Featured Therapist for September, Madeline Hoch
Every month, Council for Relationships features one of our staff therapists. This month’s Featured Therapist is Madeline E. Hoch, MFT. Learn more about her in the below interview!
What do you consider to be the goal of therapy? What do you help your clients work towards?
I think that therapy can help you learn to understand yourself, your reactions, and your relationships more wholly. Therapy can help you (and your loved ones) cultivate empathy and understanding of others’ experiences, leading you toward more satisfying relationships with them and, importantly, yourself.
A friend of mine shared that, for her, a therapeutic relationship is like someone holding up a mirror to you and standing beside you. The therapist follows your gaze and asks where you wish to look. They then help you look at your reflection in a way that isn’t distorted, shift the perspective if you’re only looking from one angle, help interpret the foggy and unclear bits, and validate what’s true. Through this process, one is able to acknowledge and accept the suffering, rage, shame, guilt, avoidance, or grief as a part of life without feeling consumed by or detached from it.
Describe the clients and issues with which you work best.
I really don’t have an ideal client. I work with children, adults, couples, and families. I particularly love working with kids and their families. Children speak through play and use toys, art, stories, movement, and metaphor to explain how and what they are feeling. Working with kids to process their experience is uplifting and rewarding. An important component of helping children is working with their families to promote better relating and problem solving. Working with kids and their families brings me tremendous joy.
What is your background? Why did you choose CFR?
I initially went to school to become an artist and ended up working in non-profit healthcare for many years. After my son was born, I decided to switch careers and become a therapist. It was the best career decision I ever made! I attended Drexel University’s Couple and Family Therapy Program, which was an amazing experience. The program’s heavy focus on bringing a social justice lens to therapy helps clinicians to identify how bias, power, privilege, and oppression show up in clients’ lives, relationships, and communities, and within the therapeutic relationship. This means that exploring race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, and class are a part of therapy with me. It also means that I must work at continuously expanding my awareness and challenging my own biases and privilege to identify how my (mainly dominant) culture is expressed in the therapeutic relationship.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give people who may be struggling emotionally and would like to seek therapy but may not be ready?
I think it’s natural to experience mixed feelings around starting therapy. The process of balancing feelings of safety and security with the desire to grow and heal is complex. Therapy is a huge investment, emotionally/financially/spiritually/relationally so when you do feel ready to begin, take time to find a person who makes you feel seen and heard. The relationship you have with your therapist, regardless of how long you see them, is based off human connection, so look for a connection that makes you feel cared for and inspired.
Madeline E. Hoch, MFT is a Staff Therapist at our Blue Bell, PA and Wynnewood, PA Offices; she currently sees clients via online therapy. To set-up an appointment, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-382-6680 ext. 7050.