I recently inquired with Jennifer Degler, Ph.D., to discuss some of her work in counseling. It is so important to feel comfortable with someone you are being so vulnerable and open with. Jennifer is a woman who understands the hearts of women, and how God has created us,
Jennifer’s goals as a counselor are to promote healthy healing, relationships and life-breathing balance for her clients. Get to know Jennifer a little more by reading through our interview below!
- Andrea, Writing Ambassador
1. Why did you become a counselor?
I was a business major in college and a psychology minor, but I kept telling people, “I am majoring in business so I can get a job, but what I really love is psychology.” Finally I listened to my own words and realized I needed to do what I loved, which is help people understand their feelings, experiences, and relationships better. Helping people heal from their emotional wounds and create healthy, vibrant lives is exciting, fulfilling, challenging work.
2. What most influences how you counsel others?
We are created in the image of God, and just as God is the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we too are a trinity of mind, body, and spirit. When I counsel people, I look at them as a whole person. For example, we might explore:
How to handle emotions well and think more positively (mind)
How to improve sleep and nutrition patterns (body)
How their particular faith practices could benefit them emotionally (soul)
3. Why would someone choose to see a counselor?
While the difficulties people face vary, some common presenting problems that bring people to counseling include excessive worry, prolonged sadness, loss of joy, overwhelming grief, feeling out-of-control and overly stressed, social anxiety, spiritual emptiness, addictions, and having a hard time coping with new life circumstances, such as starting college, ending a relationship, getting married, becoming a parent, getting divorced, changing jobs, moving to a new area, losing a loved one, and so on.
Many of my clients have chosen counseling to get help with:
Setting effective boundaries and limits with others
Improving listening and other communication skills
Overcoming obstacles in their relationship with God
Recovering from being raised by or married to a narcissistic or verbally abusive person
Dating and decision making about commitment to a specific person
Changing patterns of picking “Mr. Wrong” or “Miss Wrong”
Managing workplace dynamics and relationships
Improving parenting skills and communication
Not dreading (and actually enjoying) family get-togethers
Often people have tried talking to family and friends about the above concerns, and it just hasn’t been enough because the situation and feelings involved are complex. And when things get complicated and don’t resolve over time, it’s time to call a professional counselor.
4. What are my counseling options?
Your options depend on where you live and your financial/insurance situation. If you would like to use your insurance benefits, call the mental health/substance abuse phone number or general information phone number printed on the back of your insurance card. Ask the representative about your “outpatient psychotherapy” benefits, including whether or not you have out-of-network coverage, deductibles, whether you have met any of your deductible this year, number of sessions allowed, how much of the fee they will pay, and if preauthorization is required prior to your first session. If you know the name of the counselor you’d like to see, you can ask if s/he is a network provider. You can also access this information online.
If you don’t have insurance, you can pay out-of-pocket for your counseling. Many churches have benevolence funds to help pay for their members’ counseling. Just ask a church staff member about this.
5. What can I expect on the first appointment?
As with any relationship, therapy works best when there is trust, mutual respect, and a sense of connection. A good working relationship is key, so if possible, chat briefly on the phone with the therapist prior to scheduling a counseling session in order to evaluate whether or not you two are a good fit. If the first person you talk to is not the right therapist for you to see, ask if s/he can provide you with contact information for other recommended professionals in your area.
Each therapist has a unique style. My style is direct, active, and warm. I do not tend to sit back and say nothing. I have no problem giving specific advice and opinions when asked, and sessions tend to be focused on solutions, not problems. While at times it is important and useful to delve into the past, the focus tends to be more on the present. Pain, stress, and difficult times provide some of the best opportunities to create meaning and happiness. However, not all therapists are direct and active. It’s important to find a therapist whose style you like.
Sometimes, clients need only one session focused on a particular problem. At other times, a deeper focus on breaking long-standing patterns is indicated. The average course of therapy is 12 to 20 sessions over 6 to 12 months. Many clients prefer to schedule visits every two weeks (instead of every week) to allow themselves time to work on the topics we discussed in session.
6. What would you like to tell readers who are considering counseling?
Go for it. You are worth the time, energy, and money that counseling requires.
7. What are your favorite resources girls can check for more information and help?
Healthy Relationships Rx (http://HealthyRelationshipsRx.com) provides powerful prescriptions for successful relationships in six categories: Friends & Family, Personal Growth, Spiritual Growth, Marriage, Sex Life, and Parenting. You’ll find helpful podcasts, blogs, and downloadable resources to help you grow as a person.
For young women who want help setting (and sticking to) healthy boundaries in friendships and dating, my book, No More Christian Nice Girl: When Just Being Nice—Instead of Good—Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends, is a great resource. It helps people-pleasers become God-pleasers. It’s available in paperback and e-book from bookstores and online booksellers.
8. Any last words of encouragement?
We all need extra support and guidance sometimes. I went to see a counselor myself when I was in graduate school, and it was very helpful.
9. How can girls contact you?
My therapy practice is located at the Interfaith Counseling Center in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. The Center is located within walking distance of the University of Kentucky at 240 Rodes Avenue, which is situated between High Street and Maxwell Street, and can be accessed via Martin Luther King Boulevard. I prefer to see therapy clients in person and do not provide psychotherapy via the phone or Internet. I have late afternoon and evening appointment times available, but do not keep Saturday hours. You can read more about my practice on the Counseling page of my website http://jenniferdegler.com.
If you live in the central Kentucky area and would like to discuss a possible counseling appointment, please call the Interfaith Counseling Center at (859) 258-2060 and leave a message for Jennifer Degler with your name and phone number. You may also email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call my business line at home at (859)-685-7753.