Meet Shadeen Francis, LMFT, the Featured Therapist for January
Every month, Council for Relationships highlights one of our staff therapists on the blog. Read our interview below with January’s Featured Therapist Shadeen Francis, LMFT.
Tell us a little about what makes you unique as a therapist and person?
One thing folks are often surprised to hear is that I have wanted to be a sex therapist since the 7th grade. Instead of working on age-appropriate goals, like becoming an international pop sensation, I was trying to become the next Sue Johanson (the Canadian equivalent to Dr. Ruth). I have spent most of my life empowering people to feel confident, safe, and satisfied in their intimate relationships, whether sex is at the center of those conversations or not. I became a health educator in high school, a radio host in university, wrote curricula through graduate school, and now in addition to seeing clients, I teach graduate students, hold corporate trainings, and present at conferences internationally – all on my favourite topics: sex and relationships. Another fun fact is that I am a generation twin: my brother and I were born on the same day 5 years apart!
Why are relationships important?
I imagine relationships as the smallest tangible measurement we have of the social world. Our lives are built on a series of evolving, interconnected relationships; everything we touch, imagine, and experience is filtered through one relationship or another. How we see ourselves, whether we believe in a higher being or power, what we do for fun, or who we surround ourselves with are all relationships. We have relationships with religion, friends, family, nature, ideas, social media, time, culture, objects, space, with ourselves! The list is endless. Relationships are important because our relationships are our lives.
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?
It is okay to not be ready. Therapy can be a hard process, especially because many of us haven’t had other opportunities to be truly vulnerable with another person who is explicitly committed to our success and happiness. If I were made into a cartoon version of myself, my catchphrase would likely be “Be kind to yourself” (or if this were my personal life, “There is always room for sushi”). Life can be emotionally taxing. We can spare ourselves a lot of the added interest on our struggles by making room for kindness in our relationships with ourselves. How would you speak to a friend or family member that you really care about? Can you turn that energy towards yourself? That being said, you may never be “ready”. If there are obstacles in your life that are preventing you from moving forward, it might be worthwhile to gather all of the resources you have that help you feel strong and safe and grounded, and make a phone call to get connected to a therapist who can support you.
What makes CFR special?
Council for Relationships has such a rich history in the field. The pioneers of family therapy founded this organization, trained the staff, and created a legacy that lives on today. That, to me, is special. Having history means we have roots. Over the years many things have grown and changed, but the roots remain. Through these roots we are connected to knowledge, we are connected to our community, and we are connected to each other. I am an alumnus of the graduate program and have seen myself and my peers really blossom here. There is so much support from mentors and professors for our growth, and I am thankful to be able to call them colleagues and friends. Council for Relationships isn’t just a refuge or healing place for the clients whose lives we seek to improve, this is the house that love and deep caring built. And we are committed to introducing clients of all ages and backgrounds to that love in the relationships they keep in their lives.
Dream job? (Not the one you have now!)
I am still hoping that one day my powers will manifest so I can apply to be part of the X-Men.
Shadeen Francis, LMFT
Community Partnerships Initiative Assistant Coordinator
(215) 382-6680 ext. 7082
Read more about Shadeen here.
To request an appointment with Shadeen, click here.