Sometimes it can feel like a mystery when searching for a therapist.
You read and scroll all of the websites, profiles, and clinical information, but you don’t usually get to hear from the therapist in their own words.
Bright Light Counseling Center decided to lift the veil and introduce our therapists, in their own words. Learn more about them both personally and professionally.
This month we are interviewing Adam Scartozzi, LCPC, LMHC
(Nancy): What made you choose counseling?
(Adam): Like many therapists, I found the idea of helping others by supporting and encouraging them to courageously face their challenges, to be very exciting. I felt like I had already been doing this with friends throughout my teens, so the idea of becoming a counselor fit my experience, my talents, and my (growing yet basic) skill set. However, I think the honesty, openness, and heart of the clients I have had over the years has not only nurtured my early interest in counseling, but has sustained my commitment to it as I advance through my career.
(Nancy): What do you enjoy most about being a therapist?
(Adam): I enjoy the range of emotional experiences that can happen in therapist-client relationships. I deeply value developing relationships with people and being with them as they navigate some of the most intense moments in life. I find so much joy in the variety of people, personalities, and perspectives that I have had the benefit of meeting. I think this has helped me to grow personally, quite a lot.
(Nancy): What is your specialty or niche? And why?
(Adam): I have found a deep interest in helping others navigate the emotional hurdles preventing their living a meaningful, fulfilling life. As a result, I have really found my passion as a therapist has been in helping people stuck at the crossroads of anxiety, feelings of low self-worth, and existential dilemmas. There are a range of issues that intersect with these emotional challenges to varying degrees, but they often overlap to some extent. I have spent a lot of time engaging with these concerns as a result of my work with clients, but also seeing aspects of these struggles in the lives of those close to me.
(Nancy): What helps you to relax and calm your mind?
(Adam): Music definitely helps to calm my mind. It also helps me, like many people, feel emotions and think them through, without being overwhelmed by them. I think talking with friends as well as doing anything creative scratches the need for expression, productive action, and playfulness. I think having fun is the prerequisite to a calm and relaxed mind. Making space for fun is vital to a fulfilling life as much as a calm mind. This idea has been a gift given to me by so many people, clients included!
(Nancy): What do you like to do in your free time/for fun?
(Adam): Right now it has been centered on sewing a wardrobe for myself. When I am not involved in some aspects of sewing, I like to read, cook, learn about/practice fermentation, and spend time with friends/family.
I have really found my passion as a therapist has been in helping people stuck at the crossroads of anxiety, feelings of low self-worth, and existential dilemmas.
(Nancy): What is your favorite dish to eat?
(Adam): Ethiopian food!! Misir wot + gomen -- *chef's kiss*
(Nancy): Are you currently reading any books or binge watching any shows?
(Adam): A client recommended the book “Letters From a Stoic”, so I have been reading that lately, but I generally like to have a few different books in play so I can choose based on my mood as well as my commitment level at the time. I recently read “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy and really enjoyed it. I am always up for recommendations! As far as tv shows I just finished “Barry” which was great! 10 out of 10.
(Nancy): What would you want someone who has never been to therapy to know about therapy?
(Adam): I think one of the more important things to know is that therapy, when there is a good working relationship between the client and the therapist, is a collaborative process. Many people may assume or even hope that the therapist will offer advice and answers to the problems that the client is feeling challenged by. While this may be useful at times in the process of therapy, there is a deeper value that can be found in a collaborative, supportive, and encouraging relationship as opposed to one that is purely directive.
(Nancy): What was your first job?
(Adam): My first job working with elementary school students in an after school program, helping them with homework and spending time with them.
(Nancy): What do you think makes you stand out as a therapist?
(Adam): I think I would answer this differently based on the client or clients I have in mind. I do think that I am a person that is attentive, engaged, and diplomatic in my approach to the process of therapy. I think also, I have keen understanding and awareness of systemic issues and the ways in which those issues impact individuals. Being part of a marginalized group has given me perspective in relating to the experience of other marginalized people. I think this can be incredibly important in the therapeutic process.
In contrast (or not, perhaps), I think my sense of humor is extremely important in my therapeutic work. While there are times where humor is not useful (gotta read the room!), it helps us all relax and connect with one another much more easily. I have been known to say to clients, emphatically, “if we aren’t able to enjoy ourselves what is the point?”
(Nancy): What is one common misconception about therapy that you would change, if you could? Why?
(Adam): I think one misconception that I would change is the idea that therapy is a linear process. While there is much that can be gained from the use of evidenced-based treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, such treatments often give the false sense of therapy as a “magic pill” ready to whatever issue is at hand. I think the therapeutic relationship has the potential to be something more beneficial than that. I think it has the potential to be a one-of-a-kind working relationship where profound relational insights can be experienced if both therapist and client can move beyond a strict outcome-focused finding of “answers” or achievement of goals.
Many people may assume or even hope that the therapist will offer advice and answers to the problems that the client is feeling challenged by.
(Nancy): How do you feel about technology and its impact on therapy?
(Adam): I think it has largely been positive. It has given therapists and clients more options and flexibility in how they meet, as in the case of telemedicine. I do think the widespread acceptance of teletherapy will allow therapy to meet the needs of an ever changing society, as it has done for many people throughout 2020 into 2021. Like any human interaction though, there will never be a technology that replaces the power of a face-to-face encounter. I think the future is one in which there is a hybrid between in-person and distanced appointments.
(Nancy): How have current events impacted how you approach therapy?
(Adam): I think I have witnessed the difficulty for many people to weather the winds of cultural change, but facing those difficulties by bringing them into our social consciousness has been long overdue. It however has made for an emotionally challenging year. As a result, my approach to therapy has centered on helping people come to terms with this new context with a focus on transforming feelings of fear, guilt, and anxiety into emotionally constructive actions. I have, myself, grown a lot in the last year, but overall I felt ready for the challenge of the year and have felt grateful to be able to be with people struggling to make sense of life amidst such a turbulent time in history.
I think one misconception that I would change is the idea that therapy is a linear process.
(Nancy): What makes being a therapist worthwhile?
(Adam): Being with people, sometimes at really difficult moments in life, helping people find their way through and hopefully creating new ways to overcome perennial issues in their lives. Besides that, I think having a chance to know people on a deep level very quickly, to be trusted with their emotional vulnerabilities, and see how much of life is universal across a huge variety of people.
(Nancy): Where is one place you would like to travel to and why?
(Adam): I would like to see the Pacific Northwest. I have never been, but have seen such beautiful photos. I definitely need to see it myself. Or maybe London, England? That seems cool too!
(Nancy): What have you felt most challenged by as a therapist?
(Adam):I think keeping up with the pace of my own life alongside that of the people I am working with. Sometimes our concerns overlap and that can be challenging to acknowledge while maintaining composure.
(Nancy): What is rewarding about working with your clients?
(Adam): The most rewarding part of working with my particular clients is being able to have a meeting of the minds, to learn from one another, and laugh while also digging into deeply personal emotional challenges.
(Nancy): What music is on your playlist?
(Adam): A variety. A few bands/artists I have been enjoying lately: Deftones, Turnstile, Smino, Binboy, The Mars Volta, and many many more.
(Nancy): What is your ideal way to spend a day off?
(Adam): Reading a good book in the sun, spending time laughing with friends, and/or sewing while listening to music or a good podcast.
(Nancy): What is your favorite place?
(Adam): Top secret! Second place is probably outside on a mild summer night enjoying a bonfire with friends.