Meet our new therapist Ali Devine. She is answering basic questions about who she can help. Ali works with couples, addictions, breakups, and transitions.
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Ali Devine, MS, LPC, SAC-IT
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Laurie: All right. Hi, my name is Laurie Groh, and I'm here with Ali Devine, and she's new at Shoreside- not a new therapist, but new at Shoreside. Hi, Ali. How's it going?
Ali: It's going good! A fun afternoon live.
Laurie: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks for being here today.
Ali: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I'm excited!
Laurie: So I'll just go through some questions and we'll go from there. So first question. How did you become interested in private practice?
Ali: Yeah. So I guess to get into a little bit of my experience, I started out at a clinic doing like the IOP level of care, jumped to private practice and then back to partial. But one of the things that I really love about private practice is that in the partial or IOP level of care, I feel like people have kind of waited until the problem has gotten really big. I think one of the things that I have noticed, especially in the pandemic, and having a lot of friends reach out to me saying, you know, I just feel like I am having a hard time managing my stress or being as productive at work. One of the things I really love about private practice is that it gives you that opportunity to sort of be more proactive about your mental health, your relationships, improving the quality of those. So I really like that aspect of private practice with sort of the ability to work with people who are experiencing some struggles but are also going to get ahead of things as well.
Laurie: Yeah, people that would be interested in making some changes before things get so out of control and so overwhelming that they just need a ton of extra support. Right in the private practice is typically about an hour a week, maybe two hours depending. And that allows then a lot more flexibility for the client and allows maybe even more capability on someone's part at that point. I think also really hard once something's getting worse for someone, it's so much harder to see and so much harder to make movement. And so if they're noticing stress or some mild depression that's starting to get worse, it would be a good time to come and reach out to you.
Ali: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And even in relationships like, I feel like sometimes starting out, you know, you notice that maybe you're arguing a little bit more. You're both in the house together all the time, kind of on top of each other, and you're noticing that you're just not communicating as well or you're getting a little bit more irritable with your partner. I think sometimes people wait until it becomes so hostile or almost toxic or you're just so frustrated that making changes feels really overwhelming. And one of the things that I really like to do or what I'm hoping to do is attract clients who aren't necessarily at that point yet, are being a little bit more proactive about it and are noticing that something has changed. I'm not managing my stress as well or my relationships aren't going as well. So I want to kind of come before things get to that point. I mean, I can certainly work with folks who have gotten to that point, but I think private practice offers that component. And that's really, really nice.
Laurie: Yeah, I think when the friendship is still intact. Yeah. It makes it a lot easier to make movement and changes.
Ali: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
Laurie: All right. So tell me a little bit about your experience in the field.
Ali: Yeah, so I graduated with my master's from UWM and I had experience working actually out of Suboxone clinic at the IOP level of care. But we definitely got clients who were struggling with addiction, mental health issues, anxiety, depression, all of those types of things. And one of the things that I found really attractive and interesting to me was working with the families of the people who were in recovery and IOP and just kind of noticing the dynamic that would play out within those families, within those relationships, maybe the spouse of the person in the IOP. I really looked forward to those sessions. And so I, I found that I was interested in that and I had experience doing some of that in the early private practice that I was involved with. But I then started working at a larger clinic, Rogers, to do sort of a partial hospital level of care. And oftentimes when people are in the partial level, they're pretty acutely ill, definitely, you know, workable and can teach skills and can help people get to a better place. And my experience was in mental health and addiction, so I am really attracted to the private practice and that it kind of broadens what types of issues that I can work with and various levels of stress or distress that people are in.
Laurie: Yeah, it's neat to be able to work with the family and see what dynamics are happening within that family unit and what transfers onto the client that you are working with., and having the opportunity to help the family members support the client better and maybe have some better boundaries. You know, what they can do? Because I know a lot of times family members want to know that, like, what can I do to help? And I try to do a bunch of things that they think might help and it might not. So I think that difference needs to work with all of them.
Ali: And I think sometimes people need an objective third party like me or another therapist to kind of explain what the client is looking for in terms of support and how to get that message across. I think sometimes people can get defensive. And so having sort of a neutral person to kind of communicate that message for them or to help them to communicate that message in a little bit more of an effective way.
Laurie: Yeah, you the truth in mind and then also empathy can make a huge difference when hearing, oh, maybe I'm not necessarily doing what's helpful here. Right. So that can be nice to have somebody outside, you know, saying, hey, this is what I'm seeing. This is what might be useful, and then they can go ahead and use those skills right away. I think that's huge, yeah.
Ali: Yeah. And I think one of the cool things about the partial level of care and IOP is the family involvement and just how they're able to learn different ways of communicating to get their needs met and to have better quality of relationships.
Laurie: So Ali with that in mind, what type of types of clients are you looking to see now?
Ali: Yeah, so in the private practice, I'm definitely interested in seeing couples. I have done some training with discernment counseling, so helping couples determine what course they want to take in terms of their future, if they want to stay together, if they're looking at divorce or they want to stay in the relationship as is. But I'm also interested in working with couples who just want to improve the quality of their relationship or have recently went through different challenges, whether that's infidelity or just increased stress with being stuck at home with each other for the last year. But outside of that, too, I like I love working with individuals, anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, lots of different types of stuff. I also have a lot of experience in substance use counseling.
Laurie: Right. And also, you work with transitions and maybe separation or loss of a relationship, you also work with individuals struggling with that as well, correct?
Ali: Yeah. Yeah. I love working with individuals kind of after the breakup period where people are feeling really just distressed kind of going through an identity crisis because maybe you've been with that partner for a really long time and you're not sure how to cope, doing maybe a lot of ruminating. Right. So that's where the anxiety comes in over what went wrong, what could I have done differently. Why is this the outcome? So and then obviously the depression that comes with that feeling, a sense of loss and grief, what's wrong with me? That kind of a thing. I love working with those issues as well.
Laurie: Yeah, I think that's a much needed area for sure. And that could be something too where somebody wants to come in for more of a temporary type situation where, hey, I just broke up with somebody and I could use just another person to talk to that's not a parent or a best friend, somebody from that outside perspective that can help them navigate through it because it is so challenging. And you're right, that identity crisis comes up. Who am I now?
Ali: And I think like especially when we're going through a breakup, we can sort of tap out our resources. Right. Like your friend only wants to hear about the breakup so much or they just they want what's best for you, obviously. So they're wanting you to feel better. And so having that kind of outside person is really there working for you and can really just listen to your pain and sit with you in that moment and kind of support you that way is really nice. I think it is, yeah.
Laurie: So tell me a little bit about the type of treatment modalities you use.
Ali: Yeah. So first and foremost, I would say that I'm person-centered and basically what that means to me is that I'm just looking at the whole person, what their goals are in treatment and really recognizing the inherent strength and awesome qualities that that person already has and their potential for growth. We all have the ability to go through really hard things and come out of it stronger and having learned something. And so my role in that sense would be to support you on that journey and just offer a listening ear, maybe some helpful suggestions and just kind of that warm person that will support you through that moment when you're having a hard time. I think outside of that, I definitely use cognitive behavioral therapy quite a bit, like in that breakout scenario. I think oftentimes when it comes to our cognitive behavioral therapy is really based on changing our thinking, changing our behaviors so that we feel better and changing some of those thinking errors that we have when we go through a breakup or when we're having a hard time communicating with our partner. So maybe we're doing some mind-reading, like, of course, this person must be thinking this or kind of all or nothing, black and white, thinking it's either this or it's that. And so helping the client to identify how often they're actually making those thinking errors or making assumptions and how that could be contributing to overall unhappiness or anxiety. Or even assuming that you know what your partner is trying to communicate to you and how that communication can be breaking down.
Laurie: Right, yeah, cognitive behavioral therapy can be so effective.
Ali: Yeah, I think it is a really popular type of therapy, but I think that's because it works really well, especially, too, with changing behaviors. So in the case of the client that maybe is going through a breakup, helping them to figure out what sorts of hobbies and interests they have and getting back out there, doing those things, those behaviors that maybe they stop doing as much of now because that relationship has ended.
Laurie: Yeah, I think getting out of those ruminating thoughts and changing those thoughts can be huge, especially during that time. What we think is true oftentimes isn't true, that it's so related to how we are feeling, you know. That's awesome.
Ali: Yeah, it's really hard during separation.
Laurie: Yeah, so, Ali, tell me a little bit about like if a client was looking to see you, what do you think would be some additional things they would want to know?
Ali: Yeah, so I think one of the biggest things that I tried to create in therapy and in the space that we have together is just a really authentic relationship. And so, you know, I might use humor, I might be direct with you, I might challenge you, but I'm also going to be really supportive. So I think what that does is it creates a relationship where you feel really comfortable, you feel like the relationship is genuine, and you can feel that I'm really invested in your journey and your growth. And so I want people to know that you can have a really good relationship with your therapist in a way that feels really genuine and authentic. And I think maybe people who have had therapy in the past that didn't quite have that experience, just letting them know that that's possible. And I guess the other thing would be, too, just that you don't have to wait till things are really out of control to seek out therapy. It's a great idea to get ahead of things. And when you're noticing changes within yourself or your relationships, just know that I'm here to help.
Laurie: Yeah, I love that. Being challenging, and at the same time, being supportive, what a great combination. And that's also a really good point is that if you try out a therapist and you're not finding that it's working, try someone new. Yeah, that makes a huge difference- is the relationship. And can I talk to this person? And if you can't, then it's great to tell the therapist you're struggling with that. It might be time to find someone new, someone, where you do feel like this person understands me. They get me, they listen to me and they also challenge me when I need it.
Ali: Yeah. Yeah. I think I'm really invested in making sure we're a good fit. I think I can work with a lot of different types of people, but I want the clients to feel really comfortable, not judged in life, and feel that our relationship is really authentic and natural.
Laurie: Yeah, well, thanks, Ali!
Ali: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Laurie: So if somebody wants to reach out to you, they can go to your profile. And anything else you want to mention, anything else you want to say before we end?
Ali: I'm open. I have appointments. So if you're interested in working with me, feel free to send me an email or text message back to you.
Laurie: Yeah, and evening appointments.
Ali: Evening appointments for those who want to see me after work, yes!
Laurie: Yeah, yeah. Those will be taken up very, very quickly for sure. Well thanks Ali- have a great day.
Ali: You too. Bye!