We are thrilled to welcome this year’s counseling intern, Angie, to the Embrace Strength team! Angie is currently getting her Master’s in clinical mental health counseling at the University of Denver. Angie has been researching mental health and body image for years and brings a unique perspective to our team. If you would like to get to know more about Angie, read our Q&A below.
What made you want to become a therapist?
There have been several areas of my life where I could not pursue therapeutic services. For example, my family immigrated to the US when I was 12 months old and there were a lot of barriers in the way of us accessing care and resources. I grew up in a predominantly white rural community and I never saw therapists or providers who I thought would understand my experience; I didn’t see myself in the field. There aren’t a lot of therapists in Alaska in general, but especially not therapists of color.
So I think my interest in being a therapist is a combination of not being able to access mental health resources growing up and not seeing myself represented or feeling comfortable enough to see a mental health provider. I want to be a therapist that can offer this diverse mindset and cultural humility.
How would you describe your approach to counseling so far?
I have certain interests, like I’m really interested in trauma-informed care or learning more about EMDR and narrative therapy. There are ultimately so many modalities to learn about but what I see as most important is doing what works best for the client. I bring a lot of different approaches into my counseling practice depending on what fits the client best. In general, I am drawn to ACT and exploring systems of oppression in therapy.
What kinds of client issues are you most passionate about working with?
I am passionate about eating disorders; I find it interesting to look at the media and how that impacts body image and disordered eating. I also love looking at culture, language, and generational traits and how that impacts body image and eating. For example, in my culture, people are given names based on their appearance. I have an uncle–I don’t even know his real name–I have just always known him as “El Gordo.” I find that kind of language interesting and am curious how it influences self-esteem and possibly eating habits. I am also passionate about working with people of color, people that are a part of minoritized groups, and the Latinx community.
If your clients could walk away from a session with you having learned one thing, what would it be?
In my work so far I’ve noticed that a lot of people engage in these negative self-blame patterns, including little kids. I want my clients to understand that some things that happen to you are outside of your control; not everything is your fault. You can be impacted by these things and process through them, but it’s not all on you. I want my clients to be able to remove some of this self-blame and feel more at ease when they leave session with me.
What do you do outside of work and school that helps you to maintain a healthy, well-balanced life?
I love to watch TV, I’m not going to lie. It distracts me from everything–sometimes too much! I like catching up on shows I love. Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorites and I’m also watching House of Dragon. Grey’s Anatomy is my comfort show that I can just put on in the background when I’m doing other things. I also like working out, whatever that looks like from day to day. Sometimes it’s just walking in the park near my house with my AirPods, or going down to the gym, or just stretching. It really depends on how I feel each day, but exercising makes me feel grounded. I also love hiking and love being outside, even though I don’t get to do it that much.
If you are interested in working with Angie, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free phone consultation.