Career Conversations: Transcript: Therapists and Counselors

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LLYR HELLER:  Welcome, everyone.  My name is Llyr. I am one of the YA librarians here at the beautiful Teen Scape. Thank you for joining us here today. We have a very special career conversation today. Our topic is working in therapy. Please welcome from Soultenders—they have fun giveaways afterward so stick around—we have Susan and Adriana from Soultenders. Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

So the first question just kind of is a gentle—if you wanna tell you us what path you've taken to get to where you are today. This is like talking about careers, internships, specialized training, things like that.

SUSAN KEHOE‑JERGENS: Wonderful. We thought we'd start with a little—a little warm‑up, yes. A little of game.


SUSAN: And, why don't we do that.

ADRIANA:  Okay. We have these emoji’s here—okay. Thank you. So anybody wanting to share maybe what their mood is right now at the moment?  


ADRIANA: Excited. That's a good one. Okay. Here you go. Anybody else?  


ADRIANA: Anxious, yes. That's another good one. Here you go. Anxious.

Anybody else? Yeah?  


ADRIANA:  Intrigued. I loved all these words: Intrigued, anxious, stressed. All normal more feelings, right, that we all have throughout the day. There's not just one feeling. Sometimes we may be having different feelings at the same time.

Maybe one more?  

SUSAN:  How are you feeling right now? Anybody?  


ADRIANA: Informed, okay.

SUSAN:  Who wants a squishy?


ADRIANA AVILA: Interested. Okay.

SUSAN: Great.

ADRIANA:  We have one, two more? Two more.

SUSAN:  There's still some in the back.

ADRIANA:  Oh, we do have some yes.

Anybody else?  


ADRIANA: Excited. Good, there you go.



ADRIANA:  Lost. Okay. Good ones.

These are all great descriptors. I love it. Thank you for participating.

I notice we also have another question, right, in regards to maybe what do you know about therapy?  Or have you ever been to therapy before?  

SUSAN: When someone says therapy, what do you think of? Come on my volunteers.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think about healing.

ADRIANA:  Healing, okay. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think that is something that is helping an individual that would like some self [indiscernible]


ADRIANA: Okay, that's beautiful. 

SUSAN: Well said. 

ADRIANA: Yes, very beautiful.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: So when I think of—I think of steps, like ways to conquer some fear or something that you're trying to work on—


AUDIENCE MEMBER:—I see levels, how to get there not just pushing yourself—oh, we're going to do this, but steps to—

ADRIANA:  Okay.  Yes. Yeah and allowing yourself to go through that healing process, right. Yeah. Yeah.

Anybody else?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think of therapy as listening.

>> Okay.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Where you are able to speak and sometimes it's not [Inaudible/indiscernible] active listener—

ADRIANA: Correct.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: —and makes you feel [Inaudible/indiscernible]


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  [Inaudible/indiscernible]

ADRIANA: Yes. Absolutely. Yes.

SUSAN: Awesome.

ADRIANA: Anybody else? Uh‑huh? Well, that's great. You all described a lot of the work that Susan and I do. Yes, active listening and helping somebody else feel heard, and validating whatever they're going through and taking steps and being a healing—a journey, right—

LLYR:  If you can raise your voice.

ADRIANA:  Sorry.

LLYR: And you can use—

ADRIANA: —use the mic. 

And being a journey of healing, right. It's a healing process that everybody goes through it differently. 

SUSAN:  What kind of stereotypes can you think about therapy?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think many people are reluctant to talk about their feelings because they think there's some sort of stigma towards getting it—like a person may need [Inaudible/indiscernible] or they might be perceived as dangerous because they have maybe some sort of [Inaudible] 


SUSAN:  That's wonderful. That's exactly what I was hoping you would answer.

Because when our bodies are unwell—if we have a tooth ache we go to the dentist, right. If something is wrong with our…into the, we go to the podiatrist. If we're having trouble in our relationships, we want to achieve something, give something up, we have addiction issues, we go to a therapist, right.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I remember growing up the term was head shrinker, which to me had a very negative connotation.

SUSAN:  Any other names like that? A shrink? A head shrinker? That came from the Freudian age where Freud talked about the mind being broken into three parts: The super ego, the ego and the Id. 

The Id being the desires and impulses that we all have. The ego is who very show others who we are. And the superego is like the parent in our own brain. It tells us running across the street at a yellow light is probably not the greatest idea right now. So it's your own inner therapist.

And so a head shrinker would be somebody who was able to teach you to use more of your superego than your ego. Deflate the ego, shrink the head that's where that came from. That's my understanding.

Yours? Yours?  

ADRIANA: Yeah, it's very beautiful. It's very beautiful.

SUSAN: Okay. 

ADRIANA: And exactly, I love that Susan brought up that question because there is a lot of shame and stigma in seeking that therapy, right. And this is why we love to do and going out and providing the resources and advocating and sharing what we do to also destigmatize what therapy is about.


ADRIANA: Yes? Absolutely. Do I need to?  Is it working? 

LLYR: Well, the mic is just to record so...

ADRIANA: I see so it's not to project our voice.

LLYR: We don't have any—

ADRIANA: Got it. I feel like I'm in a therapy room. That's why.

>> Louder.

ADRIANA: Louder? Okay.

So shall we go into the questions?

>> Sure. 

LLYR: That was great. Thank you. So if you'd like to talk about how you got to where you are today? The different careers? Internships? And especially if you can touch on if there's internships for college-age students as well as high school age students as well as adults who are looking into a second career.


LLYR: Thank you.

ADRIANA: Do you want to go first and then—

SUSAN: Sure I'll begin. I started my career as a day care worker. I was in infant toddler and I was—that was 1982. And I loved it. I loved it. I loved being with children. I loved learning about child development.

As the years went on, I was really disappointed on how much money I was making or not making because that's not a very well paid field. And I also became interested in parent education. So I went to junior college, PCC, and took some child development and human development classes. It was a while before I transferred into Pacific Oaks where I finished my four‑year degree—a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development specializing in early childhood.

Then I began teaching parent education and child development on the college level to help parents understand their children and to break cycles of abuse—specifically, that was my goal.

ADRIANA: Okay. So I began my career I was a business major with emphasis in human resource and a minor in psychology. So before that when I was in high school, I took some psychology classes and I was really intrigued by psychology. But I didn't have much guidance as to what would come after my four‑year degree, and business sounded more of a concrete kind of career, and that's what I heard around me, which is—I always say follow your passion. Because once you know your passion, you are able to bring it forth in everything that you're doing.

So I was a business major with an emphasis in human resource and minor is psychology because my life always brought me back to my passion in psychology and pivotal moments in my life.

So after I graduated with my four‑year degree from Cal Poly Pomona in business, I became a human resource supervisor. Which again, with human resource there's a lot of psychology, motivation, talking to others, so I realized then that my passion was in psychology.

So after I realized that, I started navigating the graduate program process—which again, emphasize anybody that has questions to ask questions about how to get into programs, seek help of your counselors, teachers, whomever, librarians,  anybody that you can to ask those questions.

So I went into research. I did—after I was a human resource supervisor, I researched and reached out to other teachers from other schools I didn't go to, because I know research was important to have and to get into a graduate program. So I reached out to professors at PCC, Citrus College, Cal State LA, Cal Poly where I went. A professor from Cal State LA allowed me to do research with her. So I did research there that allowed me to also do presentations at different conferences and symposiums.

After that I also needed clinical work, so I did a lot of work with an agency called Project Sister that they help survivors of sexual abuse and trauma. So I did a lot of work with that. 

Then I got into my graduate program at the University of La Verne. The Master's of marriage and family therapy program. There I did a lot of specialized training as well.

I did my practicum at an agency called Foothill Family, a lot of school-based, working with children families, teens, and adolescence. Then after that I did a lot of work, again, with now currently, I did work at another—the same agency Foothill Family with an intensive program called Wrap Around. So we work with foster youth, at-risk youth. Then at Soultenders.

I still continue to grow. I do work with Soldiers Project, which help veterans post 9/11 and on. I like to do work with sex trafficking and human trafficking helping those survivors and advocating for them too. There's an agency called Cast here in LA and I do work with them as well. So I like to continue growing in my…continue and my paths.

It's been a non‑linear path meaning there's been a lot of roadblocks, which I also want to emphasize that sometimes we feel like it has to be one way, but there's a lot of road blocks or a lot of obstacles or a lot of detours that you may take as you are learning and growing what your passion is about. And there's nothing wrong with changing your major or following your passion. Again, like I said, I started out as a business major because that's what I heard would bring in the money, and that's what I was thinking at that moment, but it was a block to my passion—which I love helping and being there for people. So...

SUSAN:  Therapy is often a second career choice for many people. And one of the ways I find that therapists become therapists is from their own journey in therapy, and that's how it was for me.

At that time, when I was doing parent education, I was struggling as a young adult and I started my journey in therapy with a wonderful licensed marriage and family therapist. And I decided after maybe six years that I want today become a therapist also.

I came from an abusive childhood, and I learned to re‑parent myself with this therapist. I did a lot of personal healing, and I wanted to help people. I wanted to give the gift back that I had received.

So I went onto a master's program in clinical psychology at Antioch University.  It took me five years. I was licensed in 2000.  Graduated in 95. There were different requirements to be licensed back then. So it was 5000 hours back then. So 5000 practice hours under the supervision of a licensed clinician, and you keep track of every hour you do in different categories: Children, crisis, couples, families, individuals.

Let's see, after the internships, then there's a written exam that's done by computer. It's an all day written exam. And then back then, there was an oral exam to sit before the agency which governs all therapists, psychologists, licensed clinical—what's the LPCC?  Licensed professional counselor, yep—psychiatrists. We all report to the Board of Behavioral Science Examiners.

And they used to have panels so you'd have maybe five professionals and they'd gave you a case—a pretend case—that you would have to solve in front of them. They gave you three minutes to take notes and half an hour to come up with the treatment plan, interventions, a theory—whether it be family systems or Freudian. And I passed. (Chuckles)

*so I've done a myriad of different types of work. I've been in the prison system with men who have abused their wives and children, with people struggle with addiction with drugs and alcohol, children with severe emotionally disturbed children. We call them SED. And foster care, group homes, court-mandated parents, and private practice. Always a little bit of private practice all the way along. And then I became a teacher to other therapists and that's called a clinical supervisor. I ran an agency for a while, and did some private clinical supervision. And now I'm also with Soul Tenders, and I've been there about a year and a half.

LLYR:  Does Soultenders do internships at all?  

SUSAN:  Yes.



AUDIENCE MEMBER: More college or high school?  

SUSAN: College. You would have to be graduate level.

ADRIANA:  Yes. Yes.

In regards to earning hours, correct?  

She was talking about the five thousand, now for me it's three thousand hours that I need to get for me to be licensed.

SUSAN:  You're an LMFT, too, right?  

ADRIANA:  No, I am 141 hours away from being an LMFT. Nobody's counting. So you need those 3000 hours, and part of it is just the experience you're getting. Whether it's at Soultenders or whether it's at another agency, you're getting that experience and those hours to then become licensed.

SUSAN:  Also going through your own therapy is part of the requirement. 

ADRIANA:  Correct, it's part of—

SUSAN:  Is part of the requirement. Is that still part of the requirement?  

ADRIANA:  Yeah. So going through your own therapy as well.

SUSAN:  How many here have been in therapy? Wonderful.

ADRIANA:  That is wonderful.

SUSAN:  That's great.

ADRIANA: It is great.

SUSAN:  Did you find it helpful?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  [Inaudible/indiscernible] psychologist and therapist were basically advising me how to score [indiscernible] and they would make me talk about something [inaudible] modern techniques of a therapist because they don't even touch on their point. That's about it.

SUSAN:  Sound manipulative.


SUSAN:  It sounds to me like how to score a woman wouldn't be my first reason to become a therapist.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No, I didn't say that. I said that the therapist that treated [indiscernible] I didn't say that. 

SUSAN:  Oh, I misunderstood. I'm sorry. Could you repeat your question or your statement.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  My statement is I prefer psychiatrists. (Indiscernible) 

SUSAN:  Absolutely and books.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Indiscernible) that if my therapy was helpful to me [Inaudible]

SUSAN:  I think you can bring any issue into therapy. Building relationships is a wonderful goal to have, and you're as much in charge of your own therapy as the therapist. So setting your goals in therapy should be something you're actively involved in.

ADRIANA AVILA: Uh‑huh. Yeah, it's your treatment.

LLYR:  One question we get often at the Career Conversations is a freelance "freelance life versus non". So if you're part of Soultenders, you're part of a company.


LLYR:  Or are you your own person who works within Soul Tenders? 

SUSAN:  Yes. We're both independent contractors. However, we've both worked and been employed in agencies where we are part of the program.


SUSAN:  And the way that works is they take a percentage for doing our billing, our secretarial or setting our appointments, the paperwork, that kind of thing.

ADRIANA: It's both collaborative and group, and it can also be individual. But even if you're like Susan and I that work at Soultenders, where it's at the individual independent contractor, we still have groups where we all meet and talk. And we're always collaborating as well. 

SUSAN:  Supervision groups. 

ADRIANA:  Yeah, supervision groups. 

SUSAN:  Whether you're licensed or not, it's really important to be a part of that as an independent contractor so that you feel connected with each other. 

ADRIANA:  Exactly. 

SUSAN:  And accountable for what we do. 

ADRIANA:  Yeah. Constantly learning.

LLYR:  Any audience questions so far? Yes?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  After hearing the therapists talk and stuff like that, I feel like it's not a certain age to start off as a therapist, not an actual therapist, but like you know pre-therapist.  Because my whole life with that—it's hard but I got a lot of friends ask me questions what to do, what to do. And I feel when you become a therapist, you're giving a piece of yourself to that person.  Because I feel it takes patience and a lot of time and caring and giving to understand that person. You know what I mean? And like get to know him or her, to figure out a way to complete the task.

SUSAN:  That's lovely.

ADRIANA:  That is lovely, yes. I love the way you portray that. It's really nice. Yeah.

AUDIENCE:  What do you think the early stages or like signs that a person may need therapy?  Before it gets like out of control, what do you think are the early stages and when somebody needs therapy?  

SUSAN:  That's a really good question. There are many answers to that. If a child is having difficulty in school, for example, there are—or difficulty in relationships with their peers, then therapy could start in childhood.

I come from a philosophy of family systems, which means that I don't believe that one child in a family has their own issues by themselves. I mean the family would have to be involved because the parents are responsible for the child.

If you have a friend who's in crisis, if you have a friend who you think is suicidal, I think an intervention would be important. Bringing an adult with you if they are a minor, someone they trust, to talk about it—hey, I've been noticing you're really depressed. You're not showing up for basketball. I haven't seen you in class, what's going on? 

Therapists generally know that they're good with people. Are there any therapists in the room? Anybody who wants to become a therapist in the room? Fantastic.

ADRIANA:  Yeah, that's awesome. Did you?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I have a question. Is a high school guidance counselor are they therapist or is it the same career path or the same like schooling that you would have?  

ADRIANA: For a guidance counselor, it would be. Yeah. 

SUSAN:  Now would be a good time to pass out these handouts.

LLYR:  Oh, they have them.

SUSAN:  Oh, you have your handouts. So the answer to that question would be in career areas, there's a list of different types of therapists starting at the doctoral level all the way down to just a two‑year or 18‑month certificate program.

And one thing I wanted to bring up, no matter what level the therapist is whether it's a doctor, psychiatrist, chemical dependency certificate, we all use the same book to write insurance codes and for diagnostics. It's called the DSM5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

In this book are a wide range of human behaviors that we all have. These are—and some people get higher on the spectrum and some people are lower, but you're not broken if you find yourself in this book. There's nothing wrong with you because these are based on human behavior and emotional intelligence. I'll leave this up here if you want to take a look afterward.

Did that answer your question?  

LLYR:  You had a question. Yes?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  For like the art therapy, how does one get into that?   And what does that entail exactly?  The art and I see music therapy as well.

ADRIANA:  So within programs and activities too within programs, there will be different specializations you do as well whether it's art, whether its trauma-informed, whether it's with music, pet therapy. You put your strengths and you added to it and you're able to do that. There are also certifications that you can do.

Anything else with that?  

SUSAN: So you would get a Master's Degree in clinical psychology or licensed marriage family therapist. You want to find an accredited college. That's very important. And from there, you choose classes, courses, continuing education, specializations like Adriana said.  You learn about it and you make that your field.

For example, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. After my graduate program and my licensure, I went onto study at the CG Jung Institute here in Los Angeles.  Here I learned dream analysis and sand tray work, and that's one of my specializations. So that's how we do it.

ADRIANA:  Uh‑huh. Yeah.

SUSAN:  Is that clear?  

ADRIANA: Like she mentioned, there's different specializations, different courses, different continuing education credits that we also need to take throughout the year to continue with licensure as well and that's part of the courses that add time to take as well.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  It's a great topic that you guys bring to the table regarding specializations.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  As a recent MS graduate in counseling, one of the decisions I had to make when looking at the counseling professions was what environment I wanted to be included in. So we're discussing quite a bit about the chemical aspect of it, which was not my niche area—


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  —I chose that I wanted to provide counseling services outside that format.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  And I actually got my rehabilitation counseling MS degree.


AUDIENCE MEMBER:  So one of the things for those individuals in a community that are considering counseling, I think it's important for them to think about the environment. If it's a clinical setting that works best for them or other settings. 

ADRIANA:  Exactly.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  The other thing is the degree. Some degrees in counseling allow you to work in specialized areas and some of them allow you to work in all of those areas ‑‑ or most of those areas. So I realized with the rehabilitation degree, it allowed me the opportunity to work in a number of settings whether it's in court settings to—

>>  Yeah.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  —to classroom settings. So for those individuals who are considering counseling, make sure they clearly understand the area they want to provide their gifts—

ADRIANA:  Correct.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  —and services. And then also look at the limitations and benefits of both counseling aspects.

SUSAN:  Well said.

ADRIANA:  Absolutely. Yeah, very well said.

SUSAN:  Where did you do your program?  


>>  Oh, nice.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I graduated this past May.

SUSAN:  Congratulations.

ADRIANA:  Congratulations. Yes, good job. [Applause]. That's awesome. Good work.

SUSAN:  Where did you do court therapy? Are you going to do forensic psychology?   

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  No. No. No. PCC, you mentioned earlier on, so I'm over at PCC right now.

ADRIANA:  That's good. Good to hear. Yeah.

LLYR:  Because there's so many different varieties of careers, can you talk about a day in the life. What do your days look like? Do you set your own hours?  

SUSAN:  Sure. 

ADRIANA:  Yes. Yes. You can go first.

SUSAN:  Do you want me to go first?  

ADRIANA:  Yeah, go for it.

SUSAN:  Okay. Well, of course, it depends on your work setting, what you choose, and what your specializations are. So in the handout that went around, there's a list of all the different types of therapists including doctors that you can be.

Of course, the day would be very different for say a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications and does less counseling they usually give you about 15‑20 minutes, if you've ever had that experience, and then they prescribe medication. They want to know what issues are going on in your life, but the weekly therapy—the really deep work—happens with us.

So because we're independent contractors, we set our own schedules. I start—I'm not a real morning person—so I start at 10:00 or 11:00 and work until 7:00 or 8:00 Tuesday through Saturday. And there are breaks in between. I'm responsible for making sure that my slots are filled, that I'm seeing enough clients to make an income that I can live from.

We're both on many insurance panels, which is fortunate.

Phone calls in between sessions are usually 45 to 50 minutes long. And we have to—we're accountable to make our clinical notes and our confidential notes about the session, how it's progressing, what changes the person is going through, any new issues that have come up.

LLYR:  How about your day?  

ADRIANA:  So my day, like Susan mentioned, depends where you are working. When I was working at the agency where I did the intensive program, there's never a dull moment per se. With that program, I work 24/7 meaning 24 hours a day 7 days a week if needed. I was called at 3 a.m., 2 a.m., after my work day. I worked long hours, collaborated with social workers, attorneys, probation officers, worked with families, facilitated meetings. So a lot of work, phone calls, individual sessions, therapy sessions, crisis intervention as well, hospitalizations if there was an active suicidality going on as well. A lot—

SUSAN: As independent contractors, we are on‑call 24 hours if a client has an emergency—

ADRIANA:  Yes, correct.

SUSAN:  ‑‑ in the middle of the night.

ADRIANA:  Yes, so... I did a lot of work too—I worked with a lot of youth as well. So I like to integrate whatever their strengths are. So in that program, we were allowed the flexibility if somebody really enjoyed hiking, we would go for a hike. If somebody really enjoyed art, I would bring that so pulling from strengths to be able to go through the healing journey as well.

With Soultenders, the program—it's not a program. It's more individual sessions. So we—I still pull the strengths, but it's the limitations in regards to the hiking and the running is more on that person. So it depends on what program you're working for as well.

With Soultenders, my day‑to‑day—I'm an early bird. If I have a 7:00 a.m. session, I'm there. So I start really early. Even if I start early, I always end my day by 5:00, 6:00 Monday through Friday. I am also making calls, if I need to write a letter, making my notes as well. I like to keep up‑to‑date, so I'm constantly, if I'm in between sessions, I'm looking up how I can help, interventions, reading a book, watching a TED Talk, doing something to again feed my brain to be able to provide that piece needed to the work that I do as well. So that's what my every day looks like, yeah. 

SUSAN:  There are specific guidelines, rules, law and ethics that we both need to follow. So if you're going into this field, I really recommend you joining a professional organization for your—for whatever specialization you're going into.

For example, there's the Association of Marriage and Family Therapists specifically California. We call it CAMFT. There are ethics that are talked about in a monthly publication that are attached to laws.

For example, we can't accept gifts because that would change the relationship between the client and the therapist. Generally, unless it's an emergency, we stay ‑‑ we meet at the office. We don't go for a hike.

ADRIANA: Which is a difference with the programs, it depends on the program you're working on and following the law and ethics. Even if that's something that you're doing, it's still important for us to follow those laws and those ethics. 

That is part of the test that you take after you have those 3000 hours, and it's still part of the continuing educations that we follow those laws and ethics to also help and protect the people that we're working with as well.

In regards to that too, do you have anything else?  

SUSAN:  If you're working for say the Department of Children and Family Services, they have a program called Wrap Around, which Adriana has worked in.

That's a very different kind of therapy. You actually go to the person's home. You do interventions with the family. You may actually sit on the floor and build Legos while you talk to the parents. You may help get them housing or bus tokens or food from food pantry. There's really a very wide range of types of therapy that you can be a part of, you can become.

ADRIANA:  Exactly, yes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I wanted to add to that different types of therapy for counselors and therapies particularly the younger population, one of the things that the mayor of Los Angeles is working towards and hopefully federal government will be a part of is providing virtual therapy and counseling sessions. So a lot of logistical paperwork going on with that, but for those of you that are planning on pursuing counseling professions and therapy— therapy and counseling careers, excuse me. Look at that because it's going to be a brand new market for you guys to really tap into and really charter and navigate the way that ethically those services will be provided ‑‑

ADRIANA:  Correct.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: — as well as you'll set the bar. So take a look at that. That's a new thing that's happening.


AUDIENCE MEMBER: How much schooling do you need to be a online suicide prevention person?  

ADRIANA:  How much—I'm sorry. I missed the first part.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Like the school and like the training, what does one need to do to become that?  

ADRIANA:  To work a hotline?  Like the Trevor Project or something else?  


ADRIANA:  So with that, it depends on—some of their job descriptions may require you to already have a degree. Or, for example, when I was going through applying to the program, I needed some of that clinical experience, and they themselves give you some the training before you do that.

So, for example, Project Sister, where I helped with the survivors of sexual abuse, I didn't have a Master's in psychology, but I was working toward it and I became certified by attending their five‑day training. So you are able to gain that experience before getting into a program before, and that is also very helpful when you're applying to programs. So a lot of the times they will give you that training beforehand.

SUSAN:  As a volunteer or as an employee.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Do those hours count toward the 3000?  

ADRIANA:  They count only after you finished the degree, and if you're receiving supervision.  So not necessarily the volunteer hours. Because I do outside volunteer work with the Soldiers Project and with CAST and I don't count them unless I'm doing them individual (Multiple speakers) I implement them here and there. I really like working with veteran population post 9 or in general, but they help post 9/11 on.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  [Inaudible/indiscernible] what's your stance or fireworks or 4th of July since sometimes that triggers it? Do you think that fireworks should be outlawed during 4th of July?  How do you think that impacts veterans that you work with?  

ADRIANA:  That's a good question. I haven't thought about that. But in regards to, it's a lot of the work that we do within that individual. So we individualize that treatment to help them work through it, manage it, cope with it. It's something we would do at an individual level with them.

SUSAN:  Yeah, we wouldn't take away the fireworks because triggers for trauma can be everywhere. So our goal would be to—

ADRIANA:  —identify the trigger, yeah.

SUSAN:  And to help them that way.

ADRIANA: Great question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What is an average—like let's say how many people you have a day, what's the average to make like a good income?  

SUSAN: That's a very good question and it's an ethical question. Twenty people a week is considered full‑time for a therapist. And it depends what agency you're working with, it depends what level therapist you are. There's—that's a very big question.


SUSAN:  So it depends what your financial goal are, but I would not see more— personally 33 is my max. I know that about myself.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  How about you?  

ADRIANA:  Yeah, it also depends the program you're working in. For example in intensive program, you won't have more than 12 because of the intensity of the work. But like at Soul Tenders, about 20‑25, 30 average.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I wanted to share a suggestion regarding those individuals interested in counseling and becoming therapists. Regardless of your age, whether you're a kid or a seasoned adult, I do recommend volunteering.  Even if it doesn't apply, at this moment to your degree, please do that because therapist credentials and counseling credentials to get into those programs are very competitive.

I have met students with 4.0 GPAs and they were denied getting those programs because they need more than a great GPA. They need to have experience working or being in the environment of counseling and therapy places and institutions.

So for those of you who are thinking about it, you know, check out Red Cross.

SUSAN:  Wonderful.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Check out your YMCA. Any environment. Each hour, each moment you spend towards that, gives you the ability during your vetting process, as a potential therapist or counselor, will be weighted towards that. So please remember that. That's key to getting into the program because, again, all of the schools now are impacted.


SUSAN: Thank you.

ADRIANAAnd it is key because, as I mentioned earlier, me starting my career, I was a business major and I did not have that experience, but I knew I needed to get other experience before applying which was part of the work that I did. I did a lot of volunteer work and research as well to get into the graduate program.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Even the community colleges, all of them are following that particular platform. You need to bring something to the table. That's what they need to know about you other than from your other GPA.

SUSAN:  And of course now we're in the technological age, so there's many more requirements we have to be familiar with. We use a program called Simple Practice, which is a way to confidently keep notes, track billing, and keep our—that's it.

ADRIANA:  Better communication.

SUSAN:  Better communication, and we can record phone calls or e‑mails.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I had a question about what it's been in your careers with insurance or cash pay patient? A lot of insurance not covering mental health, how do you make a living [Inaudible/indiscernible] versus cash patients?  

LLYR:  In other words, do you have sliding scales for those who don't have insurance?  

ADRIANA: Uh‑huh.We do. At Soultenders, we're fortunate to be paneled under a lot of insurance whether it's Anthem Medi‑Cal, whether it's ETNA, whether it's Anthem in general.  We are paneled under different insurance, and we do have a sliding scale for those—with our associates—from $40 to about $80 for those that do not have insurance.

LLYR:  So we have about ten more minutes. Do we have any more questions?  

ADRIANA:  Oh, wow that went by fast.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Do you get any stress from listening to all these stories?   [Inaudible]

SUSAN: Of course.

ADRIANA:  Going through all the schooling, the experience that we get, and going through our own therapy really helps to help differentiate that. And really, at the end of the day, for me personally, I love being there for somebody and providing that support so that kind of takes away from that—and a lot of self-care.

We always talk about self-care not only for people we're working with, but for ourselves as well. Something like this is self-care, right, because we're out here talking about what we do, advocating for it, destigmatizing that. So a lot of it is taking care of ourselves as well.

Because we do hear a lot of information and stuff and events that everybody experiences, right, so it's important for us to take care of ourselves especially because we keep that confidential, right. It's not like we can go home and if you're having whatever it is and you talk about—you can't. That's why we have our groups—

SUSAN:  Supervisions.

ADRIANA:  —Our supervisions. So we can consult on a professional level that we are also taking care of us.

SUSAN: There's actually a title for that and it's called—oh, my brain. I just had a senior moment—transference and counter-transference is the name that we put on that. And that is, of course, we have our own life experiences.  That, you know, if you come to me and your brother has passed, well my brother may have passed. So I want to talk to Adriana about that because I may have feelings that have come up. Gee, I had this client who came in today and we had this bonding moment, but it made me sad and reminded me of the grief that I've been through.

We hold our clients. We call it holding. The more experienced you are, the easier it is to be in a flow with it. In the beginning, we're sometimes a little bit more traumatized.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: What like your office like though?  I'm curious about that. Is it [Inaudible/indiscernible]


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do you have a chair, and another chair with lollipops? [Inaudible]

ADRIANA:  I love that question. And it's different as well for Susan. She will have this wonderful sand tray and it's calming in there. I know. So it's wonderful and she can share a little bit more. I just love walking into your office and seeing that.

SUSAN:  I light a candle. I have a couch. Some people lay down, some people sit up. I also have a straight back chair. Some people come in and sit in the chair. I stay in the same place and keep ‑‑ we try to keep our clients coming in at the same time, same day of week to provide a continuity.

ADRIANA: Yeah, to keep that consistent for them. It depends if you work more with children, you're going to have a lot more toys or stuffed animals or puppets, whatever it is to work with. So it depends on the age that you work with as well.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  What is the difference between getting a license in counseling and a non‑license?  

ADRIANA:  Can you repeat that?  

AUDIENCE MEMBER: So what's the difference of getting a license in the, I guess, in the psychology field versus not getting a license?  


AUDIENCE MEMBER: Like can one practice without a license?  


ADRIANA: Yes, well you have a certain amount of time—you're not going to be able to renew—for example, for myself, they give you a certain amount of time to be an associate after you are done with your graduate degree. If not, that expires and you have to reapply for another number. So the goal is to become licensed. Whether it's an LMFT licensed marriage family therapist, a licensed clinical social worker, the psychologist also works towards are hours to become licensed as well.

SUSAN: In the handout, we sent to you, it will tell you there are different levels and what you need to do and what schooling you need to have in order to get that degree.

There is a type of counseling that requires no license and that is life coaching. I'm sure l you've heard of that. You just know what you're getting into. You know, that you're not seeing a licensed professional. You're choosing someone who has a lifestyle that you want. So maybe you emulate yourself after them.

LLYR:  Another question that comes up often—I know we're running out of time—

ADRIANA:  Oh, no.

LLYR: —is diversity. So diversity in the workplace, with the therapist.  And also, if people are multilingual, does that help? Does it broaden your client base?  

SUSAN: Yes. We all have to have special training no matter who we are on here to work with a diverse population. We learn about different cultures. We learn about the family systems in those cultures so that we can be sensitive to language, ways of thinking, and patterns of behavior.

ADRIANA:  And speaking another language does help. I speak Spanish. I love working with anybody and it's particular to utilizing my Spanish to be able to provide therapy to for our Spanish speaking populations as well.

SUSAN:  And many therapist jobs are requiring that now if you want to work for an agency.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Is it something you're shown at the agency or is it at the college level?  

>> [Inaudible] Learning another language?

>>  At the cultural... 

>> Oh, through school.

SUSAN:  It's a passion of mine. I was involved when I was at Pacific Oaks in creating something called an anti-bias curriculum. That was in the 80's when we started that, and it was about the time when dolls became available that looked like all people. Books, TV personalities, justice— social justice has always been very important to me and a passion, which is why I chose the school I went to because they were known for that. So, yes. In your Master's program, if you're going for an LMFT or clinical psychology, you must take every semester a class about diversity, and you examine your own biases because we all have them, right.

ADRIANA: Exactly.

SUSAN:  Does that answer your question? Great.

LLYR: Thank you so much. We are out of time. This has been wonderful. Thank you. you..joining us, and thank you audience for joining us. [Applause]


DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning.  The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding.