Featured Therapist for October, Asia McNeil
Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our staff therapists. This month’s Featured Therapist is Asia McNeil, MFT. Learn more about her in the below interview!
What would your clients say about you?
Many of my clients would say that I am a bubbly, kind, and supportive person who values the joining process. I make it a priority to show clients compassion, empathy, and validation through laughter and relatability. Laughing often happens during my sessions because I believe it is an easy and authentic way for my clients and me to get to know each other. Additionally, I think many clients would say that I challenge them to look at their unhelpful behavior patterns. I encourage them to think about “what happened to me” and not “what is wrong with me.” This, I consider being my best strength as a therapist. I also do well with meeting the client where they are. I believe this to be a catalyst for empowering clients to change and realize their full potential.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give people who may be struggling emotionally and would like to seek counseling, but may not be ready?
I believe that the most basic human need is to be seen, heard, and validated. However, when life experiences disrupt these needs, people may begin to experience emotional struggles. So, one piece of advice I would give to a person who may be struggling emotionally is reassurance that others can see, hear, and validate who they are. A therapist’s job is to validate a person’s humanity and affirm their existence. As I’ve embarked on my personal therapeutic journey, I understand how scary it can be to start the process. But know that seeking counseling is just that; it’s a journey to find the courage to begin and to do that work. I encourage anyone who is contemplating seeking counseling to be kind to themselves and allow themselves grace. Know that your therapist will affirm your existence and join you on the journey to emotional stability.
Why did you decide to become a therapist/ what drew you to counseling as a career?
As a child, I was always interested in the helping and healing professions. For much of my youth and young adulthood, I believed a nursing career was the way I would turn my passion for healing into a reality. While in college, I received news that my father had passed away. This experience shook me to the core, and I decided to withdraw from school. During this time, I lost my passion for nursing, but wanted to complete my college education. One year after graduating from my undergrad institution, my mother passed away from lung cancer. During my grieving process, I remembered my mother sharing how therapy saved her life after experiencing a traumatic event. It was in that reflection that I realized becoming a therapist would be my way of helping and healing others the same way therapy helped and healed my mother.
What do you consider to be the goal of therapy/ what do you help your clients work towards?
I believe the most important goal of therapy is that treatment is always client-centered and collaborative. During an initial session, clients and I develop plans that focus on healing and processing challenging experiences while working towards encouraging clients to live the life they’ve always envisioned. I believe clients should know that they are the master of their story, and therapy is a vessel to help them discover that truth. The purpose of therapy also means helping clients alleviate and cope with symptoms from their presenting issues. Overall, therapy should be a place where clients can learn about themselves and increase their self-awareness.
Asia McNeil, MFT, is a staff therapist at our Voorhees, NJ and Lawrenceville, NJ offices; she currently sees clients via online therapy. To set-up an appointment, you can reach her at email@example.com or 215-382-6680 ext. 4233.