Carly Denny

Meet the Therapist: Carly Denny

In Meet the Therapist by Kalamazoo Therapy Group

What do you specialize in?

My passion in counseling centers around helping young people overcome their obstacles and improve how they manage their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. My specialization focuses on adolescents, teens, and young adults; I understand that these life stages are full of transitions which may include: social pressure, self-doubt, negative body image, new relationships, challenges with time management, highly competitive peer groups, family conflict, major life decisions, trying to find your place in the world, and so much more. Facing these challenges can be overwhelming, and oftentimes feels isolating and scary. Not only do I strive to empower my clients by providing them with the skills to help manage the unique challenges they face, but I also want my clients to know they are not alone in their struggles. I want my clients to feel supported and hopeful about their future.

What can clients expect when they first come to therapy? How would you describe a a typical session with you?

The best way to describe a client’s first therapy session with me is laid-back. I want clients to feel as comfortable as possible, which is not the easiest thing to feel when forced to open up to a complete stranger. Therefore, the first session usually starts with me offering the client a little bit of information about myself and my background, as well as my style and approach to therapy. Next, I go over the legalities and a generalized outline of subsequent sessions. From there, I let clients decide whether they want to jump right into doing the work, developing a treatment plan and setting goals, or if they want, we take it easy, and spend the rest of the session getting to know each other; the work begins whenever you are ready, and always at your own pace.

What is your personal style as a therapist?

While my psychoeducational approach is rooted in the same psychotherapy as many counselors, my approach is a bit more unconventional. My aim is to make a client’s session feel as organic and unrushed as possible. I believe that people are better able to express themselves and be vulnerable when they feel safe, comfortable, and unjudged. With that being said, I strive to create a therapeutic relationship that feels equitable and authentic by implementing humor, creativity, compassion, and candidness into each session, while still meeting a client’s specific needs.

How have you seen therapy benefit your clients?

Therapy can be a place for clients to say whatever is on their mind. Having a safe space to openly express one’s flaws, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and pain helps people realize that their feelings are valid, and deserve to be heard, not just in therapy, but in their day to day life too. The insight and skills learned along one’s journey can help them gain a sense of self-control and self-confidence to live a full and healthy, albeit sometimes messy, life. It can also serve as a reminder to give oneself a little bit of grace and self-compassion. Afterall, people are doing the best they can with what they have.

What do you think are the most important considerations when looking for a therapist?

First and foremost, don’t settle! Therapy works best when a client feels connected and comfortable with their therapist.

It’s also worth noting that therapists are meant to guide clients and advocate for them. They cannot tell a client what to do, nor should they want to.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that to overcome life’s challenges, clients must face them, which is easier said than done. If I am being honest, sometimes this process can really suck. But I promise, the benefits are worth it. So stick with therapy, even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.

What do you hope your clients walk away with?

Along with a lightened mental burden, I hope clients walk away with an instilled sense of pride and resiliency, knowing they have the ability to overcome any challenge they face. I hope clients feel more connected to themselves, as well as their thoughts and emotions, seeing solutions or possibilities where they may have only seen problems and dead ends in the past. I want clients to walk away from counseling advocating for their own needs by setting healthy boundaries with the people in their life, and building stronger and healthier relationships because of it. Lastly, I want clients to remember that they are not alone, and they will always have a safe space to come back to whenever they need some extra support.

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