Eden is a psychotherapist, yoga instructor and clinical supervisor at Wildflower. Eden earned her Bachelor’s degree from Knox College and a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She has extensive training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga Therapy and Yoga Informed Psychotherapy as well as third wave approaches, including DBT, ACT, and RO-DBT. Read Eden’s full bio here.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a psychotherapist?
I grew up in household that cultivated an interested in the human spirit. My mother was involved in theater and my father was a social worker, so I found myself deeply intrigued by human nature and what motivates connection versus isolation. As I developed professionally, I was a yoga instructor before I ever became a therapist. I discovered that arena as an area to connect with communities and assist people in developing a deeper sense of self and connection. I clearly remember the day I decided I wanted more; I was assisting in a workshop that combined goal coaching and yoga for children and adolescents. We split the group in half and had one half do yoga first and the other start with goal coaching. The kids who participated in goal coaching first were enthusiastic, but not focused. There was so much unharnessed energy in the room that they might have had fun, but no one left with their worksheets filled out. The group who completed the yoga first came into the goal coaching session focused, calm and still very much energized but ready to work. They engaged in the activity and everyone completed the entire exercise. It was at that moment I thought “there is something to this. And I have to know more.” I went on to get my Master’s in social work and maintained my interest in how mindfulness and the mind- body connection can play an integral role in mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
As a psychotherapist, what part of your job is most satisfying?
Connection, without a doubt. Being a therapist allows you to connect with people in so many ways, in one on one sessions, in group settings. I am inspired by my colleagues and the passion for learning and love connecting with them at every opportunity. Therapy has helped me find my tribe.
How would you describe your therapeutic approach?
I utilize an approach based in an awareness of both top down and bottom up processing. In short, that means I am aware of not just our thoughts, but also our felt experiences. I invite a non-judgmental stance to develop self-compassion to help move through the work. I am trained in mindfulness-based approaches, including DBT, ACT and RO-DBT and integrate these with sensorimotor psychotherapy to bridge the gap between what we feel and how we feel it.
Why do you believe that psychotherapy can help?
One of my favorite cartoons is of a caterpillar sitting across from a butterfly. The caterpillar says “you’ve changed,” the butterfly responds “we’re supposed to.” I think therapy is a tool that allows us to change mindfully and choose the direction we are headed in. We do not have many spaces built into our daily lives that ask us to reflect and hold up a mirror in pursuit of growth. Without that space it is easy to get lost in the habits of day to day life and let time pass without making thoughtful decisions.
What are some of your specialties and what drew you to them?
Mindfulness-based approaches, specifically trauma-sensitive yoga therapy, are my areas of specialty. Because of my experiences with yoga and mindfulness before I began my clinical training, I knew from personal practice how transformative these interventions are. I went on to receive my Trauma Sensitive Yoga Certification with the Trauma Center, and complete courses in third wave therapeutic approaches including DBT, ACT and RO-DBT training.
What is one thing about psychotherapy you wish everyone knew?
That we cannot avoid pain; we can, however, approach it and move through it so that it does not dictate how we engage in our lives. I often hear that people are afraid to engage in therapy because it will be painful or make them confront things from their past that they would prefer to leave alone. Unfortunately, ignoring these things does not make them go away and the safe space of therapy can help us “look the monsters under the bed” in the eye. In the process, we often find that we can have much more power over them than they have had over us.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
You are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do. Allow yourself to simply be here and breathe.
What are your favorite self-care activities?
Yoga, of course. Also walking my dogs, reading books, listening to podcasts and Sunday night dinner with family.