a boutique counseling experience

Introducing Julie Abdullah, M.S. LPC-IT

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 are your clients results after coming to see you?

Video Transcript

Laurie: My name is Laurie Groh and today we're here with Julie Abdul and she is a brand-new therapist at Shoreside Therapies, not brand-new to the field, but she is new at Shoreside, so I thought it would be great for all of you to get to know Julie a little bit better. Julie specializes in OCD, trauma, anxiety and depression, just to name a few, so welcome.

Julie: Thanks, Laurie, thanks for having me. I'm really excited to do this with you today.

Laurie: Thanks, you're taking the time to do it, so we are going to go through some questions today just to get to know you a little bit better, and so first one is: who do you help and who's your ideal client? A lot of times when someone's looking for a therapist, you know there's so many different people to choose from, and figuring out who's the therapist that's going to be right for me is really helpful. At least you know, in the search portion to figure out, is Julie going to be a good fit? So tell me a little bit about your ideal client.

Julie: Yeah, absolutely so. Like you said, my background is mainly in OCD, anxiety, depression and trauma. In general, I would say my ideal client is someone who's hoping to have a better relationship with their emotions. You know some people might experience kind of both sides of a spectrum between avoiding emotions and then kind of overtime, being unsure of what those look like or how to feel, and then, on the other hand, emotions such as anxiety or sadness can get really overwhelming. And so ideally I'm helping people kind of navigate how they can accomplish their goals in life and improve their behaviors that are really affected by these emotions that come up.

Laurie: So somebody that may be struggling with some deciphering and figuring out what they're feeling, how to navigate their life with some of the overwhelming feelings that they might have.

Julie: Yeah, absolutely, and we've seen such a rise in anxiety because of all the ways the pandemic has affected people right now, and coming to therapy to learn more about yourself and how to deal with those changes in a healthier way is such a great, just thing to do for yourself. So I look forward to helping people kind of navigate that for themselves.

Laurie: Yeah, we definitely have seen a huge increase in anxiety and depression and right now, as we're still kind of transitioning back to what might feel like normal regular life, there's so many different obstacles now, because one thing is: are you going to feel comfortable going back to school right? And that was something coming up in the last few months of people adjusting that? In person activities in general can be pretty stressful and part of it's just really we're not used to it and it does take a while just to adjust to, you know, getting back into things. So I think that's a really great area to focus in on.

Julie: Yeah, absolutely

Laurie: Julia, the next question is: what's your general philosophy and approach to helping? So you know an example would be: are you more directive or more guiding? Tell us a little bit about how you do therapy.

Julie: So I have experience with a few different philosophies and approaches to therapy, which I think is a really great asset, because I can apply different kinds of theories and skills to different kinds of people and help them reach their own goals and what, based on what they have for therapy. I think it is helpful for people that are experiencing a lot of overwhelming emotions to utilize skills from CBT cognitive behavioral therapy and just to look more into the relationship between their emotions and their behavior and their thoughts. That can be really opening and learning potential for people.

Laurie: So, Julie, with act just for some listeners that might not know what that is. You started to kind of talk a little bit about the unity between feelings, thoughts and behaviors, but could you speak about that just for a moment?

Julie: Yeah, so we call it the triangle in, so it's this relationship of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that really all affect one another, and in order to kind of get a full picture of why it is what we're feeling or why are we kind of having this habit that we really are trying to kick, it's helpful to look at that full picture and so CBT creates this, this broad lens for your life of you know how. How can we make change?

Laurie: Yeah, yeah, and I do like how CBT talks more about, or focuses more about, the thoughts and changing what those look like, not to get rid of, not to stop them necessarily. But can we challenge some of those thoughts? Can we shift or reframe? So I do think CBT can be really helpful.

Julie: Yeah, for sure, I also like to pull on DBT so that stands for dialectical behavior therapy. That's really great, for just a huge skill base. You know, practicing mindfulness can be really important for people, maybe skills around tolerating difficult emotions or distress. So I think that DBT skills are definitely incorporated for most people because those are really just helpful for challenges that we all face in life.

Laurie: Yeah, yeah, I do find that DBT works really well as well. So is it. Is it true that CBT and are somewhat related?

Julie: Yeah, you know they are. I would say both theories are looking at that relationship between thoughts, behaviors and emotions. DBT, again, is really skills based, so they merge really well together. You're doing the know, the mindfulness or the breathing, different skills in, DBT and then you're also kind of challenging those thoughts that we see in CBT so that that emerged can be really helpful for people.

Laurie: Yeah, so I think that would be really great for individuals looking for developing some better coping skills. Right that somebody wants to come in and learn specific concrete techniques. I mean everybody knows in therapy it's not just this straight line into doing better, doing better, doing better. But I do think a lot of people relate better to concrete information and building skills and practicing those skills.

Julie: Absolutely yeah, having something tangible that they can take home with them and really practice in the moment when they need it is super helpful.

Laurie: That is that so did I miss anything there? Julie? Was there other things that we didn't get to?

Julie: Well, I was going to add a little bit more as far as the directive or more guiding. I think it can be helpful to do both at times, and I'll explain. So a lot of people really crave and need validation and just someone to listen to, and I think that's a great opportunity to come to therapy. There might also be times where therapists like myself can push for change and help kind of implement those goals that you have in your life, and so I can kind of mold based on the clients goals for therapy to be more directive or more guiding. So I'd like to do a mix of both, based on you know what, what it is they're needing and how they're kind of responding to each of those strategies.

Laurie: I love that, Julie. I think that's so important. It did used to be where somebody just really chose one or the other or it just really aligned more with their personality. If they're more upfront directive person, then that's how their therapy is. But I think we started to figure out through the work is that some people need one or the other, so it might be if someone is more expressive and does talk more in session and is more open that they actually might need more skills versus helping to open up. You know there's two different types of people that come in to therapy, so I think that's awesome to be able to figure out what does this person need. Do they need real, clear directive advice, or is that just what's comfortable for them?

Julie: Sure, yeah, yeah, absolutely. That's something we can figure out together.

Laurie: Yeah, that's awesome, all right, so I would love to hear about your strength as a therapist.

Julie: Absolutely so. I think one of the main ones like we're just talking about is really being able to balance those two ideas of providing that listening ear while at the same time fostering change, and that really does get its basis in my DBT experience. So kind of that dialectical approach, of merging and blending to seemingly opposing ideas, but kind of finding the beauty and understanding you can get when you think flexibly in that way. So that's what I really like to implement. I also do a lot of hands-on work, so this is really helpful for clients who experience OCD or anxiety, and through that we do exposure therapy. So in session it might look like practicing those exposures, those things that are challenging for them, so that people feel a little more capable in between sessions to challenge these things in real life. So I might like role play or really explain kind of what it is, what an exposure is and how to challenge themselves. And that's three different ways to like coping skills and practicing mindfulness together as well.

Laurie: Julie, I think what you just shared is a lot of therapists kind of cringe at the role roleplaying, like most therapists are like, ugh, I don't want to do that, but it can be so helpful. Because it's right in the moment, practicing what that potential interaction might be and, you know, helping them in in real-time. I love that.

Julie: Yeah, I always like to say: you know it's hard to expect ourselves to really rely on doing that work well or practicing those coping skills well, unless you've practiced it before. So, being able to do it in session with me and kind of helping me to guide you through that and then doing it on your own, will just set you up for success.

Laurie: Right, right, and it just becomes easier with practice, like anything.

Julie: Absolutely.

Laurie: Yeah, that's great, so what I was hearing, then, is some of the strengths. What we talked about is using CBT, DBT, being flexible in the moment, recognizing what a client might be needing, and then also using techniques that maybe other therapists aren't using like role playing.

Julie: Yeah, absolutely, I think one other strength that I bring to the therapy room is just being another human with my clients. So I love to share personal experiences. You know how I challenge my own way of thinking, how I practice coping skills. I think it's super important to just feel less alone. When you hear other people's stories and it can be really rewarding to learn from one another. So I love to bring that, when it's relevant, to sessions with people.

Laurie: Yeah, I do think that's so important or our job is really to help people with their emotions and relationships. That old way of doing things was, you know, never share anything when it turns out that people have a hard time just building a relationship with you. If, if you, if you kind of look like you, know, you're this omnipresent person that never makes any mistakes, it's really hard to relate. So then they're not going to leave that session feeling like I can do this or I'm not alone. They're going to leave it potentially feeling like shameful or maybe even judged. You know. So I do think that that is a really important thing, really great change that I'm seeing a lot in therapist, so that's great.

Julie: I agree.

Laurie: Last question: what are your clients results after coming to see you? So a lot of times when clients are looking find a therapist, they do want to know. Should I see this person? Why should I see this person? And what can I expect? What would the result be Kind of hard to say, because everybody's so different. But what could somebody expect?

Julie: Yeah, I love to get goals from people kind of right off the bat so that we can create a game plan for how to accomplish them and even if they're coming without any specific goals, we can kind of figure out what it is that they're hoping to get out of therapy. But a lot of results, I think, can be measured, kind of more short-term and more long term in the shorter term, are more immediate. I like to do a lot of education around emotions, around ways to cope. Kind of you know, around mindfulness as well and how that can be used for for being more in the present and slowing down. So I really like to kind of load up on the education on the front-end and make sure that they're really feeling competent and how to again help them between sessions as well. In the more long term. I find that that can really translate into such a-level of confidence that wasn't there before in their ability to, you know, do hard things and tolerate things that they previously couldn't. And just being able to kind of almost be their own therapist after a while and be able to ask themselves the question that I might ask, and you know, work through difficult moments right on their own in a really successful way. That's the most rewarding part for me is a therapist.

Laurie: Right, it's so powerful and it's so I mean, I was getting goosebumps. You heard talking just because somebody, when you see somebody, start building their confidence in not just one area but their life, because they can do like you, said, the hard things, less scared, you know, to take on new risks or to do something that they might have never done years ago. Love when a client, you know, comes back and says I did XY or z. I can't even believe it, because a year ago I would not even think or dream about doing that.

Julie: That's that's why I do what I do. I love that.

Laurie: Yeah, that's awesome, all right. So Julie, if anyone wants to reach out to Julie go to shoresidetherapies.com and you can find her bio and more information, and this video recording will be there shortly, you can schedule right online, but you could also give Julie call, and her information is all on their website. I do want to thank you again, Julie

Julie: Of course, thanks for having me, Laurie.

Laurie: Yeah, take care and talk soon.

Julie: Sounds good.

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  • Introducing Julie Abdullah, M.S. LPC-IT