Therapists Discuss 13 Reasons Season One

In this episode, two licensed professional counselors discuss the popular and controversial show “13 Reasons Why”.  Andrea Rios, LPC and Cristal Acosta, LPC-S, NCC dissect and dialogue about the implications the show can have on their clients.  After a lunchroom discussion, the two therapists decided to record their opinions and perspectives for the podcast. LISTENER DISCRETION ADVISED.  SPOILERS AHEAD.

Mentioned in the episode:

UPENN Study on 13 Reasons Why

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*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*

*We do not own the rights to 13 Reasons Why. All discussions about the show are for entertainment purposes only.  No copyright infringement intended.*



Harry Potter and the Two Therapists

Welcome back to Through the Eyes of a Therapist Podcast!  This season is all about pop-culture and the unique view of shows, books, and movies through a therapist’s point of view!  

In this episode we have returning guest/co-host, Elisa D.  She is an LMSW who specializes in childhood trauma and works with victims of crime.  This lens allows her to talk with me about Harry Potter’s early childhood experiences.  We cover complex trauma, resilience, early childhood development, and adverse experiences.  

As mentioned in the episode: if you have had any bad experiences with Snape-like teachers, we want to hear about them!  Please write to

I will be going on maternity leave in a couple of weeks, but will still be publishing episodes at least once per month!  Thank you for your patience with me and this child who is due in mid-September 2019!

See you for the next episode about 13 Reasons Why!

Find me on Instagram @throughtheeyesofatherapistpod or Facebook

*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*

Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels

5 “Not So Good Reasons” to Become a Therapist

The piece below was written by me for publication on Psychosocial Media. To see the original post, click here:

As a board approved supervisor in Texas, I keep an eye out for talented, developing professional counselors.  I interview them, mentor them, supervise their work, and eventually help them get their clinical license to practice on their own.  It’s great to see the growth progression of a therapist– from an enthusiastic student, disenchanted intern, to confident grasshopper, and finally, a colleague. As many of you know, I have my podcast, Through the Eyes of a Therapist, where I ask every clinician that I interview, “why did you want to become a therapist?”  In my conversations with these growing pre-licensed professionals and even fully licensed ones, I’ve heard some interesting reasons why people choose this career.  Out of all of their personal anecdotes, a few stand out to me.  Here are five reasons why people should NOT pursue a career in therapy.

(5.) “I’m doing it for the money.” (In other words, to become filthy rich.)

There are economic reasons, as well as ethical ones, for why this is a wrong reason to become a therapist. For one, if you decide to become a Clinical Social Worker (CSW), Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), or a Professional Clinical Counselor (PCC), you will likely go through a rigorous process. This process can include the following: 4 years of undergraduate education, graduate school (2-3 years),  state exams to become provisionally licensed, 18-60 months collecting hours to qualify for the licensing exam, passing licensing exam to get fully licensed, and then finally land a job where you can bill insurance companies for services and be seen as an expert.  The issue with this trajectory is that the first few years while pursuing full licensure, you will likely not be making very much money.  In grad school, most of the time, you do not get paid as a student intern.  After graduation, the reality is that companies, both non-profit or private practice, will likely not pay you the way they would as fully licensed clinician. You will also more than likely have to pay an out of pocket weekly fee to your clinical supervisor while you are pursuing full licensure.  So yes, the first few years of this career include huge time and monetary investments.

Working as a therapist to become filthy rich is also not realistic (to a certain extent).  I’ve known many private practice clinicians who do make “good money,” but only if they are very strategic about their careers.  They diversify where their money comes from meaning they don’t solely see clients.  These entrepreneurs use blogs, books, e-courses, trainings, and consultation to make money.  If a clinician chooses to work at a non-profit agency, they may make anywhere from $40,000 to $65,000 per year depending on experience and licensure. This flat rate salary is barely negotiable depending on the funding sources for the non-profit company.  The more funding they have, the more you might make.  However, the advantage sometimes is that you get lots of experience and training at these types of agencies…just not good ol’ money dollars in your pocket.

Ethically, becoming filthy rich as a therapist could be questionable.  My opinion is that clinicians deserve to make money.  After all, our work is intricate and requires lots of brain power, emotional investment, and time.  When does having a lucrative career in therapy become pilfering?  The answer lies within the individual therapist.  I mean, if people are charging insurance companies fraudulently, this would be a violation of ethics.  However, if an experienced therapist within a niche market costs $200 cash per session, who am I to judge?  Their clientele would be limited to a specific pool of people, and maybe people who are under government insurance or below the poverty line would not be able to afford their sessions.  It’s quite the quandary and a fine line.

(4.) “I want to help people.”—Yes, read that again.

This statement is a very common response to the question, “why do/did you want to become a therapist?” Look, the reality is that no human can emotionally or mentally rescue/save/change another human being. We, as therapists are privileged in that people may choose to tell us their deepest darkest secrets; however, we are only human ourselves.  We don’t have special powers. What we may possess as a therapist are tools that help another human hear themselves and an ability to build a relationship which can foster healing.  You cannot magically heal.  You cannot fix people.  So, if you have any false notions about your supernatural or superhuman abilities to heal or fix a person, you will be a sad, frustrated, and disillusioned therapist. People are too unpredictable and have freedom of choice.  In other words, even the most skilled and gifted therapists encounter clients who will do whatever the hell they want anyway.

(3.) “People constantly tell me their life stories, like when I’m in line at Wal-Mart.”

This reason alone does not mean you should become a therapist. Sure, you may be a good listener and open minded, but becoming a therapist takes much much much more than that (see reason 5 above, training and hours of experience). Clinicians dedicate hours upon hours of listening to people tell their stories and believe me; these stories contain more detail than the Wal-Mart edition of therapy sessions.  In real therapy sessions, there are likely in-depth details about sexual assault, abuse, domestic violence, community violence, blood, guts, and other gory details about people’s most horrific experiences.  There are also disclosures and secrets that you can not—I REPEAT—can not react to. In the Wal-Mart version of an encounter, the time is short lived, there’s no privacy, and it’s likely a casual conversation, so you’re free to react however you please.  In a therapy encounter, a therapist’s reactions are calculated and non-judgmental.  This skill takes experience, restraint, and self-awareness.  So, sure if people tell you stuff, and this is motivation enough to get you the training you need to become a therapist, then go for it…but remember, in the therapy room, the time, space, and emotions spent are very different than listening to a stranger, acquaintance, or friend.

(2.) “What could be better than getting paid to sit and listen to people’s problems all day?”

Well, this one is always a shocker. I don’t care who says it.  When anyone misconstrues my profession and whittles it down to “simply listening to problems all day,” it boils my blood.  The skill, endurance, self-reflection, self-work, self-awareness, intuition, brain power it takes to “listen” to someone’s problems is highly underestimated.  The statement above is probably one of the main reasons why mental health care is so undervalued in our country.  Believe me, if I “sat around and listened to problems all day” and could make it into a career, I would have done this by the time I was 9 years old. If you decide to become a therapist, be prepared for the intensity and rigor of this work.  It’s not easy, nor is it for the faint of heart.

(1.) “I’ll be better qualified to help my family.”

Okay, I’m sure you have some baggage. Everyone does in one way or another. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a hard history or having a rough upbringing.  Family can significantly influence our lives, relationships, and careers in many ways. I, personally, have a few family members who live with mental illness.  While I was learning about psychology in undergrad, and learning about counseling in graduate school, lots of things about my family system were put into perspective for me.  This education did not heal me or even equip me to help my family.  Sure, it gave me a new lens to look through.  I see them differently and understand them more.  I even understand myself a little more and can put some coping skills I’ve learned about into practice in my personal life.  So you may be asking what the big deal is…why you can’t help your family when you’re a therapist.  Simple. It’s a conflict of interest.  A conflict of interest in the counseling world (and other helping professions) refers to the notion that a professional is not objective when trying to intervene with family members and friends clinically.  If someone is too close in proximity to you, their problems are less clear.  Your objectivity and accuracy become compromised. You may also inflict judgment upon them because you know too much.  Like I said earlier, non-judgment is essential in this line of work.  This is why, even on Grey’s Anatomy, doctors are not allowed to perform surgery on their coworkers or family members.  The best thing to do here is to refer your loved ones (or anyone too close to you for that matter) to another therapist so that they get the unbiased help they need and deserve.

If you’re still contemplating on becoming a therapist, I hope the reasons above delivered clarity and busted some myths for you about this career.  If you already are a therapist and you recognize any of the above reasoning in yourself and your colleagues, it may be a great discussion topic while you are in consultation.  Bottom line, it’s great that you have a compassionate nature, but remember the realities of becoming a therapist because it’s a robust and challenging profession.

 Visit for more posts from myself and various mental health professionals!  You won’t be disappointed!

Collab with Psychosocial

Hey y’all!  Did you know that I contribute written pieces for an AWESOME mental health online resource called Psychosocial?  You can find so many different videos and articles about mental health on their website

Here is a link to the most recent blog entry I wrote for them.  It’s all about being on the other side of the therapy couch:


If you want to be a psychologist but are considering a non-clinical route, this is a great episode to listen to. Social Psychology, just like clinical or counseling psychology, is only one of the many niches in the psychology world.  This area of psych explores why people do what they do, why we think what we think–biases, perception, preferences, familiarity (to name a few phenomena).  To be a social psychologist also probably means doing research, meaning you’re also probably an experimental psychologist.  My guest today is Clarissa Arms-Chavez, Ph.D, a tenured associate professor and social experimental psychologist at Auburn University.  She and I discuss: social psych, working in academia, clinical psych, teaching at a university, tenure, impostor syndrome, and being a department chair.  She also gives advice to undergraduates thinking about going to grad school!

Must have info about today’s guest:


Clarissa J. Arms-Chavez, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Psychology Department at Auburn University Montgomery. She earned her M.S. in Experimental Psychology and her Ph.D. in Social Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has thirteen years of experience teaching undergraduate courses such as introduction to psychology, social psychology, social cognition, the psychology of prejudice & hate, and writing in psychology. She also has ten years of experience teaching advanced social psychology at both the Masters level (Auburn University at Montgomery) and the Doctorate level (Auburn University). In general, her research interests include the many various stigmas and prejudices involved within different social groups/categories (e.g., racial issues, colorism issues within the African-American community, sex and gender identity issues.


Any questions?  You can send them to!  


*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*




Photo of graphs by from Pexels


In this episode, I talk with my friend and colleague, Elisa.  We discuss introverts, extroverts, ambiverts and some labels that [we] introverts do not like.  We talk about pets, counselor life, and my extroverted partner.  Are you an introvert?  Listen for our GAME/QUIZ that gives characteristics of a true introvert (it’ll make you say *same*)

Stay tuned to the very end for a special easter egg surprise (silliness ensues)!  


Hello, Through the Eyes of a Therapist Podcast listeners!  If you’ve gotten this far in my latest series on becoming a therapist, you’ve heard about Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical Social Workers, and School Counselors.  You know by now that to become a therapist, you need to get a master’s degree and to become fully licensed, you must complete a post-graduate internship.  Most of these last at least 18 months post masters and you need to accumulate 3,000 hours of supervised practice.

Supervised practice means that you must contract someone who is a clinical supervisor to oversee and sign off on your 3,000 hours.  Clinical supervisors make an investment in provisionally licensed practitioners by meeting with them on a weekly basis, going over treatment plans, evaluations, personal issues that may be affecting work with clients, and progress notes.  This is, probably, the last time a clinician is being closely monitored in their career before becoming independently licensed.

To explain this further, my guest on the podcast today is Dr.Kate Walker. She is an expert on therapist development and growth.  Her work includes training fully licensed therapists in becoming clinical supervisors.  She has also written a book called “My Next Steps, Create a Counseling Career You’ll Love.” Find this book on amazon for less than 15 bucks!



Must Have Info about today’s guest:


Dr. Kate McLellan Walker Ph.D., LPC, LMFT is an experienced clinician, entrepreneur, writer, researcher, educator, and speaker. Born in Texas and raised in the Midwest, she struggled with ADD and FOMO (fear of missing out) throughout her adolescence. As soon as she could she ran to the live music capital of the world and earned her Bachelor of Music degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She used that credential to teach public school orchestras and freelance as a bass player until 1998 when she decided to pursue her MA and Ph.D. in counseling from Sam Houston State University.  

Her achievements and many diverse interests include doctoral advisory board member, university professor, president of the Texas Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and licensing board liaison.  An avid researcher (and still blessed with ADD), Dr. Kate harnesses her love of business, novelty, and creativity to speak, teach, and write about her experiences running her successful clinical practice, training over thirty-seven cohorts in her ground-breaking leadership organization Kate Walker Training, and being the wife to a soldier and mom to three amazing kids. In her spare time, she still freelances as a professional bass player for singer-songwriters in the Houston area.

Balancing business and family places Dr. Kate in a unique position to help other leaders achieve balance too. In her new book, My Next Steps: Create a Counseling Career You’ll Love, she synthesizes interview data garnered from five successful entrepreneurs in the counseling field. The result is a step-by-step guide containing practical tools so readers can create the successful career they fell in love with, make a living, and keep their sanity.

 *Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*


Equine therapy is a treatment modality that can be used for a wide array of client populations and issues in counseling.  Equines are horses, and if I didn’t do an episode about equines, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a true Texan!  I am so excited to release this interview because I learned so much about the healing power of horses in counseling/therapy.  My guest, Janet Nicholas, gives us details on how to become an equine therapist (not to be confused with hippotherapy) and why horses are so healing in this capacity.  I hope you enjoy this content as much as I do!

Must have info about my guest:


Janet Nicholas is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor from South Texas.  She has been working in the mental health field for 20 years.  Her personal and professional experiences have led her to engage in her current passion of equine therapy.  She has her own practice where she sees clients in a traditional office, but also does some of her favorite work out in her “grassy office” with her equine therapy associates (her horses).  She went to the University of Houston, St.Edward’s University, and then received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University.  Visit her websites: or


Mentioned in the episode:

Equine therapy information…




 “Adventures in Awareness; Learning With the Help of Horses” by Barbara Rector


Any questions?  You can send them to!  


*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*


BECOMING A CONTEMPLATIVE THERAPIST- Feat. Catalina Goerke founder of In the Name of Silence

Contemplative therapy has foundations in clinical psychology and Buddhist psychology.  This approach may be helpful if you: have a busy life, have a life…if you live, breathe….lol.  It can be beneficial for ANYONE.  In this episode, my guest and I discuss the difference between conventional therapy and contemplative therapy.  We also talk about anxiety, which is, according to Catalina, one of the most common problems in her practice.  We also talk about how contemplative therapy can help a person develop an awareness of their own emotions.  She also explains how to start your own daily contemplative practice.


Must have information about my guest:


Catalina is a Contemplative Therapist and Life Coach with extensive studies in Tibetan Buddhism in India.

She’s developed the Silence Therapy Technique for Self-Healing, offering her clients the tools to find home within themselves through self-observation, stillness and the ability to tune in to the voice of our inner wisdom.

She enjoys Silence, traveling without schedules, daily rituals and having a cup of ginger chai while watching people pass by.


You can find more information on how to incorporate the practice of Silence in your days, on her website: [] and Instagram: [@inthenameofsilence]


For questions, comments, new episode ideas……write to me!



*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*


Through the Eyes of a Therapist Podcast has reached 10 thousand plus downloads!  Thank you to all listeners!


Career counseling can be very helpful for people who are just starting out in college or at a university or those who are changing careers.  They need to be aware of upcoming career/job market trends, career/job requirements, college or university admission requirements, military career knowledge, and personality/skills matching.  My guest today, Vanessa, is a career counselor at a local community college.  She does lots of things like skills and aptitude testing, advising, crisis intervention, and works with the early-college high school students.  She also teaches as an associate professor and serves on different school committees.

Must have info about today’s guest:



Vanessa B. Monroy is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Anger Resolution Therapist with experience in mental health counseling and career counseling. She graduated from New Mexico State University with a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling. She interned with El Paso Community College as a graduate student and continued her post-graduate career with them. She is now a tenured faculty member and works as a full time career counselor at EPCC. She works with Transmountain Early College High School students, is the lead counselor for hospitality operations, health career students, in addition to all other majors. Vanessa is also an associate professor and sometimes teaches the occasional Educational Psychology class. She also continues to see clients in a clinical capacity at Family Services El Paso.


For questions, comments, new episode ideas……write to me!



*Recommendations, discussion, and disclosures are for informational/entertainment purposes only.  You should never substitute consultations/information from your own mental health/medical professionals with information from this podcast.*