Emily Dean, Therapist

Meet the Therapist: Emily Dean, LLC

In Meet the Therapist, Therapy by Kalamazoo Therapy Group

What do you specialize in?

I am incredibly passionate about working with young adults struggling with relationship conflicts, intimacy, impacts of sexual trauma, times of transition (i.e., entering adulthood, dating, graduating, moving etc.), self-esteem, and navigating their sexuality and/or gender. Often, depression and anxiety are heightened with these struggles, making it difficult to cope, overcome challenges, and live authentically.

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

When clients first come to therapy, they can expect genuineness and authenticity from me at the very beginning. The initial therapy session is truly a “getting to know you” session for both of us! I will ask you what is bringing you into therapy, any previous experiences with therapy, and what you hope to get out of this journey. This information is beneficial because it will help guide subsequent sessions, treatment plans, and goals. During the initial session I will also introduce you to me as a therapist including my approaches and what sessions will look like. This is also a perfect opportunity to ask any questions you may have for me. We will also discuss scheduling future sessions and the frequency of sessions during the initial session. Lastly, I understand that initial therapy sessions can sometimes be uncomfortable or intimidating, which is completely normal! I will talk to you about any feelings you may have about this experience while considering that during our session(s).

Subsequent sessions are more free-flowing and guided by your concerns than the initial session. It is important to me that we work through concerns that are prioritized by you. Sessions with me are typically talk therapy; however, I like to integrate creative techniques depending on the client’s interest and as I see fit. Throughout the therapeutic journey, we will periodically revisit the treatment plan and goals to ensure you feel supported and guided in the right direction.

What is your personal style as a therapist?

My style as a therapist can be described as compassionate, empathetic, authentic, free-flowing, and collaborative with my clients. I believe meaningful human connection is essential in life, and that is what I strive to create with my clients. Additionally, it is important to me that my clients know that I am showing up as myself and nothing less. Building a strong and genuine therapeutic relationship is a priority to me; therefore, I encourage my clients to communicate honestly with me about how they feel about our relationship and the tools and approaches I utilize.

During sessions, I help clients gain self-awareness and insight by exploring their beliefs, values, emotions, memories, relationships, thoughts, and experiences. I utilize techniques ranging from meditative and body-awareness practices to psychoeducation; however, what I use greatly depends on the client’s needs and interests!

How have you seen therapy benefit your clients?

I have seen therapy benefit clients in multiple ways. Therapy has provided a space for clients to gain a better understanding of their internal and external worlds, implement helpful coping strategies, establish boundaries within relationships, and process past hurtful and/or traumatic experiences. This has led to greater self-awareness and self-acceptance to live a more fulfilling and authentic life.

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

First and foremost, taking the step to find a therapist is incredibly courageous and I commend you. It can sometimes feel daunting and confusing, especially finding a therapist that best fits you and your specific needs because that is particularly important!

When looking for a therapist, a great place to start is the therapist’s biography which can provide you with a lot of information. Some questions to ask yourself while reading therapists’ biographies include: Does this therapist specialize in what is bringing me into counseling? What kind of “vibe” or “energy” am I getting from this therapist? Is there something that resonates with you from their bio? (phrase, approach, photo, etc.), What type of payment does this therapist accept? What type of structure does this therapist mention (collaborative, free-flowing, structured, etc.), and what type of structure am I looking for?

Once you find a therapist, make sure you check in with yourself throughout the therapeutic journey. Some questions to ask yourself include: Do I feel heard, validated, and safe? How do I feel about my therapist’s approach? How do I feel about the goals and plans moving forward?

The relationship between the therapist and client is significantly important as it helps to build safety, security, and trust. Again, this process can be challenging, but it is well worth it to find a therapist that is the best fit for you!

What do you hope your clients walk away with?

I hope my clients can walk away with the tools they learned in therapy, a sense of authenticity, self-love, and empowerment, so they can navigate difficult situations, self-advocate, and live unapologetically as themselves.

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