Name: Alaina Brubaker
Licensing Info: NY LMFT [Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist]
Lives in: Rochester, NY
Hometown: Adams Center, NY
Time at Talkspace: Nine months
Time as a therapist: Five years
Why are you working in therapy/mental health?
I’m interested in people and figuring out why they act, feel and behave the way they do. From a very young age I was always trying to figure out themes and patterns in people. I could see how insight and awareness could be the key to change. As I got older I saw how desperately people needed support and how alone many people felt. I wanted to take the natural warmth and compassion I had for people and find a way to develop that. Becoming a therapist was the path I chose to do that.
What made you start working at Talkspace?
I had just had my daughter who is my first child and was dreading going back to a hostile, stressful work environment. I wanted more independence in my work and I also wanted flexibility. I really liked the idea of better access to therapy. I have seen countless people never even make it into therapy because of all the physical and emotional barriers of coming into a formal office. I loved that Talkspace broke down those barriers and allowed people to come as they are, wherever they are.
What has made you feel the most pride in your work?
Working through hostility. I am a people-pleaser by nature and therapy has forced me to address conflict, as people-pleasing will not help me or my client and in fact could destroy the progress made in therapy. I have faced physical and emotional threats against me and have been able to work through those threats and create a better, stronger relationship together with my client.
Can you think of a specific instance or moment that was inspiring?
For me it’s not one moment that is inspiring but the common thread of “the moment” in therapy where things start to connect. Therapy is such hard work. A lot of times in therapy you go through a lot of tough stuff before you start feeling better. The moment where things click with a client and they start seeing things come together is an amazing experience. Everything they have been working for begins to fall into place. They get some reward for all the processing and reflecting they have done. All of a sudden the insight and awareness is there. It’s not that anything physically has changed, but seeing that emotional change and how that changes everything has shaped who I am not only as a therapist but as a human being.
Why is what you do important?
There are a lot of people I have worked with where I am the only person they can trust. I am their person. Without that support and encouragement, they might not have the strength to go on. Therapy provides a safe space, a person you can go to who is going to be there for you no matter what. And who doesn’t need that in their life?
If you had once piece of advice for a therapy-seeker, what would it be?
Be open about what you need and want from therapy and from your therapist. A therapist’s job is to help you in whatever way they can, letting them know what will help make both of your jobs easier.
“Therapy is such hard work. A lot of times in therapy you go through a lot of tough stuff before you start feeling better. The moment where things click with a client and they start seeing things come together is an amazing experience.”