I am very pleased to join the team as a psychotherapy intern. I wanted to share how I arrived at this position, as well as a little bit about me.
By Hailey Heil
The decision to become a therapist occurred slowly and thoughtfully, once I was three years out of college and still feeling unfulfilled with my work life. I was in my second Executive Assistant position, thinking of quitting, but hating the idea of starting over, yet again. None of the postings on job boards caught my interest. I felt stuck and knew I did not want to repeat my previous positions, so I decided to do some soul searching. I started at square one- writing lists of dream jobs, taking online career quizzes and reading blog articles. I kept coming back to human services and knew I would work within the helping field. I also knew I wanted to interact with people one-on-one and to feel like I was helping them improve themselves in some way. I wanted a type of work that was fulfilling and rewarding for both myself and my clients.
At this point, I had a personal interest in healthy living, a growing definition of wellness and I was passionate about human services, so that combination led me to counseling. When thinking about what people needed more than anything, I came up with answers like happiness, peace, fulfillment. These were not tangible goals like I was used to, they were emotional and behavioral. With these realizations, I began to see mental health as the foundation of wellness. The idea of being healthy is so often seen as physical, but once I realized wellness stems from the mind, I knew I wanted mental health to be my mission.
Throughout my graduate program, I learned more about the different specializations of therapy and the importance of being an expert in one area, rather than a generalist in all areas. This decision involved less logistical thinking, I just embraced what was already interesting to me- sex and relationships. I love the complexity of a relationship and the opportunity to work with two or more people at the same time, observing first-hand how they interact with one another. I love the comfortability I have with the topic of sexuality, rather than the view that it’s shameful or taboo. I also think sex is a window into a relationship and can offer a lot of insight about how a partnership is functioning. Discussions surrounding sex and relationships can also be beneficial in individual counseling, especially when one partner is deciphering their own desires and whether or not those fit within the existing relationship.
My courses in graduate school like Couples and Family Therapy and Human Sexuality fed my interest and confirmed my decision to specialize in sexuality and relationships. I continued my training by completing Gottman Couples Therapy Level I as well as Marty Klein’s Sexual Intelligence seminar. They say you’ve found your passion when learning doesn’t feel like a chore and I can attest to this. I am constantly expanding my knowledge of relationship topics with each journal publication, blog post, and book.
I am also working to expand my practice as a yogi, especially from the spiritual sense of mindfulness and meditation. My interests in mindfulness have spilled over into my therapy practice where I found Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This theory of practice focuses on self-awareness and being more flexible with our thoughts as well as kinder to ourselves. It helps us differentiate between thoughts and truths and view our problems from a new perspective.
Thank you for letting me share about my personal and professional interests! If you are interested in working with me, I am available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30pm-9pm and Fridays from 9am-5:30pm. I am working with my supervisor, Heather Shannon, LCPC, at Lotus Center Chicago in West Town. I do not accept insurance and instead offer a reduced rate of $35 per session. You can schedule an appointment by visiting my webpage and clicking “Book Appointment”. I look forward to working with you!
Questions and comments are always welcome.
With Love & Light,