Introducing Featured Staff Therapist Allen-Michael Lewis
Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our staff therapists on the blog. This month’s Featured Therapist Allen-Michael Lewis joined our staff in 2018. Get to know more about Allen in the interview below!
What do you consider to be the goal of therapy?
For me, the goal of therapy is to understand how negative patterns have impacted the different aspects of a client’s life. Whether the negative pattern is the way they communicate with others or the way they think about themselves, it is important to think critically about these patterns, understand the origins of these patterns/the role it played in the person’s life, and then use our time together to cultivate new patterns. I help my clients to identify these negative patterns and ways that they would like to see change. I support my clients in understanding new techniques for how to replace these patterns and together we work to identify what they can do to block old, negative patterns from coming back into their lives.
What is your background?
I have an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology from University of Valley Forge and completed my Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology with a Focus on Marriage & Family Therapy from Chestnut Hill College. I began my work in the mental health field seeing families out of a small community mental health agency in Northeast Philadelphia. While I was there I was exposed to clients from all walks of life and was submerged in treating individuals and families using a systemic mind. I have obtained training in Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy which is focused on understanding patterns in the family system, cultivating new patterns of interaction and blocking old negative patterns within the family. I came to Council for Relationships because I valued the emphasis on continuing to train and educate clinicians so they may have all the tools to support the clients that reach out for support. I also chose CFR because of the reputation for providing quality clinical care. I love being part of a team that takes their work seriously and strives to be the best they possibly can for the people they serve.
Why did you decide to become a therapist?
I decided to become a therapist because I wanted to help people. I decided to become a family therapist because I became intrigued by how the family system impacts the way people interact with the world around them. That intrigue grew into wanting to understand how other systems (a person’s community, friend ground, religion, culture, etc.) impacts a person or group of people. I was drawn to the field because I believe there is value in providing someone with space where they are able to be vulnerable; where they are able to look at a problem, understand it and build the motivation for change while building supports in their lives that will help them maintain success.
What does a first session with you usually consist of?
In the first session I believe that the therapist and client are meeting to get to know each other and begin the process of building trust. I use the first session to draw out a genogram meant to give insight into a client’s family and their history. I provide an opportunity for the client to be as open as they’d like to be and there is no expectation that within that first session all the problems on earth will be solved. The first session is the first step of many as we begin our journey together.