Francesca Parker

Often people believe they need to have a clinical diagnosis to seek therapy, or that something must be wrong with them if they do. But everyone has tough times and sometimes you need a nonjudgmental person to listen with an experienced ear to help you process your difficulties and learn how to validate and empower yourself in order to improve your self-esteem. Coming from a bicultural Latinx and American household in a part of Canada where few spoke Spanish, I have learned that your friends can’t always understand what you are going through and sometimes you need the right guide to help you feel like your best self. I have experience counseling people in rehab for substance abuse, children with disabilities, pregnant women, and heart surgery patients and their families. With all of these clients I have used skills from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), psychodynamic therapy, and solution/goal oriented therapy to help them manage their anxiety or depression and feel validated. I am all about setting goals and having little victories along the way, while understanding why that is sometimes hard for us to do. – BSW/MSW Skidmore/Columbia

 

  • Are there any philosophies or values that inform my work ?

I really value getting to know you as a person and recognizing what strengths, goals, and accomplishments you are capable of/already achieving. I really live by the mindset of “this happened—how am I responding to it? why am I responding this way? and what can I do next to process and move forward?”

  • My perspective on therapy?

Therapy, to me, is an opportunity to talk and reflect with the hopes of learning why you react to things the way you do. Be it from views growing up, certain values, how you handle stress, etc. everything in our life really affects how we create relationships with others and sometimes you need a third party who is separated from the situation to work through it with you.

  • My training beyond my post-Bachelor’s training?

Through my masters I obtained skills in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapies, motivational interviewing, psychoeducation, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), trauma informed therapy, and adapted play therapy.

  • How will you benefiting from working with me?

I believe in goal-setting to allow seeing progress. If we feel like there is no progress and we are both putting in the work, then likely there is a lack of benefit. Also, therapy is a lot like shopping. Sometimes there can be a cool person buying a cool shirt but the shirt does not work with that person. Not everyone can mesh and everyone has their own preferences for what they need.

  • Will you feel stuck, unseen, or unheard?

I like to give homework/activities in order to track progress. If there is no progress happening, I like to explore why that is and sometimes feelings of being stuck come up. Also, from working with substance use patients, I have been able to identify some body signs of being reluctant, hesitant, and having a lack of hope.

  • My approach to diversity in the room or working with clients who may come from a different background than me?

I like to explore diversity through conversation, as everyone is the expert of their own experience. At the core of every person are behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that can be difficult to process. Your background, upbringing, race, culture, etc. does affect all of that and I encourage bringing those conversations into the room.

  • How long should you commit to being in therapy, at least in the beginning?

I believe take it week by week. Three sessions is generally how long I tell people to try out a new therapist before deciding if it is not a fit. Other than that, it depends on the treatment plan.

  • How participatory am I during sessions?

Again, it really depends on how the interaction is. Some people need me to smile and nod while they talk and they figure things out on their own, others need a bit more guidance. It really depends.

  • How should you prepare for your first session with me?

Come open and willing! Potentially think of a few things that are causing you stress to give a jumping off point, otherwise bring yourself and an open mind!

  • How will our relationship be different than relationships you have with friends/loved ones?

Friends and families are generally biased or have too much personal involvement in your certain life situations. As a therapist, I am a third party listener who works with you to look at your life from an unbiased, external opinion.

  • If you have never been to therapy before, what should you expect? How do you know if you should go, and how do you start?

You are the expert of your own experience. If you feel off or you want to go to therapy due to a life transition or stress and anxiety, you are the expert on yourself and will know when. So congratulations on starting and taking the first few tough steps! What you should expect is to have someone listen to you and explore different areas of your life; Through these explorations, you’ll work together to figure out how to go about changing and maintaining the lifestyle you want.

  • Is there ever a time when I would encourage you to leave or graduate? Or how do you know when it’s time to end or move on, or time to stay and explore more?

It is a joint decision! And it depends on what your goals and needs are. I believe therapy is very goal-based, once you reach a point where you feel confident making your own goals and steps, as well as have met all of our goals, then it could be time to graduate.

  • Some anonymized examples of how our work could play out and/or look in the room so that you can form a visual or narrative of what to expect.

I had a patient, Mr. H, who was admitted for alcohol use disorder. When asked about his triggers, he mentioned he had no trigger to using, only to the woman he loves and that when he is with her he uses. He said he planned to never see her again. However, the more we talked he began saying he was a “generous person” and that he was hoarding snacks so that he could bring them to her. In this moment, I told him his homework was to eat his snacks and to focus on himself. In that moment he realized, with a little more guidance, that by hoarding this food he was subconsciously making a reason to see her again. Mr. S was admitted for crack and alcohol use. When I asked him about his mental health, he denied any diagnoses. He was very reluctant to talk and so I met him where he was and carried on through the questions without pushing him to elaborate. At one point, I asked a question regarding mental health and afterwards went, “oh wait you had told me no mental health, okay let’s continue.” He stopped me and disclosed he had PTSD, anxiety, and depression and began to explain how he was a veteran and due to that has trouble trusting people and completing paperwork. At this point I was able to ask more questions regarding trauma history, triggers, etc. which he would not have opened up had I pushed him too far in the beginning.

  • What is the best part of the work for me?

I really enjoy the conversations I have with people. It is rewarding to see people begin to start understanding themselves better, and those moments where there is a breakthrough are some of my favorites.

  • What is unique about the work I do, or how have I found my work to be different than my colleagues’?

The most important part of the work for me is how I form therapeutic relationships with my clients. I work very hard to meet clients where they are at and to emphasize recognizing accomplishment and what you are capable of.

  • What led me to become a mental healthcare practitioner?

I always joked I was the “therapist” of my friend group. Then, in high school, my brother went through a depressive episode. At that point, I wanted to work with others, specifically families, who had to go through similar experiences regarding their family members. I then went to college where I had a teacher for my politics class who was the chair of social work. He encouraged me to take intro to social work. From there the rest is history as I fell in love with the work

  • Where did I work before going into private practice?

I have worked in an elementary school with students who had autism, mood disorders, ADHD, anxiety, etc.; an inpatient hospital for patients pre and post invasive heart surgery; as well as an outpatient OB/GYN clinic where I worked with pregnant women and mothers with their children. Just recently I worked in a substance use facility doing inpatient detox and rehab.

  • Do I assign homework, activities, or readings for you to do between sessions? Why or why not?

Depends! If, while talking, we identify some areas or patterns that are difficult for you, I will give homework. I try to help you identify patterns while we are talking, and sometimes patterns can be broken through homework. A lot of therapy is learning what works for you, and I believe it is difficult to figure that out unless you try different activities and homework.

  • How much do I share about myself during our time together and why?

Generally, if there is a purpose behind it that will move our work forward or benefit our working relationship, I will share. I am very open, but therapy is about going through your experiences and I do not want to take away from your time by sharing information about myself.

 

For more information, find me on www.resiliencelab.us or call us on +1 833 7756252 (RSLNCLB) to schedule a consultation with me today!