Phew - this blog is one that has me sweating as I write it and especially as I imagine putting it out into the world for other people to discover and read. So, let me give you some context for where this blog came from; after all, money is one of those topics that we are not supposed to talk about. Having been in practice for several years now, I'm seeing the same two seemingly conflicting themes showing up with the communities I'm a part of: first, mental health therapy is too expensive; and second, therapists are struggling to make ends meet.
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 (thank you, autism). 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.
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 neurodivergent.
I can count on one hand the number of times I, as a cis-White woman, have been a minority in any space I have been while in the United States. Growing up in this way means that while I was aware of some differences that exist between myself and my non-White peers, I never really came face-to-face with the ripple effects of this way of living until my young-adult years.
October of 2022 was a huge month for me. It was in this month that I finally earned my certification in Perinatal Mental Health, which was really the culmination of a decade of work in mental health and in my own journey as a mother. Naturally, I have been wanting to celebrate with the folks around me, but I have noticed one important barrier to this - people just aren't quite sure what a perinatal mental health specialist even is! Let's break it down.
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?
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.
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.