Therapy with Olivia
From your perspective, what is therapy?
To me, therapy is a safe space to process difficult emotions and ingrained narratives. I think therapy works best when it is a collaborative process of exploration and reflection. In therapy, the client should feel free to explore feelings and ideas free from judgement or societal constraints. As a therapist, I think of my job as being akin to a guide, who helps lead a client down the path of discovery, creating a feeling of safety and being held, which ultimately can lead to self acceptance and self actualization.
Are there any philosophies or values that inform your work that I should know about?
My work is informed by modern notions of talk therapy more so than traditional psychoanalysis. A lot of my own values that I bring forth into my work are informed by postmodern philosophers such as Derrida, and the concept of deconstruction as a launching point for rebuilding.
3. How much do you share about yourself during our time together and why?
I use disclosure sparingly and only when I think it will benefit the client; this is your time. That being said, when a client has a specific question about me I will help them explore what that question means to them and do my best to reassure them or answer them in a way that they feel is satisfactory.
4. How participatory are you during sessions?
Depending on the needs of the client I am either very participatory, to the point where the session looks like a conversation, or I can be very observant without interjecting too much. I think it really depends on what the client is bringing to the session and what they seem to need or want in the day. My approach to therapy is very collaborative and I do not think that one approach is better than any others, it is all very dependent on the dynamic within the room and what is called for within the session.
5. Do you assign homework, activities, or readings for me to do between sessions? Why or why not?
I often make suggestions for things for my clients to do throughout the week that I think would be helpful to them. The “work” is never mandatory and I can provide more or less suggestions based on the feedback I am receiving. There are always opportunities for growth between sessions and I think it is important to give my clients tangible tools that they can use to cope with difficult emotions in between sessions.
6. Where did you work before going into private practice?
Prior to entering private practice, I spent a few years working in an outpatient substance abuse clinic. I also did some work as a birth and postpartum doula.
7. Have you received any particular training beyond your post-Bachelor’s training?
I have specialized training in Substance Abuse. I also have specialized training in Perinatal Mental Health.
8. What led you to become a mental healthcare practitioner?
I was drawn to therapy due to my curiosity about people and my love of storytelling. I became aware of therapy as a profession while studying Carl Jung in undergrad. I took an interest in unconscious processes. I specifically was interested in the theory that individualization and self-actualization is born out of destruction and chaos. That theoretical perspective has informed my work and my interests in working with people who are going through major life changes and trying to help them build something beautiful and fulfilling out of something painful. It informs my practice working with those in recovery for substance use, in allowing them to honor where they are coming from and the way their tools were once helpful to them, while being able to shed those old beliefs and coping mechanisms that no longer serve them.
9. What is the best part of the work for you?
The best part of the work for me is seeing people achieve things that they did not think were possible. Watching someone grow and gain confidence and understanding will never cease to be an honor and a privilege.
10. How do you approach diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than you?
All of my clients, no matter their backgrounds, are the experts of their own story. I try to never make assumptions, and always stay curious and ask clarifying questions when necessary.
11. How can you tell if I am benefiting from working with you?
Typically you will be able to tell if you are benefiting from the work we are doing in subtle ways, when upon reflection you begin to experience a shift in the way you are relating to the world around you and you feel like an active participant in your life in a new way. I think initially just feeling a sense of relief upon leaving sessions or excitement about getting started is a good way to tell if it is the right fit.
12. How long should I commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?
There is no prescribed time for therapy, it really depends on your personal goals. However long feels right to you.
13. How should I prepare for my first session with you?
All you need to bring is yourself and an openness to begin the process.