Therapy with Flora
Please share 2-3 anonymized examples of how the work can play out and/or look in the room so that I can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.
-A new mom talks about feeling overwhelmed, irritable, and alone while home with her newborn. I work with the mom on being able to identify and label the feelings. I teach her mindfulness skills to help bring her awareness into the here-and-now moment, which helps decrease the anxiety. We work on building confidence as a new mom by making a plan to take small steps for change. The plan helps tackle some of the logistics so that she does not feel so overwhelmed and is no longer alone in this process.
-A woman who is pregnant for the first time spoke about being disconnected from the pregnancy, her body, and the baby. She had strong ambivalence about the pregnancy. I allow the space for her to explore this ambivalence and express thoughts that may feel scary so that we can come to a place of acceptance instead of feeling shame and guilt.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
I think about the family as a whole unit. In our society there is a lot of focus on the baby and I like to ask: what is best for this family as a whole, mother and baby together? Often the mother is the last one to be taken care of. I teach moms to ask for help when they need it and to not forget themselves in the process of becoming a mom.
How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I am a mother of 2 children and I do not hide this from my clients. But this is your experience and your therapy and I only bring myself in to the room if it is going to help move the treatment forward or help explain a technique in some way. There are more than enough people out there giving advice to new moms about what to do and what not to do as a parent. This is not my role, it is to help you find what is best for you and your family.
How participatory are you during sessions?
I am pretty active in session. I will often revisit what we discussed the week before to follow up on what we had been working on. If a specific coping strategy is not working we will talk it through and come up with something different to try.
Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I may give you something to practice for the week to help with learning and applying new skills. I want to figure out what is going to help. Some of the work is done in the room but I also ask for you to work on things in between sessions to help relieve symptoms of distress as quickly as we can.
How will our relationship be different than relationships I have with friends/loved ones?
A friend is helpful to vent about your day or week but therapy is more about learning something new. I give time to process through feelings but also bring it back to: what can we do differently now or what skills can we apply to this situation?
Is there ever a time when you would encourage me to leave or graduate? Or how do I know when it’s time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?
We will be reassessing your goals and progress along the way. When we feel you have gotten to a place where you feel comfortable, where you are using the tools and coping strategies, and experiencing a decrease in distress, I may suggest starting to wean off of therapy by coming less often or taking a break all together.
Where did you work before going into private practice?
I worked at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health as a therapist. Prior to that I did family therapy with teenagers and substance abuse counseling.
Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have been trained in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Functional Family Therapy.
I have done PPD training from The Postpartum Stress Center, Perinatal Loss and Grief training from Seleni Institute, and Maternal Mental Health training from Postpartum Support International.
What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I saw as a parent myself that new moms and dads who were struggling were not getting the help they needed. It is not easy getting out of the house with a baby, which is why I started offering home visits to make treatment more accessible. I feel that often the mother is being forgotten when she is the one that needs to be supported through this enormous transition.
What is the best part of the work for you?
I love seeing the change that can happen and being part of the process of becoming parents and learning how to manage all of the change that comes with this new identity.
What is unique about the work you do, or how have you found your work to be different than your colleagues’?
Because I offer in-home sessions I have found that change can often happen much faster. I can assess a problem in a more holistic way.
How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
I work with all kinds of moms and dads from different backgrounds and families. I listen to their story without making assumptions and understand the role these differences play in how we live our lives and how we parent our children.
How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
You will start to feel better. You will experience a decrease in symptoms and know how to handle symptoms when they start to come on. You will feel like yourself again.
How can you tell if I am feeling stuck, unseen, or unheard?
If I am not seeing any change from week to week. I would address this in session and problem solve together what we think might be the issue.
How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
After the first session consultation, I will often ask clients to make a verbal commitment to 6 sessions and then we can assess where you are with your goals. Sometimes 6 sessions is enough. At this point, you may take a break or want to meet less often. Sometimes this is a point to evaluate our goals and refocus on any new issues that have come up.
How should I prepare for my first session with you?
It may be helpful to think about why you are reaching out for help now. This can often be a good place to start.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Sometimes clients like to take notes since I may give you something to focus on for the first week but it is not necessary.
Do I need to be mindful of anything in particular while commuting to your office?