Alexis Hunter is the Director of Professional Relations at Chrysalis Center. She serves in a hybrid role of overseeing all aspects of Human Resources and Marketing.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be introducing you to some of our clinical staff. I want you to get to know our team so that when you make the first step in scheduling with a therapist, you may have an idea of who to see. Thinking of making that first step? Call our office today at (910) 790-9500 or email email@example.com.
Emily Lockamy is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in grief and loss, mood disorders, and eating disorders.
Why did you decide to become a therapist?
I have always been so interested in people’s inner landscapes and relational dynamics. It’s what led me to study theater in college, where I was introduced to the field of drama therapy. Learning about how the creative arts can be used as a vehicle for healing inspired my desire to become a counselor. It’s remarkable to me how resilient humans are, and how impactful therapy can be at helping individuals unlock their potential. I feel so fortunate to be able to use my background and training to help people overcome struggles and improve the quality of their lives.
I’ve never been to therapy. What should I expect during therapy appointments with you?
You can expect to be met with warmth, acceptance, and understanding. You can expect to learn a lot about yourself and your worldview. And, you can expect to gain new ways of thinking, relating, and coping that can promote more effective functioning, more meaningful connections, and a greater sense of fulfillment.
As a person-centered counselor, I consider clients to be the “experts” on their lives. Each session I listen attentively and with empathy to their experience. I ask questions and provide insights aimed at helping my clients move through grief, identify inner conflicts, process difficult events, challenge maladaptive patterns, manage and alleviate symptoms, clarify their values, cultivate self-compassion, and develop new perceptions that better serve them. I offer coping skills, resources, and homework as needed.
I feel honored to hold space for my clients’ pain and support them in enacting positive change. I reassure new clients that there’s a reason I have a box of tissues next to the couch – it’s more than okay to cry and “fall apart” in counseling. It’s also okay to laugh (and there’s more of that in therapy than you might imagine!). In fact, allowing the experience of vulnerability by accepting and expressing emotions without judgment is an integral part of freeing oneself from suffering and distress.
What is different about talking to a therapist than talking to a good friend?
Therapy can often be mistaken for a space in which people “just talk” or “vent” about their problems, as they would with a good friend. But there are major differences between working with a counselor and talking to a good friend (something that’s healthy and important in its own right!). A counselor can offer a more objective perspective using evidence-based practices tailored to an individual’s support needs and strengths, and informed by years of education and training in counseling psychology theory and research. This means that each remark or response from a qualified counselor (whether it’s a question, reflection, or moment of silence) is intentional and grounded in a therapeutic intervention or approach that is shown to facilitate healthier coping and to guide people towards personal growth.
In addition, the therapeutic alliance is not reciprocal in the same way a friendship is. The hour you spend with a counselor is all about you, so there’s no need to feel like you’re over-sharing or “burdening” someone with your concerns. Therapy’s also not “effortless” (the way some friendships can feel). It’s a process that takes work, patience, practice, and commitment. And like most pursuits in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get back.
What book are you reading, or podcast are you listening to right now?
In addition to reading clinical literature that keeps me engaged and up to date in my field, I love reading literary fiction and am always in the midst of a novel. I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and am about to start Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao. My three favorite novels that I’ve read this year are: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, and Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee. To me, reading adds so much depth and richness to life and I love sharing book recommendations with clients who also enjoy reading and use it as a coping mechanism.
Fun Fact about Emily…
Emily is a proud mom to two little boys and spends most of her time outside of work at the park, playground, and soccer field.