“Truth be told, the best time to go to therapy is when there isn’t a problem. Mental health is like physical health in that way: it’s a lot easier to be preventative than to fix things after a problem occurs.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
In college, while studying Sociology and Anthropology, I became very interested in how macro systems can affect us on a micro level. After graduating, I explored a few different fields, but they all played on that interest – whether that meant helping a non-profit with public art projects, or working at a social media PR firm. I have always loved talking to people and was passionate about social justice so pursuing a Master’s in Social Work integrated all of my interests. In my private practice I provide individual and family therapy where the ‘system’ is the family, and recently started focusing on couples.
When you’re meeting with a couple, who exactly is the client?
The relationship is the client. Instead of two separate individuals, I’m looking at the relationship they’ve built together, and I’m working with that as an entity in and of itself. We then spend our time figuring out how two people can nourish and grow the relationship, and how they can meet each other’s needs. It’s important for both to feel heard, and to feel like they can fight well. It’s also important to slow down – when people feel a rush of emotion, it’s hard to make enough space for a productive conversation. And sometimes just making space is what helps resolve an issue.
When do you think couples should seek out therapy together?
Truth be told, the best time to go to therapy is when there isn’t a problem. Mental health is like physical health in that way: it’s a lot easier to be preventative than to fix things after a problem arises. When everything is going well, couples – just like individuals – think there’s no need for therapy. But when things go awry they end up blaming the relationship or, often times, each other.
What does a first session with you look like?
It certainly depends on the individual (or couple), but I’ll always start by asking questions. Why is the person (or couple) coming in to seek help? Have they been to therapy in the past? What did they like or not like about that experience? I want them to know that if I say anything that doesn’t jive with them, that they should feel open to giving me direct feedback. Everyone’s process is different, so I make sure to set realistic expectations – therapy can help them, and I make sure they know that we’re going to work through these things together.
“The relationship is the client. Instead of two separate individuals, I’m looking at the relationship they’ve built together, and I’m working with that as an entity in and of itself.”
Interested in speaking with Kate?