I'm setting up shop! It's starting to feel like this office is my real space now. A lot of this comfort in my new space has to do with showcasing resources for my clients on, what I'll call a Resource Board, in the waiting room of my office suite.
While I am still picking a great wall color and mentally picking out the best furniture for my space, I am beginning to make a work home for myself here in Poway, California.
In case we have yet to meet in person, I wanted to share with you that I love providing resources. I enjoy connecting colleagues to each other and sharing what I hope with be a great group or a helpful resource to a client and/or their loved ones. Thus, I am VERY EXCITED to add a resource board to my office suite. This board will showcase resources for clients, their loved ones, and colleagues about LGBTQIQA - affirming organizations, groups, and programs locally, in North County, and beyond, in the wider San Diego area and in the USA.
Here's a picture of the newly placed Resource Board in-between the LGBTQIQA - safe zone poster and the notice of clients' rights in working with a psychologist.
The next image shows a closeup of some of the resources I have showcased.
In order to use these resources, I ask that you take a picture of the resource with your phone or camera unless there are two copies of the flyer available. Then, please do not hesitate to take a flyer. Or, please feel free to ask me for a copy of the flyer and, if possible, I will be glad to make you one and give it to you on the spot or email it to you. Please do also let me know if you have area resources you would like to share that are LGBTQIQA - affirming. I'm happy to add in some fabulous community resources after I learn more about them.
I'm the type of psychologist who finds it extremely valuable connecting people with their community(ies). I find that communities can be a wealth of knowledge and support.
One reason I like to share resources is because of several wonderful experiences I had in graduate school at my University's narrative clinic. The University's narrative clinic is set up differently than how my office and many other therapists' offices are organized. At this clinic, run by Dr. Mary Herget, therapists and clients sat together in a room with a one-way mirror. From the client's perspective while they were inside the room, they saw a mirror or possibly a shadowy window, depending on the angle. Behind the mirror, however, was a team of clinicians and their peer and/or licensed supervisor who saw them through the "mirror" and listened (through headphones) to the session between the therapist and the client.
Then, the truly amazing part of this work started to happen.
The clinical team switched places with the therapist and client! The client and therapist sat behind the mirror (so to speak) in an adjoining room, put on headphones, and settled in to listen to the clinical team. The team was not there to lecture the client. No, the team was there to RELATE to the client. The clinical team shared how the clients' words impacted them and they shared what parts of the client's ideas and experiences they were truly curious about. The team shared how it felt to witness the client. When the clinical team saw their own lives in the stories of the client, these clinicians spoke with each other of their experiences.
They spoke as one human to another
as they shared how they related to the client's experiences.
Then, the clinical team and the client and therapist switched rooms for a final time for the session. The clinical team put back on their headsets. The client then sat with their therapist and shared what it was like for them to be a part of this process and reflected back on the clinical team's words and questions. This too was a powerful experience.
Although, I have experienced many roles at the clinic: as peer supervisor, as teaching assistant, as therapist, and as clinic team member, one of the aspects that has stood out for me as WONDERFULLY HEALING was watching the client
feel deeply heard
I remember vividly is watching as clients emoted as they witnessed the clinical team's empathy for the client and their experiences. I remember tears and sniffles and nods in response to clinical team members' comments. The client appeared to feel understood by a group of people who were, quickly transformed from strangers at the grocery store to warm and close connections.
It was remarkable.
- - -
After the client would leave the room at the end of the session, the clinical team and the therapist would gather together and discuss the session facilitated by the peer supervisor. We'd talk about the hows and whys of learning how to be a therapist: how and why interventions were used and how one's theory would explain this intervention or that moment during the session or in the client's life.
At almost every after-session meeting, emotions would drip into the room, splattering their way onto the matter-of-fact dialogue. As it turned out, the clinicians also felt connected to the client, similar to how the client had felt with the clinical team.
Together, we co-created a supportive community for the client.
Together, we collaborated on how the client could begin to heal and, an unintended consequence was that we clinicians, each appeared to feel a little more connected to the other members of the clinical team, to the client, and to humanity, in general.
I want to bring that kind of supportive community into the lives of my clients who come to me for therapy. I do this through my own presence as their individual therapist who sees the client as an expert on him/her/their self. I also do this when I help my clients find communities who will lend them support. While I don't (yet?!) have a one way mirror set up in my office space, I do want to encourage clients to look for supportive and nurturing and healing communities of their very own.
When I offer a referral, I do my best to make sure that it has been to a place or a person with whom I've spent some time. And, if I don't know them very well, but I'm fairly sure that they would be a good match, I share the reasons why I want to connect the client to the resource, and what my reservations are.
I want you to know that I take these potential matches seriously. I encourage clients to let me know how these referrals worked out or didn't.
After all, I strongly believe that clients are the experts of their own lives. I truly want to encourage and support them in listening to their "gut" or intuition to learn who or what organization is the best fit for them.
For more information about narrative therapy and the proper narrative phrasing I purposely did not use in this post, please visit this web site and read excerpts from the book, What is narrative therapy?. It's a quick read and it is well worth the time to better know this kind of therapy and the theory behind it.
For more information about my practice, to add a resource to my new resource board, or to learn more how narrative theory impacts my clinical work, please give me a call at (619) 403-5578 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Dr. Abi Weissman
As always, this post does not indicate any therapeutic relationship between you and Dr. Weissman. If you are local to San Diego, California and would like to work with Dr. Weissman, please contact her at (619) 403-5578 or send her an email at email@example.com. If you live outside of San Diego, California, feel free to contact Dr. Weissman and she will be glad to try and connect you with resources closer to where you make home.