Featured Therapist for November, Christine Wamble
Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our Staff Therapists. This month’s Featured Therapist is Christine Wamble, MFT, who joined our staff in 2019. Learn about Christine in the interview below!
Tell us a little about what makes you unique as a therapist and person; anything about you including hobbies and interests that make you more relatable to clients.
My relatability is what makes me a unique therapist. It is challenging for therapists to balance between sharing too much of themselves with clients versus not enough. Clients and their stories are the focus during therapy sessions but, if the therapist does not share their personality or experiences, clients may not feel like they are establishing a safe therapeutic relationship. My goal is to share enough of my personality and experiences so clients view their struggles as normal, and therefore do not feel alone. Human relating in this way helps alleviate a great deal of anxiety that keeps people thinking something is wrong with them, when really we have very similar emotional experiences in life, but only know our own as intimately. As a clinician, my clients feel confident in my training and education, as well as trusting of me as a non-judgmental, empathic human being.
What do you consider to be the goal of therapy?/What do you help clients work towards?
The goal of therapy varies from client to client. I believe a common goal is to learn and understand areas of discomfort and increase opportunities for pleasure and peace. I help my clients identify and find acceptance in their varied identities and create a life that attunes to their authentic values and selves.
Describe a useful tool or exercise that you like to share with your clients.
I think my favorite exercise involves asking clients to speak to their younger selves and provide themselves with a message of mentorship, compassion, and encouragement. This can be a challenging exercise for clients but it can really help create comfort around things that have happened in the past. I encourage my clients to have self-compassion, to breath, and embrace the ways they are “the same as” others, as well as the ways they are different.
What is your background?/Why did you choose CFR?
My background is in Early Childhood Education/ Special Ed. I taught preschool and kindergarten for years before deciding to change careers. I worked as a volunteer for OLLI- Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and learned about a Life Story writing group. In the Life Story group, seniors (age 55+) wrote their life stories in 5-minute vignettes and then they shared them in a group setting. This class was found to significantly reduce member’s feelings of depression, and positively impacted member’s feelings of satisfaction in their life. This form of intentional, focused reflection helped with memory and staved off dementia. In addition, I taught art classes for people with traumatic brain injuries. I learned so much from these students and became very interested in the power of memory. I use these experiences in session. We remember events a certain way and create an identity based on these stories.
CFR has a great dedication to normalizing mental health and making it accessible to everyone. I serve as a coordinator for the Community Partnership Initiative. This collaborative between CFR and Jefferson University provides therapy, support groups, and consultation to people experiencing homelessness and to other vulnerable populations throughout the city of Philadelphia. We offer on-site, no-cost therapeutic services that are responsive to client and agency needs. Our interns deliver effective and culturally sensitive individual, family, and group therapy at community-based service providers. It is an amazing project that gives so much love and connection to all involved.
Why did you decide to become a therapist?/What drew you to counseling as a career?
My journey to becoming a therapist has been rich. I have gone to therapy for many years. I have always been in the helping fields and drawn to connecting with people emotionally. My background in teaching created many opportunities to provide support and encouragement to children, parents, co-teachers, and the surrounding community. Working with seniors and people with TBIs changed the way I experienced gratitude, fear, regret, and resilience. My soul became both deeper and lighter because of the amazing students I was privileged to work with. The universe brought me to Philadelphia to begin my training in this field at a time when I strongly felt like it was time to be brave and challenge myself to continue growing.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give people who would like to seek to counsel but may not be ready?
Be patient with yourself. Life truly is about the journey, not the destination. Ideally, when you get to therapy, you will be ready to put in the effort. Forcing yourself or feeling guilty about not seeking counseling won’t bring you in sooner. We will be here when you are ready.