“Therapy should be a place where people can feel comfortable expressing themselves and exploring their experiences. I take a strengths based approach to meet clients where they are in the moment and help empower them to find solutions.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
During my undergraduate degree, I volunteered for a rape crisis program. I found a deep connection helping trauma survivors begin the healing process. Post college I considered going to law school and began working with children and families in the criminal justice system. I was in awe of the resiliency of my clients, they were exposed to very tragic and challenging situations but still managed to find purpose and strength. I realized I wanted to continue providing direct support to those in need rather than focus on the legal aspect of the work, which was what inspired me to get my Masters in Social Work. Since graduating in 2012, I have worked in a variety of clinical settings which have provided me the opportunity to grow my clinical skills and add to the collaborative and humanistic approach I take in this work.
How has working with those exposed to trauma informed your practice?
I find that my experience working with survivors of trauma has helped me develop a calm, deliberate, and empathic approach to my work. I presently work with clients experiencing many different types of stressors, not just trauma. Whether it’s managing the loss of a loved one or frustrations in one’s job, I take a strengths based approach to meet clients where they are in the moment and help empower them to find solutions.
What is your approach to therapy?
It is important for me to really get to know my clients. I want to know your priorities, goals, and what brings you to therapy. I am direct and transparent, but also utilize humor and warmth to create a safe space. Therapy should be a place where people can feel comfortable expressing themselves and exploring their experiences. I am integrative in my clinical approach and utilize multiple therapeutic modalities, including mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, acceptance based techniques, and family systems therapy.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
While I still see couples and families individually, over the last couple of years I have been partnering with colleagues to offer co-therapy as an option for interested couples and families. While the idea of having two therapists in a session can seem intimidating, many couples find the experience to be a supportive, challenging, and dynamic approach to therapy. Many couples struggle with finding one therapist that understands the different perspective each side brings to the room. Having duel therapists offers the opportunity to experience a wider range of ideas and insight for the couple to meet their goals. Expanding the perspectives and skill in a therapy session also offers the opportunity for each party to feel understood and represented.
What’s your perspective on mental health and the barriers to seeking care today?
Often times, individuals and couples feel that they have to wait until there is a critical event to seek out therapy. This leads many people to wait until their marriage is in crisis or their job is jeopardy to seek out help. However, I believe that therapy should be part of one’s self-care routine so that when challenges arise you have the tools you need to get through them.
Additionally, it is daunting to know how to find a clinician you connect with, create time for therapy, and commit the emotional energy to the process. My goal is to make therapy accessible, collaborative, and meaningful for all of my clients. I invite conversation around these barriers into the therapy room to see how we can create a supportive experience that fits each client's individual needs.
“It is daunting to know how to find a clinician you connect with, create time for therapy, and commit the emotional energy to the process. My goal is to make therapy accessible, collaborative, and meaningful for all of my clients.”
Jacqueline practices at Alma