Featured Therapist for May, Remy Kurland
Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our staff therapists. This month’s Featured Therapist is Remy Kurland, MEd, EdS, LAC. Learn more about her in the below interview!
How would your clients describe you?
I think my clients would describe me as someone who is compassionate and understanding, someone who makes sure that my space is a judgment-free zone. It is important that my clients feel the energy of my support and that they know I genuinely care about their well-being. I want them to feel empowered. I want them to believe they’re worth self-advocating. I want them to cheerlead themselves when they accomplish a goal or a task. I believe my clients would describe me as one of their biggest cheerleaders as well.
Describe a specific tool or exercise that you share with your clients.
One of the exercises I share with my clients is a breathing activity where upon the inhale, we can either say out loud, or to ourselves, “My breath is my anchor,” and then on the exhale, “My anchor is my breath.” (I cannot claim it as my own. I procured it from a “Yoga with Adrienne” video.) It is a grounding exercise to reconnect to the body and for our bodies to understand that in those moments, they are safe, and we can return to them in times of high stress and anxiety. I will also offer that my clients place one hand over their heart and the other hand over their stomach so they can feel the expansion and contraction of the breath, which is often soothing, comforting, and protective.
What advice would you give someone who may be struggling with the decision to start therapy, but may not feel ready?
Therapy often takes time to wrap our heads around. There’s so much that goes into the decision-making process. I would say that even after several sessions, you may still not feel ready, and that’s OK. It’s okay if you do not experience that a-ha moment that tells you now is the time. Therapy is a “getting to know me” type of process that can feel uncomfortable. You may even find yourself unwilling to participate at times. That is all part of the process. One of the hardest parts about therapy, at least initially, is showing up – seeing that commitment through and admitting to yourself that you’re worth the journey. So, my advice to anyone seeking therapy is to know your worth, your value, and to come into the journey with an open mind and without set expectations. Your therapist will provide the space to support you.
Describe a first session with you.
During a first session with me, I often begin with an ice breaker activity of “favorites,” where we will take a few turns asking one another a “What’s your favorite [fill in the blank]” type of question. It’s a nice way to begin building rapport with my clients and it allows us to begin to get to know one another without having to dive right into anything that feels heavy. It is also a practice in remaining mindful and noticing what thoughts (or even judgments) come up. For example, we may notice judgments around taking “too long” to think of a question, and something like that may tell me a little more about the narrative my clients have been storing in their minds and bodies about how they view themselves. Afterwards, I’ll ask my clients to tell me about themselves and to share what their goals are in therapy. History-taking is an ongoing process and I aim to convey to my clients that this is a safe space where they can share as much or as little as they are comfortable with in those moments.