Part One: Why I became a therapist

February 1, 2023

The most rewarding part about being a counselor is being able to positively make an impact on another human being’s life and journey. Giving hope when people feel hopeless. Inspiring others to be all that they are capable of being, so that they can go out into the world and be the best version of themselves. It can be very rewarding work!

This month, we asked our team of clinicians why they wanted to become a therapist. What drew them into the field of mental health and counseling? We received a flood of replies! Here is part one of our “Why I became a therapist” series. Enjoy!

Tiffaney Knight, Resident in Counseling 

As long as I can remember I have always had a passion for helping others. As time went on that passion continued to grow. I love seeing the “aha” moment look on a client’s face when helping them tackle a difficult task. My ‘why’ is I love being able to provide clients with the tools needed to be the best versions of themselves and having a better understanding of their emotions.

Amy Andrukonis, Supervisee in Clinical Social Work

As a therapist for children under ten, I spend a lot of time working with and thinking about deeply feeling young kids (and their families). As a matter of fact, I was a deeply feeling young kid myself. Anxious, school-avoidant at times, and known to be quite tearful – it was hard for me to identify and talk about my feelings, and I had a LOT of them. It could be confusing for the adults in my life who supported me. And it was confusing for me, too!

Deeply feeling kids and their families often wonder – where do these feelings come from? Does this mean something is “wrong?” Will it always be like this? Is there a way to feel better? Nothing, nothing nothing nothing is wrong with your deeply feeling child. Deeply feeling people make the world a more vibrant, beautiful, and interesting place. But that doesn’t mean having strong feelings isn’t difficult, lonely or confusing at times.

Throughout my academic career, I was fascinated with learning about what emotions are and how they serve us. I couldn’t think of a more exciting job than partnering with children and families in gaining knowledge and skills to support them in their own journeys with emotion. While I can’t make having strong feelings EASY for the children and families I work with, I can share information and skills that help all of us make sense of, cope with, and feel less alone in our feelings. It is rewarding work, and I am grateful I get to do it every day!

Lydia Hatcher, Resident in Counseling 

I feel this profession chose me before I chose it. I have always recognized my passion for serving others. From a very young age, I often found myself having a different perspective than my peers or the people around me. I have always been focused on the solution while also understanding the problem. As I got older, I recognized that I was the “go-to” person for people who had problems. I wondered why that was. It became clear to me when at a very pivotal point in my own life, I sought therapy for myself and that space felt very familiar to my “spirit”.

My own personal experience with therapy confirmed what I now believe is my “calling” to this work. There remains a hunger and desire to help people look at their lives and situations from different perspectives, while at the same time supporting them as they journey to find their own solutions. I remain excited and energized by the ability to share other people’s life journeys. I am confident this profession made the right choice in choosing me.

By Grace Lozano, Resident in Counseling

Entering into your last few years of high school sure does an interesting thing to 16, 17, and 18 year olds. Suddenly, after all of those years of answering playful versions of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we are thrust into feeling like we ACTUALLY need to make that decision. And so, for me, came a long period of reflection… Before I even knew of the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” (or “A Reason for Being” — look it up, it’s interesting!), I pondered those exact concepts.

  • What do I love?
  • What does the world need?
  • What am I good at?
  • What can I be paid for?

And the one truth I kept coming back to was that I was good at helping people feel seen and heard and that people almost seemed to naturally be drawn to me (and me to them) in life’s hardest moments. Now, over a decade later, I can’t even believe that I get to do this as a job. Younger Grace would be so relieved she finally figured it out… and so proud.

Until next time, Be Wise!