We spoke with Sam, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and military spouse living in the DC metro area. She provides psychotherapy via telehealth across the states of Alaska and Virginia and helps adults who struggle with trauma, depression, and anxiety. Her niche is working with military families, but she also works with law enforcement officers, frontline workers, and healthcare workers since the pandemic.
Let’s jump into our chat with Sam!
— A Conversation With Sam —
You take a unique approach to therapy in that you support your clients from a very holistic perspective! What does it mean to you to take a holistic or integrative approach to therapy?
I view the person as a whole being, rather than a disorder or label. What you may consider as a “classic” approach to therapy is like talk therapy. When talking isn’t enough, I can get pretty interactive and include movement (yoga, body movements with the breath, or include daily movement routines such as walking), drawing, writing, essential oils, or somatic-based practices using mindfulness or EMDR. Personally, I find nature and going on hikes to be therapeutic and encourage being outdoors to my clients! Luckily, the PB app is at the tip of their fingers. I’ve had a client journal about their outdoor experiences (and even send nature photos!).
What inspired you to start working with clients in this way?
I am aware that one size does not fit all, which means I personalize my approach and methods to fit the client’s unique needs incorporating the mind, body, and spiritual elements. My clinical training and experiences in Alaska broadened my cultural perspective on how I treat my clients. I am also a Filipino American and grew up in the diversified American military culture, so I am sensitive to various cultures, identities, and ethnic/racial backgrounds.
Providing accountability and support to your clients in between sessions is a key tenet of the work you do. What are some of the ways you keep your therapy clients accountable?
For some people, one hour a week just isn’t enough to begin healing and feeling better. My clients find it helpful to have assigned tasks, such as a mindfulness exercise in the morning. I have some who appreciate motivational quotes or helpful reminders to check in with themselves (body scans are great!). My clients also find the journal feature on the PB app to be useful.
How does this accountability and support between sessions impact your client’s experience as well as their progress/success in therapy?
For those who are in trauma treatment, clients find it helpful to journal their triggers, emotions, and any tasks to keep them on track of their well-being. Your mind often continues to process stuff we’ve done in session so it’s helpful for my clients to journal any insights, concerns, questions, and wins so that we can discuss them in our next session. When it feels like your life is out of control, my clients benefit from incorporating a routine to gain back their control. This includes journaling a morning or nighttime routine, practicing positive coping skills and journaling about them, receiving journal prompts for reflection, or uploading worksheets to their private folders.
As a therapist, what drew you to Practice Better as your practice management platform of choice?
I absolutely loved the ease of use, accessibility, and friendly interface. I have used complex EHRs and outdated-looking systems before. Practice Better has been my favorite and I plan to grow with this platform. The app has been helpful to manage my entire private practice for both myself and my clients! The automations are like their own Virtual Assistant or Admin. My clients receive symptom screeners and a check-in form prior to every session. I get notified and I am able to plan ahead for our sessions!
What are some of the key Practice Better features you love that allow you to run an integrative therapy practice?
As you can tell, I use Practice Better to ensure my clients’ needs are met during and in between sessions. I love that the platform offers options for my clients to engage in therapy with me. I offer them the chance to view my calendar availability based on the service or package with options for phone, chat, or telehealth. I have packages that offer weekly and monthly chats to established clients. I am new to private practice and have plans to continue growing my practice as well as upgrade to features (text reminders and mini-courses) that I did not have access to when I started out. I appreciate that Practice Better grows with me and my business!
Do you have anything coming up that you’d like to share with the PB community?
I am working on a few things such as e-books and possibly a mini mindfulness course!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Sam!
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