Beyond the Clinical: A Look at Our Therapists In and Out of Session: Dr. Beth
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 Dr. Beth Marnix
(Nancy): What experiences have contributed to your career choice?
(Beth): I think pursuing a career in the helping field has been in me since I was a kid. I remember gravitating towards helping others when they were having a hard time, listening, wanting to be there for them and to help make it better. I remember chatting with random people on the internet - hello AOL Chat rooms - and listening to their stories and trying to help. In high school we had a career class in which we took various aptitude tests - and mine indicated that therapy/counseling or the art field may be good fits. So I explored therapy and graphic design. Ultimately gravitating to the helping field. Throughout college I worked with little kids on the autism spectrum and was contemplating between furthering my education towards special education, behavioral analyst, or psychologist. I decided to apply to graduate school for clinical psychology - and I told myself that if I did not get in, I would apply to culinary school! Well - we see how that went! I dabble in baking and cooking as a hobby and stress reliever now.
(Nancy): What was your first job?
(Beth): Babysitting; I started babysitting kids who lived in our neighborhood when I was 12. I remember before I could start babysitting, my Mom had me take a First Aid, CPR, and babysitting class at the local hospital. My first employment was at a paint your own pottery studio. I loved it! I worked there throughout high school and part of college. I loved helping people be creative and I got to paint my own pieces - some of which I still have to this day.
(Nancy): What makes being a therapist worthwhile?
(Beth): My clients. Hands down. I have been working with clients in clinical settings since 2007; and when I think back over my work with people I have standout memories of growth, progress, pain, and moments of change - both for them and me! I have learned so much about life experiences, communities, families, and ways of moving through the world from my clients. My clients have allowed me into their lives and to accompany them on a part of their path. The relationships are unique and hard to describe to anyone who isn’t a clinician or hasn’t engaged in therapy. I am grateful, thankful, and privileged to be in this career field. My path guided me through grad school and all the difficulties and hurdles on the way and I don’t see another career for me at this point in my life.
Therapy is hard work and it is not magic.
(Nancy): What are your self-care activities that you use to manage life stressors and unwind?
(Beth): To manage life stressors I try to practice what I encourage my clients to do: taking breaks, acupressure breathing, and realistic expectations. I am not so great with that one! I tend to have very high expectations for myself and what I can accomplish in a given day. I am working on it though. To unwind, I enjoy talking my lunch break on our patio and watching our dogs sun themselves. Just a little bit of that Texas heat and sun before I go back inside! I enjoy hanging out with my husband and dogs on the couch, board games, spending time with friends and family, watching the latest dance move Instagram reels (and funny frenchie reels!), and finding the best Queso in Austin. I really enjoy creative pursuits and I try to add that into my life in various ways. Most recently through fluid art/painting. I also enjoy photography. I am looking at starting a pottery wheel throwing class in the future.
(Nancy): Are you currently reading any books or binge watching any shows?
(Beth): Most of the books that I read are business or therapy related. I am currently reading a therapeutic book about EMDR and Radical Candor by Kim Scott. I am currently jumping between several TV Shows: Crime Scene Kitchen, Master Chef, Bosch, The Sopranos, and Atypical.
(Nancy): What would you want someone who has never been to therapy to know about therapy?
(Beth): Therapy is a unique and special time and relationship where you really get to be seen, heard, and understood. It is a place to say what is on the top of your head or deep within your heart and have that space be held and protected without judgement. The more you are willing to lean in, open up, explore, and try new things… you will see benefits. Also - change does not happen overnight. Therapy is hard work and it is not magic.
I have learned so much about life experiences, communities, families, and ways of moving through the world from my clients.
(Nancy): What have you felt most challenged by as a therapist?
(Beth): When I am working with clients and we hit a very pertinent, poignant, and painful piece and I watch my clients experience the range of emotions and allow that space to occur without interfering. Holding back to allow my clients to experience what they need to in a safe environment can be very challenging sometimes as I feel pulled to want to ease their pain. But, I know that me interfering only prolongs the process and takes away from their growth.
(Nancy): What is your ideal way to spend a day off?
(Beth): Coffee first. I enjoy trying new independent coffee shops around town. In recent years I started exploring pour over coffee and have transitioned away from milk and sugar to black coffee (don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good sweet coffee beverage - especially with fall spices). After leisurely spending time drinking my coffee and eating either breakfast tacos or a delicious pastry I am ready for the rest of my day! Now…my days off are energy dependent. If I have the energy, I want to be out and exploring something new (especially since I have not been doing much of that during this pandemic) - new shop, place to take photos, cocktails, food. But on those days when it has been a hard week, sometimes I either need to be chilling on the couch with my hubs and pups or spending some alone time.
(Nancy): How do you feel about technology and its impact on therapy?
(Beth): I think it is great! Prior to engaging in teletherapy, I used technology to connect with clients - whether we created YouTube playlists of music to listen to, mindfulness exercises, or funny video clips or found helpful apps for mood tracking or sleep. Technology and teletherapy also allows my clients and I to connect when we are not in the same city or there are other prohibitive factors. While I love technology and teletherapy - and believe that it is here to stay, I am looking forward to the time when it will be safe to meet in person and have therapy. There is something extraordinary in the physical therapeutic space - where clients can come, find comfort and safety, and leave some difficulties behind.
(Nancy): Where is your favorite place?
(Beth): My favorite place in the world is: The Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. It is a beautiful lighthouse positioned on a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. With the iconic rocky shore that New England is known for. I love visiting it in all seasons! I love the beauty of the location, the calmness when taking in the ocean and surroundings, and the memories I have created here. I love it so much I even have it as a tattoo!