Reagan Rockholm has been a part of the Embrace Strength Counseling team for almost three years, and has played a key role in the development of our internship program. Reagan started as an intern in 2020 before graduating with her Master’s in Counseling Psychology in 2021. Since then, Reagan has brought invaluable insight, support, and knowledge to ESC as a therapist. Reagan currently offers individual counseling via telehealth, and will earn the title of Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) this year. To learn more about Reagan, read our Q&A below.
What made you want to become a therapist?
I got interested in psychology through a high school teacher. I’m from a really rural small town, so I think it was the first time I was exposed to outside ideas of mental health being an okay thing to talk about and explore. That encouraged me to pursue psychology in college.
I actually didn’t want to be a therapist at first; I was adamantly against it because of my biases from growing up. Being a therapist was seen as a “kooky” thing, and people in my town thought mental health wasn’t real. They thought that you just have to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” if you want to get over something. I didn’t have much exposure to the idea that mental health is an acceptable topic, so I was initially interested in organizational/industrial psychology.
Later on, my friends helped me to understand that organizational/industrial psychology wasn’t a good fit for me. They asked me what I wanted for my career and I told them that I don’t want to be stuck at a desk, staring at a computer and looking at data all day. I just really wanted to talk to people and have relationships with people through work. It became clear that being a therapist is my passion and what I was called to do.
I’m really lucky—since pursuing mental health, a lot of my family members who initially weren’t enthusiastic about my career choice have really come around and supported me. Now they are advocates themselves for mental health in our community, encouraging friends and family to go to therapy and be more mental health positive.
How would you describe your approach to therapy?
I use a mixture of approaches—Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) really calls to me, and the idea of living a values-guided life. I also really enjoy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and some of the tools used for that. More recently, I’ve been looking into Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) and I’m currently taking a training on that. Learning about RO-DBT has been really cool and I think it’s going to work well with the clients I see.
I try to tailor each session to each individual client. I am pretty flexible and let the client guide the session as far as what they would like to focus on each week. I also try to emphasize their priorities and goals and try to move them closer to those along the way. Overall, I use a mixture of some structure but a lot of flexibility from week to week.
What kinds of clients and presenting problems are you most interested in working with?
I work quite a bit with disordered eating and body image issues. That is a large part of the clients I work with, but I am also interested in working with neurodivergence; clients with autism and ADHD. In undergrad I had an internship at a disability resource center so I already had that background, but working with clients that have these diagnoses has made me even more passionate. I’m very interested in how neurodivergence intersects with eating disorders, and I am always looking for new ways to learn and new trainings to do.
What strengths do you have as a therapist?
I’m very non-judgmental and have an openness and willingness to talk about anything. I am also a very curious person and I enjoy continuing to learn, so if topics come up that I am not well-acquainted with, I am more than eager to brush up on things and meets my clients’ needs wherever I can. I think that has helped me the most in my career so far.
What would you like your clients to get out of working with you?
I think the most valuable thing somebody can get from therapy is the acceptance that therapy is okay to do. Even younger clients who don’t necessarily want to be in therapy at this point, or older clients who come into therapy, try it out, and it turns out we aren’t a good fit together or they realize they aren’t ready for therapy at this time in their life—I want them all to leave knowing that therapy is okay to go to and something they can always leave and come back to throughout their life.
I myself have a therapist, and my therapist has a therapist. It’s such a helpful thing, even if there’s nothing “wrong” going on in your life. It’s so meaningful to check in and get that outside support and insight.
What are your goals for your career as a therapist?
I’m really content with what I’m doing now, so I would like to continue to take trainings on things that interest me and expand my caseload to different presenting concerns. I want to follow that part of my curiosity and not be strict on what I need to get a certificate in or do a training on; I want to follow my passions. I considered doing a PhD for a while, but that is on hold for now. I’ve recently figured out that I can still be a learner and still satisfy that part of my values without having to formally be in school.
What do you do outside of work that helps you to live a healthy, balanced life?
I am the queen of a million hobbies! Right now I’m really into crocheting and I like reading a lot. I’ve also enjoyed candle making, baking, cooking, painting, working with clay, and more. I like to be creative; there’s a pleasure in getting to make something and just focus on one thing at a time. It helps me to be more grounded. Recently I’ve also been learning to golf. I’m not very good but I appreciate the time spent outside.
If you weren’t a therapist, what do you think you would be doing?
From a really young age I’ve always loved reading and been very passionate about it. I took some creative writing classes in high school and college and loved it, so I think if I weren’t a therapist, I would be a writer or an author.
If you are interested in working with Reagan, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free phone consultation.