Q&A With Kristen!

For my first blog post, I’d like to introduce myself and give you the chance to get to know me a little bit!  This is an opportunity for you to get to know me as a counselor as well as a person.  To assist with the flow, I’ll answer some questions in an interview format!

What made you want to become a counselor?

I like to help people.  Even though I was doing this at my former job, processing paperwork in front of a computer screen wasn’t how I wanted to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  I desired to see the people I was helping.

A friend had mentioned that I should look into getting a Master’s degree.  I initially set it aside, because why I did not see the need to spend time and money going to graduate school.  However, out of curiosity, I looked at Liberty University’s online graduate programs to see what was available (as I did not desire to quit my job while attending school, if possible!).

The program that stuck out to me was the Marriage and Family Therapy degree.  In today’s society, many marriages end in divorce.  I am blessed to have been raised by parents that are still happily married after 40 years!  I realized that I wanted to work with couples on achieving the kind of relationship my parents have – not perfect, but committed and healthy.

My interests have since expanded to include a variety of clients, and not just couples.  However, my initial desire to serve others is still what drives me each time I meet with a client.  No matter the issue or person, I want to help!

Why should I see you, a resident in counseling, instead of an experienced, licensed professional?

At the time of writing this, I only recently started my residency program and have a year of practicum/internship experience.  I may not have a lot of experience, but that does not make me any less qualified to serve as your therapist.  I graduated with my Master’s degree, which included a variety of required classes to include ethics and treatment planning.  I would not be competent to be a therapist without this education.

The benefits of seeing a resident in counseling is that I am required to meet with my supervisor, a licensed professional counselor, on a regular basis (once per week with a full caseload).  Although you would only be meeting with me in session, it’s almost as if you get two counselors for the price of one!  My supervisor is there for me to make sure I provide you the best care.

I’m nervous about therapy.  What should I expect?

It’s not like in the movies where you lay down on a couch!  In our first meeting, I generally go through a list of questions to get to know you, your background, and why you’re seeking therapy.  From the second session on is when we dig deeper and see what works best to support you with whatever is going on.

I strive to provide a safe environment as we work on your goals.  For some people, it takes longer to get comfortable – and that’s okay!  I don’t expect you to share your biggest secrets on day 1, unless you’re ready to.  I’ll work with your pace, as long as we are headed in a forward direction.

Therapy doesn’t have to be scary.  It can take work, and isn’t always easy, but remember that my job is to help you!  I may challenge you at times, but it’s because I care about you, and I try to do so in an encouraging way.  I’m on your side!

Any final thoughts?

Mental health is a very important topic.  I believe it still has somewhat of a stigma, but it shouldn’t have a stigma!  We go to the doctor when we have a physical ailment.  What’s different about seeking assistance for a mental condition?

And therapy is not just for more long-term issues like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.  If you’re dealing with stress at your job, feeling overwhelmed as a parent, or going through self-esteem issues, therapy may be of benefit!  Therapy is not always a process that takes years.  It can be a short-term solution to a short-term problem!

I’d like to end by saying thank you for reading, and if you have any topic suggestions for future blog posts, please comment below!