As I'm writing this, we have just come out of another Mother's Day and I am thinking ahead to the next few holidays and what my family will be doing. Holidays, and family get-togethers in general, can really cause a lot of anxiety in me and in many of the folks I talk to (in and out of the therapy room). There is just so much pressure - so many shoulds, have tos, musts, and can'ts. When it comes to these rules, as I call them, who is in charge?
Whitney Storey Blog
Working with Me
Folks who know me are well aware (and dare I say, tickled) at the way I am able to walk a very fine line between being rigidly rule-governed and, at the same time, aggressively rebellious. I think this is one reason that I find myself being drawn to and working so well with clients who appreciate structure and also the beauty of going against social norms.
I have a long history of being involved in the arts and finding benefits from making art by myself and with others. While I had folks who encouraged me in my practice, I also found that many people (mostly my peers) didn't understand my love of art. The stigma I felt about my artistic self lead to feelings of shame. My best friend in undergrad even told me one time, as we were discussing dating, "maybe you shouldn't tell them you're a theatre major" - as if distancing myself from the arts were possible, let alone preferable! Art fills me with life.
The COVID-19 pandemic really turned the mental health world on its head. Not only have rates of mental health issues increased, but therapy completely revamped itself to accommodate for the risks involved in contact between clinician and client. Now that the world is settling a bit, we have had some time to reflect back on the last two years and to explore the research about teletherapy.
If you have spent any time on TikTok lately, odds are you have come across some videos where folks (with a healthy helping of good humor) discuss the specific behaviors that have led them to discover, usually later in life, that they might actually be neurodiverse.
Since I am a mother and one of my specialties is parenting, I have parents reach out to me and ask if I can counsel their children, and they are usually pretty surprised when I say no. How can I be an expert in parenting and say that I love helping families when I won't work with children? The answer to this question is actually pretty simple.
When I talk to clients about their struggles, I notice a very familiar pattern that I find myself in: what causes the struggle becomes the focus of our life and we become fused with it. We believe we must get rid of these thoughts (or feelings, memories, urges, etc.) so that we can live a life we dream of living.
If you were to randomly choose a therapist, you would likely end up with someone who uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been the dominant type of therapy since the 1960s. The general premise of traditional CBT is that our thoughts influence our emotions, which then go on to influence our behavior. So, the idea is that if we can improve our thinking, our emotions and behavior will therefore improve.
I have always felt…out of place. Even as a small child and regardless of where I have been, I notice the things about me that stand out. It’s this innate feeling of disconnection that has motivated my curiosity. I am so curious about the world around me. If I can figure everything out - other people, myself, the environment - then I will find a place where I belong.