You might be curious as to how I came to be a psychotherapist. In many ways, I became a therapist in self-defense to survive and flourish in my family. If you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, you may get answers such as firefighter, vet, or teacher, but no child will respond that they want to work in mental health.
I became aware at an early age that my parents were not taking care of my siblings and me because they were not making decisions to keep us emotionally and physically safe.
I do not blame my parents, nor am I angry with them. All parents do their best they know how to during parenting. Nobody can fix something that they do not realize is broken.
Looking back, deciding to become a psychotherapist was an obvious choice. Not feeling safe made me tune into every expression, mood, and tone of voice displayed by my family and other adults. In one sense, I was learning to be a good "psychotherapist" in self-defense.
Regular does not equal being emotionally healthy.
When someone we know has a baby, we generally say 'Congratulations!' However, if someone says to you, "Congratulations, you are normal!" I would tell you, 'Not so fast'; being normal is not the same as saying, "Congratulations, you are emotionally healthy." Unfortunately, nowhere are we taught how to become emotionally healthy.
An expert is often defined as somebody who knows more and more about less and less. In 40-plus years of mental health, I continue to add tools to help all my clients heal their pain while being in a respectful partnership.
In seeking a therapist, you want to find someone who ensures you are the most critical person in the room. If you are reading this, I respect you for looking for the right person to work with you to address intimate parts of your life and seek to get past a situation you want to change. I will listen to your hopes, fears, and pain and work with you as a partner.
I may pull ideas from CBT, imago relationship, positive parenting, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, role play, solution-focused, and many others, depending on what circumstance you want to focus on and address.
When we conclude our work, you should leave in a better place with more tools readily available to address life events as they occur, but my door is always open if you want to meet again.
Ellen Reese, MSW, LCSW, BCD, NASW Diplomate