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Featured Therapist for December, Kathy Klein

Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our staff therapists. This month’s Featured Therapist is Kathy Klein, M.S.Ed., MSW, LSW. Learn more about her in the below interview!

What do you consider to be the goal of therapy? How do you help your clients achieve their goals?

From where I sit, a primary goal of therapy is developing and cultivating insight about clients’ lives. Insight allows clients to grow, change relational and behavioral patterns, heal, and make meaning from experiences that feel impossible to understand. In sessions, we can develop insight by looking at how you interact with the world around you, asking questions and injecting curiosity into all aspects of your life, and piece together information in a collaborative and supportive environment.

Why did you decide to become a therapist?

I like to think that I was born into this career. I come from a big family of talkative people, who often yell to express themselves and their views. I learned early on that being able to remain calm, hear people’s voice beneath what they were saying, and provide support when it was asked for could help ease the pain others were experiencing around me. During a challenging time in my life, I sought out therapy for myself, and it was in that space that I began to unravel the role that I had played for my family informally. I started to question what I loved about understanding people, why it felt crucial to help and, most importantly, if formal training was the right path forward for me. Therapy changed my life and transformed the way I see myself. Working with people in a space that has the potential to shift their mindset is an honor, and I’m grateful to witness the hard work people do in taking care of themselves daily.

What advice would you give someone who may be struggling with the decision to start therapy, but may not feel ready?

Being “ready” is a tricky thing to qualify. I find that we are never ready in the ways that we think we will be, and rarely do we ever “feel” ready. A major part of therapy is connecting to our sense of strength, and sometimes strength may not feel like how we imagined it. I think not feeling ready is okay. Being afraid is okay. All emotions that are associated with beginning this life-altering process are valid. Starting therapy is a big decision in that it’s meaningful, and that can feel overwhelming. My advice would be to approach yourself and the therapeutic process with as much honesty as you can muster. Truth opens doors for all of us and facing it can be one of the most complex parts of our lives.

Describe a first session with you.

For us to work together, you need to feel safe, seen, and heard. That process starts from the moment we meet in our first session. I spend as much time as I can getting to know you and what is bringing you to therapy right now in your life. I listen objectively as you explain your journey in a warm and empathetic environment.

Something that can often be overwhelming in therapy is knowing the “right thing to say” or “having enough to talk about.” Don’t worry, I will ask questions to try and understand how you see your world and get a sense of how you operate within it. Our conversation will be just that – a conversation. Together, we will set some goals for our work and discuss a path forward for the next few sessions, so you know what to expect and what is coming next. I like to finish the first session by processing how it felt to be in this space and what feelings you are experiencing in real-time.

Kathy Klein, M.S.Ed., MSW, LSW is a Staff Therapist at our Center City and University City Offices; she currently sees clients via online therapy. To set-up an appointment, you can reach her at kklein@councilforrelationships.org or 215-382-6680 ext. 7022.