How have your personal experiences helped your work with your clients?
Because of my own personal heartache and incredible joys that I carry with me, I’m able to access those places of grief, self-doubt, uncertainty and hope to understand where my clients might find themselves. This is where I find my deep empathy and ability to sit with uncomfortable feelings, since I’ve been there myself. Oftentimes, it leads to a feeling of safety and trust in our therapeutic relationship, which creates a space for healing and acceptance of who we are, with all of our strengths and struggles.
What would your clients and colleagues say is your therapist superpower?
Balancing between connecting with clients where they are, and at the same time nurturing their growth is key to our time together. I treasure taking the time to get to know my clients fully (including talking about our Spotify playlists or the #1 top stream on Netflix) and also guiding them towards their goals with challenging questions and deep exploration of their feelings. I believe therapy begins with feeling safe and accepted, and clients usually walk out of the room feeling lighter than they did walking in.
Is there an example from your daily life where you practice what you preach?
It’s so easy to give in to that critical voice inside of us, especially with so much pressure from friends, family and the world around us. With me, my clients are reminded to be gentle with themselves, which I practice daily with myself and in my relationships. Giving myself grace and allowing the space to gently sit with all my worries and hopes reminds me that I am enough. Acknowledging this deepens my ability to hold that space and compassion for others and reminds them that I am as Irvin Yalom would say, a “fellow traveler” to their journey.
If you hadn’t become a therapist, what profession would you have chosen and why?
If I had the chance, I would have been a travel and lifestyle documentarian – I love exploring and getting to know humans from all walks of life. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our world that we forget that there’s almost 8 billion people out there, which reminds us how unique we are and also how much there is to see and learn. Everyone has a story and is deserving of being witnessed – this would’ve just been a different way of being in awe of our humanity without limits of confidentiality!
Learn more about me here: www.stephaniepappaslmft.com
Short Term (Solution-focused, etc.)
Ideal for those who are coming in with a specific problem they’d like to address and gain clarity on. Typically, short term therapies are present focused and do not dive deep into your past.
Structured therapies are goal and progress oriented. Therapists may incorporate psychoeducation and a specific “curriculum.” In order to stay on track, therapists may provide worksheets and homework.
Insight-oriented (Psychodynamic, Existential, etc.)
Exploring the past and making connections to present issues can help clients gain insight. Getting to the root of the issue and finding deeper self-awareness can help with long-term change.
Non-directive (Humanistic, Person-centered, etc.)
Going with the flow and seeing where it leads.
Behavioral (CBT, DBT, etc.)
Focuses on changing potentially unhealthy or self-destructive behaviors by addressing problematic thought patterns and specific providing coping skills.
Trauma Focused (EMDR, TF-CBT, etc.)
Recognizing the connection between trauma experiences and your emotional and behavioral responses, trauma focused therapy seeks to help you heal from traumas.