The therapeutic relationship is a very important part of making the experience of seeing a therapist a comfortable and safe journey for the client. I feel that for you, the client, to know who I am as a person is a good starting point.
The very first thing I want every client to know is that I encourage a safe environment for all my clients. I try to take any steps possible to ensure that every client feels safe, welcome, and comfortable. Then, we can chat and start the healing process as soon as possible.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that as an intersectional and feminist therapist, I want to see, hear, and engage with all of your intersectional parts. In order to do that, I feel that I should reveal my intersectional parts to you so that we can begin the therapeutic relationship right away. I can sum up how I identify myself to others in one sentence, I think. Let's try this...
I am an American (Irish/Scottish decent) white middle-aged cisgender asexual neurodivergent spiritual atheist vegan single mother of one child. My pronouns are she/her/hers. Whew! That is a mouthful!
Let's unpack that statement, shall we?
First up, being white. Why does this matter? I believe it matters deeply. Should this matter to you, the client? Well, it could matter and that is the most important part. I believe clients should know who they are meeting before they set an appointment. I like to engage and identify with the Irish/Scottish part of my heritage. It is my hope one day to visit the land in from which my ancestors began.
Second, middle-aged. What? Why is this a thing to mention? Aging is a very big part of my academic and research interests. I feel it is important to include here. It can also matter to clients if they might be looking for someone nearer to their age that they might relate to more closely. I am open to seeing clients ages 25 and up. However, I acknowledge and recognize that an age gap may be an important aspect to choosing a therapist.
Third, cisgender identity. What does cisgender mean? Cisgender means that I identify with the sexual organs that I was assigned at birth. I am a cisgender woman.
Fourth, neurodivergent. Truthfully, through a series of personal growth activities these past couple of years, I realized that I am be autistic (and just recently have an inkling that I might be ADHD as well - need to do more personal growth to tease that apart from my other neurodivergent parts). I plan to get formally tested in the next year but until then, I am comfortable with identifying as neurodivergent. What does this mean for the therapeutic relationship? If you identify under the neurodivergent umbrella, maybe as ADHD or autistic or OCD etc, it means that I have a secret way of being able to translate neurotypical behaviors and help you understand what masking might look like in your day to day.
Fifth, asexual. What might asexual mean? Well, this is an umbrella term for those persons who may not feel sexual attraction, may have sex-aversion, or sex may not be an important part of how they relate to others. For me, I identify as aromantic asexual because I have zero interest in how sex may be a part of a relationship. Sex is not important to me personally. I came out just a few years ago. So, I am new to the asexual identity. Everyday brings a little more detail into view about what being asexual means to me. However, I would like you, the client, to know that I hold a sex-positive attitude for others. I acknowledge and realize that how I view sex through my identity does not reflect how others view the importance of sex in their lives. Therefore, I have a sex-positive viewpoint towards the therapeutic process.
Sixth, spiritual atheist. Really? This is a thing? Yep! It is. A spiritual atheist believes that there are energies, spirits, souls, unseen details amongst us humans that just cannot be explained by evidence but also does not believe in any god as an omnipotent being. This, in no way, interferes with my love of those persons in my life who have a religious belief as part of their lives. We all experience and interact with this planet and the living beings who inhabit it differently. Everyone has their own individual belief structure. I would love to learn about how your beliefs are a part of your life.
Seventh, vegan. Many people have likely heard of veganism since the explosion of the movement of veganism came to a historic high a few years back. I have been vegan for over eight years now. Being vegan means that the person does not consume products or byproducts from a sentient being (meaning animals). Each person who chooses to be vegan has their own way about how they practice veganism. If you are not vegan, it is ok! It is a very hard lifestyle to incorporate into ones life. Many people live in food deserts or do not have any choice in the food they have access to. I recognize these struggles and do not interject my own views when learning how others feed themselves.
Eighth, motherhood. I have raised a beautiful, independent young woman over the last twenty-plus years. I was a single mom for the majority of that time with chosen family members as a support system. The struggles and adventure of this part of my life continues to influence all aspects of who I am.
I would like to also share some of my preferred self-care activities. In my off-time, I love to pet and play with my three dogs - twin Beagles and a lovely huggable Pittie, all in their older years. I like to listen to instrumental music, complete a yoga sequence, color, any type of crafting or art (right now it is crocheting and puzzles!), going to a live theater performance, gardening, antique browsing, cooking/creating recipes, reading, volunteering, binge watching British tv, watching and discussing Star Trek and playing Animal Crossing. These are not all my self-care indulgences but it gives you an idea of my creative, empathic, fun self.
In addition to my counseling degree, I had a previous career in the art industry and have a degree in art. In some sessions, art-related or creative interventions may be included in the therapy process. I believe art can be a wonderful way to communicate and express feelings and therefore include it where applicable.
With all of that said, you might be asking yourself, am I a good fit for someone who is so eclectic? Sure!
If you connect with me on any of these topics, great! If any of them seem like the subject might get in the way, let's talk about it. We might connect on a totally different subject that was not mentioned here. I am open to helping anyone getting on the road to a healthful and healing mental health journey.