolve conflict when you are angry. Mindfulness is a very deep practice. For example, if you are ware of your thoughts, emotions, body, and expectations when engaged with another person, you will know if you are cultivating aspects of the relationship that you seek, or if you are destroying those aspects. Another technique is using right action, right effort and right communications. These practices are part of the Eight-Fold Path, which was the Buddha’s instructions for alleviating suffering. I never try to convert a person from their religion, but I find most people are open and very receptive to these strategies although they are cornerstones of Buddhism. Most people can see that they are congruent with the faith they practice.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

My favorite relationship tip is to understand your own true nature, and the true nature of other people. You have the capacity to be judgmental, selfish, fearful, and ignorant. When you engage in these patterns try to encourage self-compassion as opposed to self-blasting. Do your best. Learn from your mistake and try to do better next time. Be gentle and loving. Your beloved, boss or neighbor also has the capacity to be judgmental, selfish, ignorant and fearful. Understand why and how these conditions arise. Do you understand the nature of your partner, and do you act with loving-kindness and compassion when they are not engaging at their highest potential?

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I want to raise public awareness about the benefits of meditation and the different techniques available to begin a meditation practice or to go deeper in an existing practice. I teach all clients to meditate. Many people try to meditate but feel like they cannot because their mind is to racy. There are many levels of meditation. If you try but are having difficulty, perhaps you are trying a level that is to difficult. One should also be willing to tolerate a certain amount of discomfort when learning to meditate. It will feel frustrating at first. You try to quiet your mind and stay in the present moment, but instead find yourself living in the past or future. This is what the mind will do if you have not practiced calming and concentrating the mind. Stick with a practice and you will find a peacefulness, acceptance and wisdom cultivated. These ingredients are crucial to fulfilling and loving relationships.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

One of the biggest mistakes or misunderstandings is a client’s expectations that a therapist will be able to fix relationship problems through talking. Talking in a caring, safe and supportive environment is indeed very therapeutic. It releases some of the energy of the angst and hurt we feel. However, long lasting changes come from changing elements of emotional reactions, cognitions or behaviors. The work is not easy. Anyone who has ever tried to change a habit know this. Another misunderstanding wrong right effort. Don’t expect that entrenched relationships patterns will have a positive impact the first or second time a different response is generated. The same energy that was used to cultivate the entrenched pattern is necessary to change the pattern.

Bio

You can learn more about Diane Chrestman at www.authentic-life.net.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Marriage Counseling – Dr. Tina B. Tessina

Background: I’m a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with 30 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples. I’m also the author of 13 books in 16 languages, including How to be Happy Partners: Working it out Together, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs

Ten things you don’t know about marriage counseling

As a marriage counselor/psychotherapist in private practice, I encounter a lot of people who waited far too long to come in for counseling because they didn’t understand what it was or how it could help them. These ten things will clear up confusion and help you understand when counseling would be a good idea for your marriage.

1. It’s not about airing your dirty linen in public. No good therapist will chastise you for your behavior or attitudes. Counseling is about helping you get what you both want, and helping you to communicate.

2. It’s not about changing your partner. The best way to change your partner is to change how you relate. A counselor has the perspective to see what both of you are doing and saying that is interfering with your communication. He or she will show both of you what needs to change to make your relationship better.

3. It really can vastly improve your marriage, and make you happier. If you’re not getting what you want in your relationship, or not able to figure out what your partner wants, counseling is a place to learn those things, and find out the emotional blocks that are stopping you from being happy.

4. You can learn skills you didn’t know you needed, that will get you what you want. A good relationship requires skill in communicating, knowing what you want and knowing how to articulate how you feel in a non-confrontational way. Couples have to learn how to work together, negotiate and cooperate. Counseling is an opportunity to learn those skills.

5. It’s not scary, it’s enlightening. You won’t be harmed or belittled — instead, you’ll be delighted at what you find out. Imagine the confusion and upset fading away, and being replaced by clarity and renewed affection.

6. It doesn’t cost a lot. The earlier you go in, the quicker you can get the problem solved, and the less it will cost. Don’t wait until the resentment and hurt feelings have built and festered for years. If you go in as soon as you feel something isn’t working, the counselor can help you figure out what is wrong, and quickly correct it. If you let bad habits become ingrained, it takes longer to fix them.

7. No topic is off limits. Whatever you haven’t been able to talk about, the therapist will create a safe place for you to hear and be heard. One couple I worked with called counseling “adult supervision” because it helped them to be able to hear each other talk about things they hadn’t been able to discuss without fighting. The counselor will make sure you are hearing each other, and thinking rather than reacting.

8. Fighting is not a necessary part of marriage, but communication is, and therapy will help you change your fighting to communication. All couples have disagreements. When you learn how to listen to each other, and how to communicate without confronting, arguments become sessions for understanding and working things out.

9. Even if you are getting divorced, you can benefit from marriage counseling. If you have children, you’ll have a relationship forever, so learn how to work together, even if it’s just for their sake. Whatever problems you’re having in this relationship are likely to come up in the next one, unless you sort them out and figure out how to do it different. Whatever you learn here will be helpful in all future relationships, with partners, family, friends and colleagues.

10. It’s about partnership, sweetheart. Every marriage needs to be a partnership, emotionally, financially, socially and domestically. Therapy can teach you how to do this, even if you already get along. You can learn how to work together to solve every problem that comes up in a relationship, from intimacy to extended family issues to financial struggles. Learning how to cooperate rather than struggle and compete will make walking together through life a pleasure.

Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (www.tinatessina.com) is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 40 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 14 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, The Real 13th Step , How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together and How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog (drromance.typepad.com), and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video and podcasts. She tweets @tinatessina

Interview with Psychotherapist Joelle Anderson

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I actually started out in education, and then marketing and hadn’t really considered psychotherapy as a career because, initially, I didn’t really know/understand what a psychotherapist did. It was when I was doing my mindfulness training that I learned more about counselling and psychotherapy and realized it was a blend of everything I loved and enjoyed in my previous careers – it allows me to listen, to help people with what really matters to them, and has a level of conversation and connection that I appreciate every day. Plus my background in mindfulness and other emotion regulation skill teaching provided strong foundations for me to come into the profession equipped with strong tools and resources.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The changes in clients that make them feel amazing about who they are. Seeing someone go from believing something they want, or some aspect of who they are is inaccessible, and then being able to step into a more effective, skillful, and self-loving space is awesome to me. Ultimately, the later – being able to not only accept, but also love, honour and celebrate the person within, is my favourite part.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

As an eating disorder specialist, one of the more unique things about my practice is actually being able to help people heal and connect with others through the very thing that initially caused pain – eating and food. Otherwise, I don’t know if it is unique or special, but I do love a DBT approach to very skill-based interpersonal skill development, mixed with an attitude of reality-acceptance and really acknowledging where we have control in relationship, and where we do not.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I sometimes discuss with clients the idea that there are 3 parts to any relationship: you, the other person, and the “dynamic” between you. Seeing the dynamic, the “fit” between the “stuff” that is the clients, and the “stuff” that is the other person’s helps to loosen some of the expectations of control, recognize more realistic boundaries, and to consider the idea of “fit” rather than over-focusing on control and/or self-blame.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

As an eating disorder therapist, I really feel that the stigma and shame surrounding eating disorders in general is enormous. We are getting better and better, as a society, about reducing metal health stigma, but ED seems to be lagging still. I think we could all look at our relationship to food, eating, and body image and really consider what it is that we are promoting – love and acceptance and reality, or the commercialized ideals that make us all suffer to some extent.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

On the therapist end – thinking YOU can change a patient. It’s their journey, we guide and support and so what we can but it is and always will be up to the client.
On the patient end – hoping that the therapist can fix it. The changes will always need to come from you, BUT that also means all the progress also comes from within you. You have what it takes, a therapist simply hopes to help you access that.

Bio

Joelle received her Master of Counselling Psychology (MA) from Yorkville University and is a Registered Psychotherapist and Canadian Certified Counsellor in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario and Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, respectively. Joelle runs a private psychotherapy practice in Toronto where she (along with her therapy dog, Peanut) specializes in treating Eating Disorders. She is also an Eating Disorder Counsellor at Bellwood Health Services.

Joelle has been working in mental health and therapeutic fields for over four years. This includes working as a Counsellor at Bellwood Health Services and Georgian College, experience with Catholic Children’s Aid Society, and therapeutic work I have through teaching mindfulness meditation and through a number of not-for-profit organizations over the years. You can learn more about Jeolle Anderson at kernelofwisdom.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Justine Corrie

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

My journey to becoming a psychotherapist was very much a personal one. My own childhood was very traumatic and I’d left home at a young age. I spent most of my twenties travelling and discovering myself through some hairy adventures, spiritual enquiry and also a lot of experimentation with my own consciousness. I had a experience in my late twenties that might have been considered a breakdown, I’ve learnt to understand what happened then through the lens of a ‘spiritual emergence’. That time led me to returning to the UK and finding ways to integrate my experiences and also coming to terms with my past. I spent several years in therapy myself as well as deepening my own meditation practice, and that led me to the Core Process Psychotherapy training, where Mindfulness practice meets western psychotherapy.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The privilege of accompanying others along their journey into wholeness. Witnessing another meeting their inherent health. It’s deeply humbling work.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Well, all therapy ultimately is about relationship. We’re inherently relationship-seeking beings. I’m not sure I have a unique approach, but I’m fascinated by how we come into relationship, with ourselves, with others and with the world. I see this as ‘the big work’ the human race needs to do!

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

The idea of intimate relationship as ‘spiritual practice’. That we’ve chosen this other exactly because they trigger us in all the right ways! And on a very practical note – appreciations are fuel for good relationship. The simple daily practice of sharing an appreciation with our intimate other can be hugely transformative to a relationship.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

That therapy isn’t just for when your in difficulty! Increasingly, clients come to therapy both as individuals and as couples, when they’re in a resourced and healthy place. This can lead to some really rich and rewarding work!

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

A therapist and their client believing that the therapist is the expert. My clients are the expert in the room, I see my job as facilitating and supporting their process of discovery.

Bio

Justine Corrie is a Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapist, Couples Counsellor and Group Facilitator. She has an MA in Core Process Psychotherapy from The Karuna Institute and a Diploma in Couples Counselling from ReVision, London. She works from a peaceful garden cabin in Somerset. As well as a thriving private practice, she runs Mindfulness retreats and workshops in Conscious Collaboration. You can discover more at www.justinecorrie.com.

Interview with Psychotherapist Fe Robinson

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I used to work in HR, and found myself unable to help people with their problems as much as I wanted to. I initially trained as a life coach and then learned about NLP to deepen my skills. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn, so eventually becoming a therapist felt like coming home for me. I do this work because I believe in people’s capacity to thrive, whatever the circumstances.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

My work is a source of inspiration. I am humbled by the strength and resilience of my clients, and on a daily basis I learn and grow from our interactions. The most rewarding aspect of the job is being able to witness people finding healing and peace.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I believe we are each unique, our experiences, upbringing, family, culture and many other aspects shape us. At the same time we are all very ordinary, because so much of human experience is shared. I don’t think I have a special background or approach, I just aim to be real and present in the room. For some people, some of the time, I am the right therapist, that is as much as I hope for.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I encourage people to watch out for patterns in and across relationships. Life has a way of repeatedly offering us the opportunity to grow and learn, when we duck it the same old things will just keep happening until we take up the challenge. Getting to know your own foibles in the way you relate can really help you improve your relationships, but honest looking, and a willingness to change are essential.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I would love to increase public awareness about the ability for clients to recover from mental health issues. Often the media position people as sufferers or victims, and give the impression that mental health challenges last a lifetime. They can, but more often they do not. I would like to give people a sense of hope, and of their own ability to grow and change. Symptoms are a call to heal, they bring to our attention the work that needs to be done. Therapy is a great way to help symptoms reveal their strengths and improve health.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

What is a mistake for one person might be just right for another person, it’s hard to generalise. In therapy though, I think the thing I encourage both therapists and clients to avoid is not trusting themselves.Operating out of fear and disregarding what our body tells us is often a mistake. When we trust ourselves and listen to our intuition we are likely to be on the right track.

Bio

You can learn more about Fe Robinson at www.ferobinsonpsychotherapy.co.uk.

Interview with Inge Dean, LMFT

Why did you become a therapist?

I was drawn to becoming a therapist even before I knew exactly what one did. As I child, I watched “The Miracle Worker” about Helen Keller and declared that when I grew up I wanted to help people like Anne Sullivan. Part of what intrigued me was my curiosity about what other people were thinking, feelings .and experiencing. And I wanted to understand and help them. Also I was very connected to my own emotions and inner world as a child and wished that I had someone to talk to. When I went to college I majored in psychology and knew that is what I wanted to study. When we did class exercises where we took turns sharing and listening to each other it felt so natural to me. I went on to complete my masters in counseling psychology and became a licensed marriage and family therapist. I now work with children, adults, couples and families in my practice as they work through their life challenges so they can live life more fully.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist is inviting people into my office exactly where they are with no judgements and taking the time to deeply hear and listen to them about their hurts, challenges, hopes and dreams. Walking alongside people, supporting and facilitating them, as they find their way through the difficulties that brought them to see me and discover the ability to love, value and respect themselves is rewarding. It is deeply satisfying to witness my clients learn to hear and trust their own inner wisdom and live fully into their lives and relationships.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

My short answer is that what is special and unique about me is that I am me, Inge Dean, with all the particularities around my experiences of life. That I have met and work through and will continue to work through the hurt and challenges of my life. And that I have a particular package of gifts and abilities that I get to live and share in the world. I also hold this same perspective on every other person I meet. As a therapist, I see that my work is to help my clients have the freedom to live in their own special unique way.
To borrow from the words of the poet Mary Oliver:

“Tell me what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

From this perspective I hold and work from an integrated holistic approach. I listen and give attention to your body, soul, mind and spirit.
BODY
• Heal from dissociation and trauma through sensory awareness, breath, movement
• Reclaim instinct, natural impulses, playful child, passion
• Experience belonging in your body and upon this earth
SOUL
• Work through painful relationship patterns and family legacies
• Release authentic self from patterns of self-doubt, depression and mistrust
• Find the gifts hidden in the wound through dreams, archetypal images, living myths
MIND
• Strengthen capacity for meaningful relationships and work
• Cultivate clarity of awareness and choice
• Offer your gifts in ways that serve you and others
SPIRIT
• Free mental blocks to inner guidance
• Integrate meditation, imagination, and ceremony into your life
• See your inner nature mirrored in outer nature

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips?

Never make yourself over in ways that are not true to who you are just to get someone to love you. Likewise, never try to make some else over in the image of what you desire. Instead practice cultivating self-love so you worth comes from within which also allow you to meet another person where they are.

Take the time you and get the help you need to be able to think clearly and know what you really think and want before you respond. So that your Yes will really mean Yes and your No will be a solid No.
Also it is alright to change your mind.

Be aware when you are creating a scenario based on what has happened in the past or what you fear will happen in the future. We are all great movie producers. And are mind and emotions respond to these movies as if they are actually happening. Instead catch yourself when this happens and bring yourself back to be present to what is actually happening now. The only place we can live, act and make changes.

When you and your partner are both calm talk about how to deal with that ooh so familiar argument; where no one can hear the other person that goes nowhere and takes a long time to recover from. Agree that one or both of you will call a time out before you get totally sucked in. And that you will both respect that timeout. Also agree that when you are both ready that you will connect to talk about things from a calm place where things can get worked out. If things get hot again take another timeout and do that as much as needed to break that ooh so familiar pattern of relating. If you can’t do this alone call a couples counselor to help you.

Don’t forget to make time for laughter, play.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not a weakness or failure to admit your struggles and vulnerabilities. But actually it takes strength and courage to ask for help.

Therapy is sometimes seen as a luxury that people cannot afford. When actually if the difficulties in your life or relationships cause sleepless nights and interfere with your work, family and ability to enjoy life it is something you cannot not afford to do.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

The number one biggest mistake a therapist can make is to see a client as only a list of symptoms and a diagnosis. Narrowing their perspective to only relieving symptom can be a disservice. Certainly relief from suffering is a part of therapy but if that is where it stops a client loses the opportunity to explore their life story and create new ways of living and relating that give them the freedom to change and grow.

Sometimes clients make the mistake of staying in therapy which is not a good fit because a therapist is prescribing more session. Therapist are all different and finding one that fits for you is so important. On the other hand a client can leave therapy prematurely if uncomfortable memories and feeling are arising. It is important to find a therapist that you can trust. Who can walk with you and support you as you find your way to the other side.

Bio

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 25 years of experience working with children, teens, individual adult, couples and families. I see clients in my Berkeley, California office as well as California residents on a secure on line practice. I also am a trained dream teacher and consultant and run dream groups. I am available to consult with people around the world on dreams that trouble them or they want to understand more thoroughly. You can find more about me at Ingedeanberkeleypsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Anna Marson, MA, RP, CCC

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Always being psychologically-minded from a young age, I tended to gravitate towards studies in psychology to better understand human thinking and behavior. Years later in my career I realized that I’d been inadvertently counselling my friends in high school hallways all along! So a great deal of my ability to connect with others on a deeper level came naturally. I was also drawn to the idea of dedicating my life to a meaningful cause that benefits the world in some small way.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing lives transformed for the better! Giving clients new insights that help them make sense of their experiences. Saving people’s lives; giving them hope. Witnessing clients picking up new skills, making them their own, and living more empowered and fulfilled lives. The work is always very meaningful. I feel humbled and honoured to be able to build intimate working relationships with clients, sometimes during their darkest moments, and help them maximize their personal potentials.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Having a background in cognitive sciences and neurophysiology, I tend to incorporate a lot of teaching into my therapy to help clients understand the origins of their thinking patterns, behaviours, attachment styles in relationships, and responses to stress and trauma. I think if we understand the underlying nature of the concerns, then we have a roadmap for creating change, and understanding the logic behind human tendencies helps clients overcome shame. Clients seem to find this information empowering and normalizing.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Knowing your attachment style and your partner’s attachment style makes all the difference. Similarly, considering your respective “love languages” can be helpful. And Esther Perel’s teachings that extramarital affairs don’t necessarily have to signal the end of a marriage, but rather, can inspire a fresh start can leave room for growth as a couple.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy doesn’t have to be scary. Some clients have the misconception that they are expected to share all of their traumatic experiences the first time(s) we meet, which can sometimes actually do more harm than good. It’s possible to do good therapy at a slow, steady pace, without overwhelming clients’ nervous systems. The idea is to maintain safety in the session and give clients a sense of choice and empowerment about what and when they’re ready to share.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Being judgmental rather than curious. All human thinking and behavior makes sense within the right context. Being judgmental causes others to become defensive, which is counterproductive to the therapeutic process.

Bio

Anna Marson, MA, RP, CCC, is the Chief Psychotherapist at Heartfulness Psychotherapy, a private practice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Heartfulness Psychotherapy specializes in mental health, addictions, trauma, depression, anxiety, stress, acquired brain injury, other difficulties with attention and/or emotions, daily life challenges, and life transitions.

Specific therapies offered include evidence-based practices such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Gottman Couple’s Therapy, and Interpersonal/Relational Psychotherapy. Additional services offered include consulting, coaching, and Kundalini Yoga instruction.

Heartfulness Psychotherapy offers services to youth, adults, couples, and groups. Services are covered by most extended health benefits programs.

heartfulness.io

Interview with Psychotherapist Kirsty Campbell

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist partly because therapy has helped me a great deal at various points in my life. I’ve had some really supportive and helpful experiences with therapists who’ve journeyed alongside me as I’ve navigated something painful or a big change. Becoming a qualified therapist in the UK, where I trained and now work, isn’t an easy journey. It involved a four year commitment to part-time study, placement experience and more of my own therapy. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the theory and practicalities of the job, though, and had some really inspiring tutors – not to mention how much I learned from my fellow student therapists, several of whom I’m still in touch with even though our initial training is long behind us.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Without doubt, being trusted with peoples’ private worlds. It’s very special to go through parts of someone’s life with them, and be let into how they’re feeling and changing. Knowing that they have confidentiality allows people to open up in a way that perhaps they can’t do with partners or friends. That kind of confidence being placed in you is humbling and rewarding.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t think anything is – and perhaps that’s useful in itself. Therapy is all about relationships, so in a way all of my training and experience feeds into my approach to working with interpersonal relationships. I love working with all kinds of relationships, too: different couples, at different relationship and/or life stages, dealing with a host of pressures both inside and outside their relationship with each other.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I’m very drawn to the idea that the more secure you are with yourself, the more available you are to your partner (and others in your life, come to that). Anxieties in a relationship can really get in the way and cause couples to get into unhelpful patterns of relating.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I’d like therapy to become a very normal thing that people go off and do when they feel they need to. Sometimes it’s seen publicly as something only really distressed or traumatised people are entitled to seek out, or clients worry that they will be judged as ‘going mad’ or ‘being oversensitive’ if they admit to being in therapy. It’s fine to seek therapy whenever you feel it might be helpful. Many of us feel comfortable with treating ourselves to regular personal grooming things like massages or manicures – why not be that comfortable with tending to our mental health, too?

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

I think a client can make the mistake of staying with a therapist they don’t really feel they can talk to, because they assume the therapist must in some way know best. Not every therapist-client relationship ‘clicks’ and I try to encourage clients to keep looking if they don’t happen to find the right therapist right away. Therapists make mistakes all the time – I know I do – and often these things are actually gifts. If I can own up to something I feel I’ve handled poorly or examine the stuff that falls flat, I often end up strengthening the relationship with the client and learning something into the bargain. It’s useful to model that mistakes can be used in this way, too, so that clients can embrace their own insecurities and frustrations, rather than feeling they must aim to be nice and get things ‘right’.

Bio

I am a fully qualified counsellor and psychotherapist working with all ages and issues from my practice in Cambridge, UK. I hold a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and I am a registered member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. I currently work for a local primary school as a school counsellor, seeing young people with a wide range of issues, and spend the rest of my time seeing clients privately in my peaceful garden studio. I also enjoy working with a diverse range of couples. Please feel welcome to browse my website and helpful articles at www.kirsty-campbell.com.

Interview with BPS chartered and HCPC registered consultant Clinical Psychologist Adriana Giotta

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Being a psychotherapist for me is a vocation. I have been passionate about psychology and philosophy since I was an adolescent, always curious about the mysteries of the human mind and existence itself. One of the driving forces to become a therapist has also been my wish to help others, reciprocating the way I had been helped myself.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

Seeing people progressively blossom and thrive in their lives, becoming fulfilled by facilitating the emergence of their true selves. I also very much enjoy researching in the field of psychology and depth psychology, continuing to learn more to find new and more powerful ways of helping people.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

– I believe the uniqueness of my background and past experience in the field of the fashion industry and fashion modelling equipped me with relevant life experience to better understand and support clients working in tough and competitive corporate environments and enabled a profound understanding of femininity in postmodern western societies and all the issues related to body image, gender role behaviour and relational issues, identity challenges,oppression, discrimination, low self-esteem, feeding and eating disorders, addictions, compulsions and obsessions.

– My approach is holistic and integrative. Whilst indeed the focus is on the depth and deeper aspects of the psychic structure, I am also a very pragmatic person, aiming to empower patients to handle their challenges effectively and thus thrive in their day to day lives. Furthermore, I believe all aspects of human existence need to be embraced and integrated in the therapeutic process, including the body and the soul, and I see the changes observed in patients as a result of the therapeutic process are profound and generally begin to occur swiftly.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Learning to attune and connect to our own feelings, needs and internal world enables us to do the same with others thus to thrive and enjoy fulfilling relationships. Learning to hear about one another’s anxieties and supporting each other is paramount: Often people are caught with the resentment of not getting what they need or want from the other and in so doing they are incapable of giving anything and seeing the other at all. If two people do the same in a relationship it is easy to see how people can begin to part away with the illusion that someone else will fulfil all of their needs and wants and that there is someone ideal out there. Our brain is relational and is wired around the relational interactions which occurred since birth; however, our brain is also plastic as such wounds can be healed, past core beliefs re-scripted, past impressions released and new relational patterns can be learned. The best tips I can suggest to increase the quality of one’s relationships are to

1. learn to (actively) accept all people and situations exactly as they are (accepting does not mean agreeing, it just means to accept that this is what it is right now);
2. set firm boundaries;
3. learn to respect one’s and others’ needs;
4. not read intentions in other people’s mistakes;
5. let go of the need or wish to be ‘right’ in conflicts or arguments but rather try to really hear the other and attempt to see what it is like to be in their shoes, so to say.
6. not take things personally.
7. learn to take criticism in a constructive way and to discriminate between constructive criticism, which helps us grow, and destructive criticism, which we need to just let go.
8. have an attitude of compassion which always wins in any relationship.
9. Learn to repair ruptures: life is an ongoing process of relational ruptures and reparation. Learning to effectively repair ruptures whilst learning and growing from them and not to repeat the same patterns is the most powerful way to be in relationship.
10. remember and accept that relationships will bring forth our ‘unfinished business’; it is good practice to take this as an opportunity to grow rather than running away from relationships or blaming the other.
11. take responsibility for one’s own feelings, thoughts, actions and mistakes. This is the way to grow within relationships.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

Therapy isn’t for mentally ill people but rather for people who wish to thrive in life and become who they truly are, bringing forth their unique selves.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

For therapists, there is a risk when they believe they no longer need to learn and upgrade their skills, knowledge about their selves and about new theories, thus becoming entrenched in one way of being a therapist and/or on one theoretical framework with the subsequent risk of becoming dogmatic, non-reflexive and/or imposing onto the patient – within a dehumanising ‘I-it’ type of relationship – their formulation of the patient’s issue. The biggest risk for therapists, though, in my experience, is when they have not had enough personal therapy of their own and/or if they may be in the profession for the wrong reasons – such as a desire for power – thereby risking the abuse of such a power dynamic and/or being unaware of their own ‘unfinished business’ triggered in the consulting room and embracing a defensive position, projecting their material on the patients themselves. 

For patients, a common mistake is to be entrenched in one’s old way of seeing the world and doing things and not taking the necessary leap of faith required to jump into the unknown territory of self-discovery with the help of the therapist’s guidance, thus holding to a rigid position. Not applying what is agreed in sessions after each session as well as not giving themselves the space and the time required in between sessions to digest and process the emerging material can also hinder the therapeutic process . Also, in some instances, assuming the therapists is always right by virtue of the ‘hat’ they wear can be a risk.

Bio

Consultant Clinical Psychologist
BPS Chartered & HCPC Registered
Certified Schema Therapist (ISST)
MSc (Clin Psych), BSc (Hons)
CPsychol, AFBPsS, HCPC, EuroPsy,
SRP, SPS Full Member,
HCPC Registration Number: PYL32977
www.Elephant.com.sg

Interview with Ronnie Diener, M.A, LMFT, LPCC

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

My therapy approach, which I call Quantumview Therapy, is largely based on the discoveries of quantum physics. This may sound like a scientific approach, but it’s actually the opposite. Quantum reality is an understanding of reality, based on quantum physics discoveries, which, unlike material or Newtonian reality, is founded on principles of consciousness, i.e., freedom, creativity, justice, love, peace, balance and goodness, rather than on the limitations of matter and practicality.

Quantum reality exists on the soul level as opposed to the mind level. This affects psychotherapy by allowing for the natural resolution of issues by changing the context of life into something compatible with the human spirit. In this new context, maladaptive coping processes are no longer necessary and we discover that life around us responds to our feelings, intuition and desire for balance. This is in stark contrast to classical or Newtonian concepts in which everything around us is counter intuitive and there is little or no balance. The way to make this change is by learning how to trust feelings and intuition rather than the conditioned mind.

Most people I run into have heard of and are vaguely impressed by quantum physics, but do not have a real understanding of the deep impact it implies for them in their everyday lives. Most people are familiar with E=MC2, which has shown us that all matter can be converted to energy, but quantum physics goes immeasurably further. Amazing as it may seem to our Newtonian conditioned minds, quantum physics has proven that even the particles within the electron previously thought to be the basic building block of matter, have properties that do not belong to matter. Among theoretical quantum physicists there have been some other interpretations proposed, but it seems to me that the only reasonable interpretation of quantum experimentation is that there is in fact no such thing as matter. Matter is, in reality, no more than concentrated energy with certain magnetic properties which keep it from being penetrable.

In other words, there is nothing out there but pure energy in different states. Even more staggering is the discovery that the frequency and wavelength properties of this energy are most like the energy of our own thoughts (“What the Bleep Do We Know!?” 2006), which leads to the obvious conclusion that our own consciousness, not matter which is separate from us, is the ground of all being.

Another major concept in quantum physics that has huge implications for psychotherapy is that reality is non-local as proven by “entanglement”. Two “entangled” atoms affect each other instantaneously even when separated by any arbitrary distance. What happens to one atom happens to the other with no time in between for transfer of information. The only reasonable explanation of this proven fact is that there is no such thing as distance, everywhere is actually all in the same place, connected by one sensitive consciousness that we are all a part of.

This affects human interaction (and therefore psychotherapy) by providing support for the importance of relying on our intuition and feelings, since logic and ration as we know it are rendered obsolete in such a world, It also lends indisputable support for the reality of extra sensory perception and communication and therefore for the need to be consistently honest with each other on every level. If we all know intuitively what each of us is conscious of anyway, therapy (especially relationship therapy) needs to focus on the need for absolute honesty about what we feel and know on the deepest level in all our relations with others. This is the beginning of a transformation of our relations with each other that promises to be phenomenal.

Creativity is another area which is underplayed in mainstream psychotherapy. Quantum physics makes it clear that creativity is what we as human beings are all about. Amit Goswami, well known theoretical quantum physicist, holds that creativity is the source of the greatest joy possible to us as human beings, and that is certainly my own experience. Quantum physics experimentation has shown that we exist in a field of infinite possibility by proving that all electrons occupying ‘vacant space’ are identical to each other, without individual traits (such as spin, frequency, etc.) until they are ‘observed’ by the scientist. At that time they develop innate qualities of their own from the infinity of possibilities they hold within themselves. Observation is an act of interaction between the consciousness and perspective of the observer and the field of infinite possibility that surrounds us in the form of undeveloped electrons.

That we exist in an infinite sea of possibility, which does not take form until it connects with our consciousness, has amazing significance for the abundant creative potential we hold within and how limited our actual creative expression is in contrast. Psychotherapy is in a unique position to help people understand and develop their huge creative potential. That our consciousness has the power to create what we desire in the world also shows us that we are in control, not victims in an already established system of enforced limitation.

What binds us to the old paradigm is emotional baggage held in the unconscious and constant monitoring of this baggage to keep it buried in denial by the societally conditioned mind. Learning to trust only our own feelings and intuition is the path to the quantum world. By exploring, accepting and integrating the feelings underlying our issues without influence by the mind, we can bring back to consciousness all of our denied, stuck feelings and release ourselves from conditioned patterns of thinking and acting.

The focus in quantum therapy is on the uniqueness of you, without compromising with societal limitations, a process that can be referred to as becoming whole. Immersing yourself in your own feelings and intuitive insight, and allowing your feelings alone to guide you to an answer, solution or realization will ultimately empower you to find your quantum self and all the rewards and joys of becoming whole and free.

Welcome to the You-niverse!

Bio

Learn more about Ronnie Diener at www.quantumviewtherapy.net.

Interview with Psychotherapist Lucas Teague

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist was always a vocation for me and definitely my calling in life. Prior to becoming a therapist, I realised I was suffering from depression. I decided not to go down the medical route of taking medication, and instead took up meditation and went into therapy. In hindsight, I feel this was one of the most important decisions of my life. Although I think medication has a place, for me understanding the root causes of my condition became my path into becoming a therapist.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It is a real privilege to do the work I do. I am given a rare glimpse into the lives of my clients, who in some cases have never told anyone else their difficulties. To be trusted in this way carries real responsibility and is in many ways the basis for the work between the therapist and client being successful. To be part to this process of changing people’s lives, is a real blessing.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I work as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, which means that I work with the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. I specialize in offering an holistic approach in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bereavement, and addictions. This means working with all aspects of my client’s experience, as a means of helping them gain a more complete understanding of the underlying issues related to their difficulties. Alongside talking together, I may suggest the use of mindfulness, creative visualisation techniques, drawing, and dream work. My experience of working with clients over a 10-year period has shown me that this is one of the most effective methods of fostering lasting change.

What are your favourite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

It is often through being in a relationship, that our buttons get pressed and many of our issues come to the surface. This is because we often attract other people into our lives who reflect back to us those very things which we are unable or unwilling to see in ourselves. My experience has shown me that many of those issues, also have an opportunity within them. So, the symptoms that clients turn up to therapy with, often have an important story to tell. Therapy is fundamentally about giving a place for that story, and through which can bring its own healing.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I think that understanding that our sense of wellbeing and happiness comes from within. How we choose to live our lives, can impact on this. However, it is our relationship to the world around us which fundamentally determines our sense of ourselves.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Therapeutically, what can seem like a mistake, can reveal aspects of the client’s material, which may not have been seen any other way. I think it is important for client and therapist to see the therapeutic relationship as a safe place, where ‘mistakes’ can be held and explored with curiosity and understanding.

Bio

You can learn more about Lucas Teague at www.lucasteaguepsychotherapy.co.uk.

Interview with Judy Noddin, MFT

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist is constantly being challenged to grow and heal in order to have the necessary skills and capacities to support my client’s growth and healing.

The emphasis here is “support” my client’s healing. One of the biggest misnomers about therapy is the belief that the therapist has a “magic wand” and is going to do something to the client to “fix” them, as if the client is a passive bystander. In fact, the therapeutic relationship is a collaborative one, which both the therapist and client must work at.

I named my practice Garden Heart Psychotherapy because I love how the metaphor of the garden reflects the collaborative and organic nature of the therapeutic relationship and healing process.

In this metaphor, the client is the garden—a beautiful and complex eco-system full of miraculous potential for growth and abundance. However, the client often comes to therapy because their inner self and/or relationships are not thriving—their potential has not been realized. They feel blocked, drained of energy and motivation–stunted and wilted like a fallow garden.

While the therapist/gardener in this metaphor, cannot “make” the garden healthy or do the work the flower must do to come into full bloom, they can and should create the conditions conducive to health and growth. They must tend the soil to make sure there are adequate nutrients –help the client identify and overcome the barriers to connecting to people and engaging in experiences and activities that nourish and nurture them, including basic self-care like adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise. The therapist/gardener also provides the right amount of water and sun—witnessing the client with warmth and compassion, giving them an experience of a healthy relationship, mirroring the client’s goodness and their strengths.

While the gardener/therapist tends to the garden, the garden/client must make a deep commitment to themselves and the process to do the necessary work inside and outside of the therapy room. Just as the seed must push it’s roots deep into the earth gathering up nutrients and creating stability, so must the client be willing to dig deep, take in love and care from the therapist and others in their lives, and ultimately give this to themselves. Just as each plant must break out of the darkness of the soil and reach it’s branches towards the light of the sun, so must the client be willing to bring what is in the darkness to the light of day— to uncover buried painful feelings and give them expression, to allow their most vulnerable parts to be witnessed with warmth and compassion, thus producing resilience and strength.

Together, therapist and client, identify and pull out old life-draining weeds, releasing past hurts and toxic beliefs allowing the growth of inner peace. Together, client and therapist tend the wounds and heal the dis-ease of the heart/garden with compassion. This difficult and worthwhile work, undertaken by client and therapist, ultimately frees up previously blocked and drained energy that can be used for new growth, creativity, deepened connections to self and others, abundance and beauty.

The Heart is like a garden.
It can grow compassion or fear,
resentment or love.
What seeds will you plant
there?
–Buddha

Bio

Judy Noddin is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who sees individual adults and couples in her private practice in Oakland. Judy uses a variety of therapeutic methods in her work with clients including talk therapy, mindfulness techniques, somatic attachment therapy interventions, sand tray and expressive arts therapies. Judy also runs therapy groups for women called “Wild Women Unleashed” where she uses expressive arts to help women explore how the Wild Woman archetype can be a doorway to personal power, intuitive knowing and creative energy. For more information, or to contact Judy, please visit her website at www.gardenheartpsychotherapy.com.

Interview with Counsellor Lucy Cavendish

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I was a journalist and I loved interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick and I realised that I wanted to do that in a more in-depth way. I am fascinated by people, their world, our world.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

It’s wonderful to build up a trusting relationships with someone. When I feel a shift, it makes me love what I do – what ‘we’ do in the room together. I learn a tremendous amount from my clients. Everyone brings something new and different in to the therapy room.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

I don’t feel I am unique! Everything has gone before me and will continue after me. I am just a small tiny cog in a much larger wheel of psychological process. It would worry me if I thought there was something special in my approach. I try to do the best job I can do in a ethically responsible way…

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

Go in to every session as if it is new – it is necessary to be present but don’t beat yourself up if you drift off. Be curious. Be aware that we know nothing about this other person. We need to start joining up dots but be very careful when you do this. EG. My alcoholic father is not my client’s alcoholic father. Be aware of the many presumptions we make especially when circumstances bear an uncanny resemblance to our own.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

People still think it is something to be ashamed about – it isn’t. I’d have everyone in therapy for a few session sif it was possible! Or affordable. But I’m amazed how much people will spend on themselves but not when it comes to therapy which, for me, is one of the most effective way of supporting someone and heralding in the possibility of change.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

No such things as mistakes when it comes to the client, just ruptures that need to be worked through.

Bio

Learn more about Lucy Cavendish at www.lucycavendishcounselling.com.

Interview with Dr. Monica Sharma

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

Becoming a therapist or to be precise a clinical psychologist was not something I had planned for. Me being an average student during my school days I was helped by a special educator who made a difference in my life and what I am today. So, I was interested in psychology. During my bachelors days going through the disorders and understanding their clinical descriptions was something that excited me. But then in my internship when I actually saw my first client I observed that the reality of a disorder was different from what we read in books. Understanding the condition of psychiatric clients and also the social scenario (especially in India, that too in rural parts) I was motivated to work with these clients who others would say were better off with medications alone and to help them live a more meaningful life with the help of therapies. During my initial years of practice I also noticed that if few skills are taught to individuals in their childhood they can be protected from developing minor psychological problems. All this motivated me to be a psychologist and still does.

Also, before deciding a career as a clinical psychologist I asked myself whether I will enjoy my work or not. The answer that I got during my internship was that I would have the opportunity to explore new challenges, help people grow as individuals and learn new things about myself. Every case is unique so every time something new and different has to be planned even if the diagnosis is same. Clinical psychologists face constant challenges from clients who need their help in solving problems. Being a psychologist might be stressful at times, but the profession presents intellectual challenges that keep the job interesting. As it is a field which deals with treatment, every few years new developments take place which help one grow both as a person and as a professional. Helping others overcome their issues is very rewarding. And finally if one has his/her own private practice the work schedules can be flexible i.e., one can have a rewarding career and still have plenty of time to spend with family and friends.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

There is nothing better than seeing a human being alleviated from emotional and psychological pain. The experience of seeing a person walk away with excitement, more free, lighter and high on confidence to live their own personal journey after healing from disorder and obstacles in their path. The most rewarding part of being a counsellor is to know that you had a role to play in affecting the life of another human being. Giving hope when people are hopeless. Showing them their potential when they have no self worth, making them believe in themselves when they believe on no one etc. Altogether inspiring others to be all that they are capable of being. So that they can go act into the world. Being a psychologist one builds skills and strengths in children which they can use in their life to be a positive, productive and a fully functioning individual. It is rewarding to see them use and benefit from skills you trained them. The best part is when you see your clients doing well in their life and them reporting that you made a difference in their life. Of course a positive one.

Tips/advice for interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal Relationship are like plants – the more one cares for them, the healthier they become. The interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people such as association between couples, parent and child, friend, colleagues, between whole family etc. It may be for a short timespan or lifelong depending on the relationship. One cannot live in isolation and everyone needs someone to “share and care”. A Good interpersonal relationship helps an individual to lead a healthy and joyous life and for this one needs to be continuously aware of the effects of one’s thoughts, words, behaviour and actions on their relationships.

A few tips:
1. First and foremost, listen to understand not to react or reply.
2. Put away your phones. Give your full attention to the person in front of you.
3. Always speak in an appropriate tone (if you are right overtones won’t prove that you are)
4. Let others also speak. Allow the person you are communicating with to share their feelings and thoughts — uninterrupted. Empathize with them: put yourself in their shoes.
5. Restate the other person’s feelings back to them. Trying to restate or reflect back to the other person your interpretation of what they are telling you shows you have carefully listened and are putting effort and care into the interaction.
6. Learning to say “I was wrong” is a skill worth learning.
7. Be compassionate when your significant other is angry. Anger is often rooted in fear rather than aggression.
8. Compliment, and often. Let the genuine praise flow freely.
9. Make promises that you really can keep.
10. Acknowledge positive actions.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

1. One should always clearly mention the role of the client and the therapist in the first session itself, including the rules of therapy like coming on time, doing homework tasks, etc.
2. Take out time for yourself. Do have at least one pleasurable activity in your own schedule as well. Only work will lead to burnout.
3. Don’t be too eclectic in your approach. If integrative is needed it should be used.
4. Do not give advice to your clients. That’s what the whole world is doing to them. Help them find answers to their questions.
5. Most important, this is a field which is growing continuously. Getting a degree in Psychology does not make you a therapist; it’s just a good start. After that you have to stay updated in what is going on in your field. There are new techniques and therapies being developed – one should be updated to them and keep their training a continuous process.

Bio

Dr. Monica Sharma is a RCI (Rehabilitation council of India) Licensed Clinical Psychologist at The IIS University, Jaipur, India. Dr. Sharma was educated at the same university, and graduated in Psychology Honors, she did her Masters in Psychology. She attended Amity University Rajasthan for her professional degree (M.Phil) of 2 years under the able guidance of Prof. S. S. Nathawat before gaining her P.hd in Clinical Psychology from The IIS University. Her PHd topic focused on CBT and Mindfulness as a treatment for Depression. Her area of interest is Mindfulness. She has attended many nationional and international conferences in India and abroad. She is currently the head of the counselling center at the university. Her work includes training undergraduate and postgraduate students in clinical and counselling psychology including basic counselling skills, ethics, therapies and research supervision. Also conducts workshops for staff and students and counsels those in need. Learn more about her at www.monicasharansharma.com.

Interview with Dr. Eva Smidova

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

I remember that I loved to sit and observe people. I have images of me being 5 years old and 7, 8, or 15 years old, sitting on a bus or train or tram or anywhere and calmly observing other people, the way how they act, speak, not making any stories, just paying attention to everything about them. I was fascinated by humankind but happy to observe rather than be involved. I was a good listener as I was not tempted to help; I just listened. And on top of that I loved secrets and was never tempted to share them. My journey to become a therapist was a long one. First I was obsessed with philosophy, Far East religions and psychoanalysis. My father gave me a book “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm for my 16th or 17th birthday. I consider this book a milestone – the beginning of becoming a therapist. In this book Erich Fromm expressed and I got …that psychologists/therapists are in a state of becoming. It is a process of growing into it. Also he recommended studying law first as a good idea to get a basic knowledge about everything and also to learn how to think. So I did. I understood that being a therapist means having a variety of life experiences. I graduated from the law faculty and went into an international business so I learned a lot about different cultures and behavioral expressions. I hung out there for 8 years and after that I got involved in a divorce of my friend and was challenged by being a stepmother. At that time, I felt decently experienced in the “art of life” and submitted my application to become a therapist. I excelled and was hungry to do and try anything – clinical psychology in hospitals, work with schizophrenics, relationships, school psychology, etc. I tried it all, love it all, I was fascinated and passionate.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding moments for me are moments when me and my clients are attuned, when we surf on the same wave.

What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?

Probably experience with different cultures, work with systems, focus on process, goal and solution search.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

I often say that as a therapist I am a tool in clients’ hands – educated, experienced, fast-thinking, genuine, straightforward and honest and ask them to use me to learn, make a change, figure it out. Being forced to therapy does not work. We need clients who really want, are motivated to change or understand their life.

Bio

Eva Smidova, M.A., PhDr., LMFT is a warm, friendly, open-minded and mindful professional, dedicated to providing the highest quality psychotherapy with respect, passion, and mindfulness, tailored to my clients. Learn more about her at www.psychotherapyswflorida.com.

Interview with Vinodha Joly, LMFT

How and/or why did you become a therapist?

This is my second career. My original career path was in Computer Engineering. I worked in Silicon Valley high-tech companies for over a decade, but I felt unfulfilled, as my heart was not in technology. Being empathic, I was drawn to psychology and wanted to make a direct positive impact in others’ lives. I was also fascinated by the workings of our minds and how we create our inner worlds. Finally in 2009, in my mid-thirties, I quit my Engineering career and went back to school full-time to become a psychotherapist.

What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?

The most rewarding aspect of being a therapist is in being able to be my authentic empathic self and to be a witness to the immense healing and personal growth that happens in therapy.

What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?

I work only with individuals and do not provide any couples’ counseling at this time. I believe a person’s relationship to self is key in determining their relationships to others. As a person develops their capacity to relate to their own self with authenticity and compassion in individual therapy, they increase their capacity for authentic relationships and connections with others.

What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?

There is a common misconception that “there is something wrong with you” or “You are mentally unstable” if you seek therapy. Therapy is beneficial for anyone who is feeling “stuck” or overwhelmed – it decreases isolation and increases self-awareness. There are so many different models of psychotherapy and counseling, from short-term solution focused models to depth-oriented healing of childhood emotional wounds. It is important to find the right therapist for you and your needs. Therapy need not be a luxury for the financially privileged alone. Low-income individuals and families can find affordable therapy via openpathcollective.org that finds and matches therapists willing to provide therapy at $30 to $50 per session.

What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?

Research shows that it is the quality of the therapeutic relationship that is the biggest factor in determining positive outcomes in therapy. As in any relationship, there might be times when the relationship between the therapist and client is strained or even ruptured, either by something directly said or done by the therapist or how it was perceived or experienced by the client. It is the therapist’s responsibility to take full ownership of their mistake, and to validate the experience of the client, in order to repair the relationship. Sometimes, clients do not give the therapist a chance to make amends or repair by not returning to therapy, or not letting the therapist know of how they feel. I would recommend that clients bring the difficult matter up to the therapists before deciding to terminate therapy. When a therapist navigates and repairs a rupture skillfully, it provides a corrective emotional experience to the client, and results in a stronger therapeutic relationship.

Bio

Vinodha Joly, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Pleasanton, CA. She specializes in working with adult individuals seeking personal growth and healing from childhood emotional wounds, including childhood emotional neglect as well as Domestic Violence and PTSD/trauma. Her website www.vinodhatherapy.com is a winner of “Top 100 Psychotherapy Blog” award.