Therapy For Therapists
As therapists, most of us are not required by state composite boards to receive psychotherapy in order to become licensed therapists. Unless you are in an analyst or in a specialty training program requiring some form of therapy, you may have never even been a client in therapy
However, at almost any workshop or professional meeting you attend, you have likely heard some version of this: “In order to be a good therapist, you must do your own work.” What does that mean exactly? And how do therapists enter their own psychotherapy safely, given the small size of the field and community and the need to explore personal issues and professional struggles?
In order to be a good therapist,
you must do your own work.
At the most basic level, being a therapist in therapy lets you experience what it’s like to be a client. Everything from finding a therapist, scheduling a session, sitting in the waiting room, and talking with someone about the personal details of your life are experiences our clients have, and it’s helpful for us to know what this is like. It increases our empathy for the client’s experience—including vulnerability, schedule disruptions, and transference.
Importantly, if you practice any type of psychodynamic psychotherapy, transference and counter-transference are powerful and real components of therapy. In these instances, our own insight into ourselves, our personal issues, and self-knowledge in general are essential tools in helping sort out what is ours, what belongs to the client, and what is being co-created in the relationship. As I tell my students regularly, “You are your best tool.”
Also, therapists are people, too, who have life issues involving addiction, affairs, family issues, stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as thoughts and feelings about the work we do. As Freud said, “Love and work, work and love, that’s all there is.”
We need a trusting, safe, compassionate and non-judgemental place to explore these issues with someone who understands challenges of the profession, the need for non-judgement, and the importance of having done his/her own work.
Mindfulness + Meditation + Yoga
Neuroscience is now validating what meditators and yogis have known for centuries. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga are powerful tools to use in mental health and clinical settings to help clients learn to regulate their moods.
As a therapist or mental health professional, you may be interested in learning to use the evidence based practices of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga practices in your clinical setting and interactions with clients.
I am a Certified LifeForce Yoga Practitioner with a specialization in Trauma, trained in Mindfully Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), as well as having studied + takent in depth workshops with Amy Weintraub, Pema Chodron, Dan Seigel, Jack Kornfield, and other teachers and experts in our field.
Through our consultation, mentoring and our work together, we can explore how mindfulness, meditation and yoga can be helpful in your work with clients.
We will outline recent findings in neuroscience and tie them to attachment and interpersonal theories in order to support the use of these transformative mind / body / spirit approaches to therapy. With an integration of teaching and experiential exercises, utilizing the wisdom traditions of LifeForce Yoga teachings, Buddhist psychology, and yogic philosophy integrated with western neuroscience to ground the practices, you will learn how, when and why to use these mind / body / heart approaches in your clinical setting.
This learning will include:
- Evidence-based, easy-to-introduce strategies for managing anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma.
- Helpful clinical insights and case examples
- Outlining how to emphasize safety, trust, and skillful adaptation to the individual, making it easy to apply the wisdom of yoga effectively in the therapeutic context.
- Teachings on the neuroscience, attachment theories, interpersonal psychology and Buddhist psychology to ground the practices and create a container for healing
- Various meditations from both the yoga and Buddhist traditions
- Lifeforce Yoga teachings (yoga for mood management)
- Restorative and yin yoga poses
- The therapeutic use of sound
"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is a way in which we practice seeing and being in the world at any time, anywhere. We can explore how to use mindfulness in your every day life, as well as deepening compassionate presence for yourself and others.
This is considered a more formal practice. It is the practice of moving your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.
There are many forms of meditation that can be helpful to cultivate in your own daily practice as a means to calm your psyche and ground your being. The style of meditation that I offer is mindfulness-based meditation which involves sitting on the meditation cushion while combining practices of breath work, visualization, awareness and presence. You may find meditation to be a useful tool in your personal life or as method in your psychotherapy practice to help lower anxiety, blood pressure, and cultivate clarity in thought.
Yoga includes breathwork to regulate mood (pranyana), use of hands for regulation (mudra), sound, intention setting, and basic body postures to use in the office.
You will learn to apply these techniques to empower clients to self regulate, and increase feelings of self efficacy and control.
You do not need to use a mat or be a registered yoga teacher to use these practices in the clinical setting.
All of these can be done in the chair or from the couch.
Supervision + Consultation
I have offered clinical consultation and supervision to mental health professionals for over 10 years.
Consultation and supervision help clinicians explore components of psychotherapy, as well as case presentation, ethics of therapist self-care, professional identify, marketing, and practice growth.
My theoretical influences and supervision focus include attachment, relational and interpersonal neurobiology, mindfulness, transference/counter-transference, and therapist use of self. Ethics of therapist self-care, professional identity, marketing, and practice growth are also important components of supervision.
This generally involves one or a few meetings to review specific questions or case material with someone considered an expert in the field with specialized knowledge. We would decide together prior to scheduling a consultation if I meet expert criteria in the particular area.
Supervision Towards Licensure
Mental health professionals seeking licensure must obtain a certain amount of supervision. I am licensed to provide social work hours for those seeking their LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). I am also eligible to provide supervision for other disciplines outside of required direct license hours. I am on the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work list of Low-Cost Supervisors. I have a limited number of low-cost supervision slots available in my practice. You are welcome to contact me for details.
Ongoing Clinical Supervision Post-Licensure
Just as we always hear that therapists must do their own work, we also frequently hear that ongoing, post-licensure clinical supervision is important and helpful in the development and growth of the therapist. The focus of ongoing clinical supervision includes, but is not limited to: case presentation, transference and counter-transference, working with setting boundaries and theoretical framework, vicarious traumatization, ethics of self-care, professional identify, and growing and marketing a practice.