Today’s Clinician’s Corner resource comes from this month’s featured clinician, Julie Wood. Julie specializes in mental health and vocational rehab, and has a major passion for working with the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Julie shares this resource on self-care, mental wellness, and helping to identify when there may be a crisis. Enjoy!
It’s my pleasure to introduce Julie Wood, who is this month’s Friday Features clinician! Julie is my supervisee at MHCC, and is in the process of becoming EMDR trained. She sees self-pay clients only, at a low sliding scale, and later this month will be running two groups for Deaf and Hard of Hearing young adults! I am so thrilled to have her on board, and anyone who spends five minutes in the same room as Julie can feel her compassion, sensitivity, and awesome sense of humor. I thought it would be fun to have Julie answer some questions about herself so you all can get to know her better, and I was definitely not disappointed!
1.) When you were a kid, what did you tell people you wanted to be when you grew up?
· A penguin washer. You know, the people that wash the penguins at the aquarium or go to help out when there is an oil spill!
2.) When did you first know you wanted to be a therapist?
· During graduate school. I got into the program because it was going to provide me the tools to work with the deaf population. While taking counseling classes, I realized that is what I wanted to do, mental health counseling.
3.) What is one way being a therapist has changed you?
· I think it has made me more aware. What I mean by that is maybe more understanding to what others may be going through, or that someone may be going through something and that is why they act the way they do. When I am out driving, and someone gives me the finger because they perceive that I cut them off, I am able to remember that that is their stuff, not mine.
4.) What is a population you’re passionate about working with?
· The deaf, especially youth transitioning from high school to college or work
5.) How did working with that population come to be a passion for you (no client details, please)?
· I worked for the state as a Vocation Rehabilitation counselor and witnessed the lack of counseling and support that students receive while they go through the transition and when they graduate is appalling. I want to help these kids realize what they can do, what the “real world” means and how to navigate their disability while in it.
6.) What’s one challenge in your life that you’re proud of overcoming?
· Depression. It is still something I struggle with, but I have survived a particularly terrible episode when it seemed like there was no way out.
7.) What is the best client feedback you’ve ever received?
· That I took the time to listen and follow through for the client, when no one else did.
8.) What do you wish clients would ask you in an intake?
· What will be expected from them, or how can they make the most out of their work with me?
9.) What is the funniest thing you’ve ever said in session that you never thought you would say?
· I love using humor and personal anecdotes to connect with clients. There is very little I will not say, if I feel that the person is in a place to hear it. I had a client who worked at a gym that my friend went to. He happened to be in one of her pictures she posted on Facebook. When I told him I saw the picture he said something about me coming to workout there. I told him, “Screw that! My wedding is over, I am done with the gym and on to carbs.”
10.) What is your favorite food/flavor of ice cream?
· Tacos are life in the Wood household. We celebrate every Tuesday! I do not really like ice cream. Before you gather your pitchforks, I am lactose intolerant and ice cream is one of the foods I really CANNOT tolerate!
11.) What is your favorite self-care activity?
· Shopping! But when it is not pay week, I love reading!
12.) What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
· I love going to the movies. My husband and I always wear comfy clothes, get popcorn and candy and only go to theaters with the comfy seats so we can really relax.
13.) What is your favorite book?
· I have read so many, it is hard to pick!
14.) What is your most recommended book to clients?
· I would recommend Crazy by Peter Earley. He talks about the societal issues with mental illness, and what we are not doing to help those who experience it. I love what he has to say and how he says it.
15.) Finally, what is a meaningful/favorite quote you’d like to leave our audience with?
· The quote that I live by, whether in my personal life or professional life, is a Polish proverb, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. Simply put it means “not my problem”. We spend so much time worrying about what we are doing and how we can help others. I am going to help my clients to the best of my ability, but I can only do so much. I urge everyone to remember these words when there is something that is out of your control, even though you want to do all you can to help. Sometimes, you simply can’t.