Jessica is a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor at Wildflower. She earned her Master’s degree at DePaul University in Community Counseling. She holds certificates and training focused on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Jessica is also a certified perinatal mental health professional. She has extensive training in women’s reproductive mental health, anxiety, and depression. Read Jessica’s full bio here.
What inspired you to pursue a career as a psychotherapist?
When I was in college I had my first experience engaging in therapy. The one on one relationship was incredibly meaningful to me, a chance to reflect and develop skills while being vulnerable. At the time I was finishing a degree in Elementary Education in Tucson, Arizona. I remember watching students constantly entering the school counselor’s office, seeking her undivided support and attention, even if it was for three minutes. While I loved connecting with my students and being a part of their development and growth, it felt at times like I could only scratch the surface of what each of them needed and deserved. I decided to pursue a career as a psychotherapist because I wanted to be a part of the healing that comes when two people are able to safely and thoughtfully work through life’s challenges.
As a psychotherapist, what part of your job is most satisfying?
The most satisfying part of being a psychotherapist is witnessing someone grow and move from distress or discomfort towards healing. Even better is when we can notice the progress made together and adjust our frequency of sessions to reflect this growth.
How would you describe your therapeutic approach?
First and foremost, my approach is focused on creating a space and relationship where the client feels safe, respected and supported. We are a team. I draw from my training in Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Perinatal Mental Health; however, no intervention or tool matters unless a relationship of trust has been established. This sentiment is reinforced by many studies that show the most important factor in the success of your treatment is your relationship with the therapist (Gottlieb, 2019).
Why do you believe that psychotherapy can help?
I’ve personally experienced, and had clients resonate with, being swept up by life’s “current.” Without intention, we find ourselves following the societal or familial patterns of life; whether it is choices about education, partnering, careers, parenting, or responding to traumatic experiences, sometimes it’s as if we are on “autopilot.” I believe psychotherapy provides a space for a person to “step out of the current,” reflect, and begin to intentionally make changes in their lives that align with their values. This shift allows individuals to consciously experience their lives in new and healing ways.
What are some of your specialties and what drew you to them?
One of the roles I find particularly rewarding is providing clinical supervision to emerging therapists. I am keenly aware of how our work as psychotherapists can impact our wellbeing, especially those new to the field of counseling. As a clinical supervisor, I intentionally provide the support and collaboration needed for psychotherapists to reflect on and grow their clinical skills while reinforcing the message that we as therapists need to “walk the talk.”
My transition to parenthood was more complex and challenging than I ever imagined. As I began connecting with new mothers I heard countless stories of pain, confusion, fatigue, and most of all, feeling alone and overwhelmed. When I learned from a friend about Wildflower and its mission, I knew it would be my clinical home. It has become a place for me to unite my clinical experiences with my personal passion for supporting individuals with the transition to and through parenthood. I am on this journey too.
What is one thing about psychotherapy you wish everyone knew?
Engaging in therapy is an act of courage and strength. There is a butterfly effect that comes from the positive change people experience with therapy. The healing extends beyond us to our families, friends, community and so forth.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
My wellbeing matters. I cannot be the person I want to be if I am not attending to my physical, mental, or emotional needs. Being a working parent there are so many balls to juggle. If I don’t make space and time for my wellbeing, they all come crashing down (ex: Mama is hangry).
What are your favorite self-care activities?
I’ve grown to cherish time alone and find it truly restorative. A couple years ago I made a commitment to myself to go on a monthly solo date with a focus on doing something new. These dates have varied from attending drumming and dance performances, going to the movies, watching a local women’s comedy show, roaming the MCA or a bookstore, to riding a bike along the lakefront.