a boutique counseling experience

Introducing Amanda Lo MSW, APSW, LCSW

Join Laurie Groh, as she speaks to Amanda Lo about her work with clients. Learn more about how Amanda views therapy and how she works with clients.

Who do you help? Ideal client?

What is your general philosophy and approach to helping? Are you more directive or more guiding?

What are your strengths as a therapist?

What can a client expect to experience in a session with you?

What are your client's results after coming to see you?

Contact Amanda


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4530 N Oakland Ave
Whitefish Bay, WI 53211

Video Transcript

Laurie: Hi, my name is Laurie Groh. I'm co-owner at Shoreside Therapies, and today we have Amanda Lo with us, and we're going to talk a bit about Amanda and the way she does therapy and just get to know her a little bit better today. So thanks for being here, Amanda.

Amanda: Thank you, Laurie. It's a pleasure to be here, and I am happy to be here to talk to everyone who may be watching. My name is Amanda, she/her pronouns, and I am new to Shoreside, so I'm really looking forward to beginning my practice.

Laurie: Yes, we're happy to have you, so thanks for coming, and we're just going to go over typical questions that people want to know. So the first question is: who do you help? Who would be your ideal client?

Amanda: Yeah, great question, thank you. You know I love working with a wide variety of clients, a little bit about my background. I come from higher education and primarily worked with college students all throughout my career. So college students who may be struggling academically or needing, you know, a little bit of guidance with career exploration, individuals who might be navigating college as a first generation student. Those are all individuals that I enjoy working with. Apart from that, I really enjoy working with individuals who may have had a negative experience in therapy in the past. I really love partnering with those individuals to do a lot of what I would say is corrective counseling work. I really enjoy working with people of color. I think that's a large passion of mine, and that's really informed by my own experiences of navigating mental health and trying to find my own therapist of color as well. And so now that I am on the other side, being a Therapist myself, I really enjoy working with individuals who might be seeking to find a counselor or therapist who shares similar lived experiences or shared identities. And you know I consider myself a generalist. I work with all kinds of individuals, who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, and drama, and I love working with individuals who may be experiencing grief and loss and just going through those transitions because life is challenging.

Laurie: Yes, very challenging. Yeah, there's always UPS and downs. So basically, your ideal client is either a college student that might be going through some difficult times, having difficulty finding their path, just the typical things that might be going on with a college student, or the nontypical things that would be going on with a college student. People love color as well, and it is so important to have somebody that can somewhat see where you're coming from. I feel like that makes a huge difference in feeling connected, and it's a very, very, very difficult thing to find therapists of color. So I think that that's going to be really, really important, that people would be feeling like they can talk to you, and it does sound like the grief is another area, and then the general anxiety and depression that might come along, so they get.

Amanda: Right, yes, you did, Laurie. Thank you for emphasizing that.

Laurie: Yes, all right, so what are your strengths as a counselor? What would you say that would be?

Amanda: Yeah, you know, I think my strength as a counselor is, you know, the ability to be able to meet my clients where they are. I consider myself an individual who is very personable and can easily connect with the clients that I work with, and so I bring a lot of you know myself into the space that I share with my clients. I don't mind, I think a lot of therapists may have different points of view on this, but I really don't mind self-disclosure as long as it's, you know, beneficial to my clients and as long as my clients, you know, request, you know specific questions that might help them to feel like they are not alone, and so I bring a lot of myself into this space, and I truly believe that that's really helpful and beneficial in the therapeutic relationship, in the process that we go through, and so I think that those two are really the proof of who I am as a therapist, of meeting my clients where they are and then being able to bring myself and humanizing myself. I'm not just a therapist; I am human, just like you, who goes through a lot of different life concerns and life issues as well that I go through, and I really want to be able to share that with my clients.

Laurie: Yes, yes, that's so important. It does seem like one of the things I notice with my clients, in particular, is that feeling of being alone out there with experiences. And so when somebody does ask, you know, have you experienced this or what was this like? For you to be able to share that in a therapeutic, meaningful way, I think, is so valuable and, of course, meeting people where they're at and not expecting them to get to, to get first to the A, to B, to C and moving as slow as they need to, because change is hard and the whole process can be very difficult.

Amanda: Yeah, exactly, and which is why, all the more, I try to bring myself into that space with them and normalize just the struggles of life.

Laurie: All right, so Amanda, tell me a bit about what a client could expect in a session with you.

Amanda: Yeah, you know, it really depends on how far along we are in the therapeutic process that we've been in. If it's, you know, when we are starting out, you know, I do kind of like a brief assessment of, you know, what the client is going through, what they might be coming in for as we progress in therapy. I always begin with just how are you right? I'd love to know how you've been doing since our last appointment; just kind of normalizing those check-ins. I usually go over a brief recap of our previous appointments. I don't know about you, but my brain gets really foggy. Sometimes I forget what I had for dinner, and so I'd like to have just to make sure that we are on the same page. I like to do just those regular check-ins. Are you meeting the goals that you and I set out to do at the end of our last, you know, our last meeting, and the reason why I do that is really that I really think it's important to make sure that we're making progress in therapy. I always tell my clients that one of my biggest fears, as an individual and as a therapist, is that you've wasted you feel like they've wasted an hour of their life being in with me, and so I keep my clients pretty accountable to the things that we talk about because I think that true change happens outside of a 60-minute session, whether they or big, or small. I go kind of with solution focus, but you know, more than anything, in the space that is with my clients is really meeting them where they are at. What do you want to bring into the session today? What are some things that might be helpful for us to go through? So listen empathetically, I do a lot of validation, and then I also challenge as needed.

Laurie: Yeah, and that's great, and I think that accountability for a lot of people is so important and valuable. Just in general, a lot of lot of individuals do need a little bit of that outside accountability to meet their goals, and so that's something to hear. Quite a bit of all right. I need to be accountable for this. This is what I'm going to be doing next week, and being able to remember and recap and keep things on track, I think, is extremely important for clients. All right, so what results could a client expect after seeing you? I mean, obviously they. They vary, right.

Amanda: Yeah, I mean, I echo that right. It does vary from, you know, client to client and what they are, you know, coming into there before especially, I can speak to the students of color that I've worked with in the past of just this kind of common narrative, of it's been so hard to find a therapist of color, and I've had such negative experiences in the past, not necessarily because the therapist was a bad therapist, but maybe more so of the student. You know, college students who are looking more for connection and looking for. You know their might, who might connect with them through sheer lived experiences. A lot of those students expressed to me that, you know, being able to find a therapist of color has been. It has, you know, just allowing them to sit, allowing them to have to explain who they are or what they go through, has been really powerful for a lot of my students, and so I really love to be able to. You know, I would just hear when students tell me that simply by being a person of color, I've been a large help. Apart from that, individuals who've had negative experiences and counseling have shared with me in the past. Before that, I've been able to correct their experience in therapy, that they came in ambivalent, but they are leaving feeling self-sustainable, feeling like they can, you know, move on towards life and whether they might feel like they have an anxious cycle or fall into a depressive rut, that they know the skills that they have in really empowering them to be able to use that, and so I think that is just one of many now beat back that I've received from my clients in the past that has really uplifted who I am as a therapist too, and so I think that's just one of many that my previous clients have shared with me.

Laurie: That's awesome, that's so great, and that corrective therapy. I don't know if I've actually ever heard that term, but I could see how valuable that would be because there are many instances where a client will come in and say they maybe had a negative experience or just not what they were looking for. And I just want to say to anyone out there: you deserve to find the right person, you know somebody that's going to listen to you, that you feel connected with the cause. The truth of the matter is: nothing is going to change if you don't trust and respect the person you're talking to, so don't give up, right? There's going to be somebody; there's going to be somebody for you. So I love that idea.

Amanda: Yeah, I mean, that's all-important law. I mean, just adding to what you're sharing. That's one thing that I'm pretty passionate about too is when you know, talk to clients of mine who are moving out-of-state or, you know, moving institutions, and they express to me: is it okay that I ask for what I want in a therapist and always respond with absolutely right? Truthfully, you know, for clients, you spend your time, your money, and your resources to find a therapist who is a good fit, and I like to think a little bit about it. You know, I'm not just going to be in a committed relationship with someone I don't know right, someone that I don't like, and so in the same way, it's kind of that therapy therapeutic relationship is. I want to find a therapist who I can connect well with, especially if I'm going to spend all this time, money, and resources.

Laurie: Right, right exactly, and I think it does make a ton of sense just to focus back on that relationship piece. You know, I think of therapy as a place to practice relational skills, and it's a place where you can feel safe, hopefully doing that, so asking the therapist questions or even saying, hey, this is what you said last time, and I have just been thinking about it all week. Can we talk a little bit more about it? It can really empower somebody that has maybe some anxiety about bringing up tough conversations with people because it doesn't have to be scary to have a conflict or to confront. And I think even confronting can be such a tough word. But really, just can you tell me more about why this was a suggestion or why you said this? You know, I do think that being open as a therapist is extremely useful for a client's experience.

Amanda: I love what you just said, Laurie. I mean, building on that too. I always tell a lot of my clients that the work that we are doing in the space, yes, it's really hard, but it's the preparation is building your compacity to be able to go outside of our theoretical space and be able to build and use those skills and other interpersonal relationships or other different life events that may have come up.

Laurie: All right, well, thanks so much, Amanda. It was so nice talking with you, and you will be starting January second. So what we're going to do is we'll open up your schedule, so anyone would like to schedule with Amanda. You can go to our website, and you should be able to schedule a 15-minute consult. That's free, or you can go ahead and just do a first initial assessment with Amanda, and you can go from there. Otherwise, you can email her with any questions, and we'll have that information right on our website. So thanks for being with us, and thanks again, Amanda.

Amanda: Thank you so much.

Laurie: All right, take care; thank you.

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  • Introducing Amanda Lo MSW, APSW, LCSW