Clarity Counseling Center's “Meet the Therapists” series offers a deeper look into each counselor’s background, experiences, motivations, values, and philosophies. In this series, I put counselors on the couch to learn why and how they do what they do. In this post, I'll be interviewing Clarity therapist Carrie Perkis.
Q. How did you first get interested in your particular field?
A. After entering college as a Biology major, I quickly learned that I had absolutely no idea what a biologist even did for a living and then subsequently faced the daunting and overwhelming challenges of Calculus and Organic Chemistry. Thankfully, I took Abnormal Psychology as an elective that same semester and was intrigued. I was struck by how relevant all of the knowledge was not only to those who wanted to pursue a career in psychology but realistically to anyone and everyone in their interactions and relationships with both themselves and others.
Q. What types of issues do you address and how?
A . I work primarily with college students and adults with anxiety disorders, or those going through a wide variety of life adjustments causing distress. I use cognitive behavioral therapy methodologies because they're evidence-based, which mean they've been proven to work. By educating my clients on the interconnection between their thoughts, actions, and feelings, I help them take control of their emotions rather than feel like their emotions control them.
Q. What is the most challenging part of your work?
A. The most challenging part of my job as a therapist is watching and allowing my clients to experience the pain that often comes along with working through their issues. Human instinct tells you to reach out and console someone in distress, but I know that the best thing I can do for that client allows them to experience the pain so they can move through it rather than cover it up or stuff it back in.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of your work?
A. It’s definitely seeing that “a-ha” moment in my clients, where they shift from feeling dominated by their fears, to someone who knows that they have control within their life through the choices they make and focus that they choose.
Q. If every potential therapy client were listening what would you want them to know?
A. That basically everyone out there can benefit from therapy at one time or another in their lives. Therapy isn’t just for “sick” people or those who are experiencing severe emotional problems. Absolutely no one goes through life without encountering obstacles, and therapy can be an important source of support and help to make it through the tough times in a healthy and effective way.
Q. What are your future plans?
In the professional realm, the sky is the limit for the future of Clarity Counseling Center. Karin and I would love to continue to grow the practice to ensure that professional support is available for those in need, alongside continuing our mission to break the stigmas associated with mental health and therapy. I’m a lifelong learner, so my future will always include expanding my professional horizons and areas of expertise.
Q. Anything you wish you'd known about the field before you started?
A. I wish there was a way I could have known about the intensity of the work, and therefore the importance of self-care and a work-life balance. As therapists, we enter the field for our desire to help others, and that can make it difficult to take a step back and allow ourselves to allow ample time to care for ourselves as well.
Q. What is the most important thing to look for in a therapist?
A. While it’s very important to look for a therapist who has relevant training and experience that fits your presenting concerns, another crucial determinant of success in therapy is therapeutic rapport. This means that it’s incredibly important that you feel comfortable, safe, and supported by your therapist. Even with a very skilled therapist and a very motivated client, there are times that personalities don’t mesh. Just like you’d want to make sure to hire a home decorator who best matches your style and personality, the same goes for your therapist.