by Callum Lee
Like many Generation Z’ers with emotional baggage, I see a therapist on the regular. It’s not like one of those movie scenes, where I’m sitting on a straight-backed leather couch or lying on an uncomfortable settee and my therapist is across from me, rapidly scratching out notes. We meet on Zoom these days, her at her office and me from the comfort of my home, and I just rant. For however much I pay her, I feel pretty comfortable spilling out all my deepest, darkest secrets, but it’s more than just that. I’ve been seeing her since my first year of college when I was a disordered mess of panic and rage, and she’s seen how I’ve grown out of that persona. She’s been with me through all the housekeeping, but I don’t know much about her.
So, when I was tasked to write about a healthcare professional, I thought about her. Why send cordial emails to a doctor I barely speak to (I rarely see my primary physician), when I could just shoot my therapist a text? Seeing the person I interviewed on the semi-regular made it a lot easier to ask questions, the first of which being; “What do you do and why do you do it?”
She’s a licensed psychologist that specializes with families, children, couples and gender and non-binary people. As for the why, she expressed an interest in psychology in high school, when she had the opportunity to take classes at the nearby university of Cal Poly Pomona. During her undergrad at UCSD, she wanted to pursue veterinary practices, but decided the exact sciences of chemistry weren’t for her. She then switched to psychology, which was when her cousin was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think. This diagnosis motivated her to research with a psychologist studying schizophrenia and health, where she fell in love with research and decided to pursue a PhD.
It’s been a long journey ever since of working with different practices, and when I asked her why specifically she decided to cater to LGBTQ+ clients, she had this to say.
“I had a friend that began to identify as transgender while we were in a faith community. The community indirectly did not feel safe for my friend and they were struggling with their mental health and living situation. They lived with us for a couple years.”
Over the call, I can hear her voice struggle with emotions when she exclaims: “The tears, the snot on my shirt and my shoulders are always there, and it always reminds me and gives me a deep well of empathy for gender and non-binary people.” When it comes down to it, there’s no better reason to be a therapist, and I can tell she takes pride in what she does. She’s been changing lives like mine ever since.