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  • Writer's pictureBright Light Counseling Center

Beyond the Clinical: A Look at Our Therapists In and Out of Session: Kate

Updated: May 15

Kate Morales leaning against a cement wall in Austin Texas

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 Kate Morales, M.Psy, LPA (supervised by Dr. Beth Marnix).

Kate is a therapist in our Austin, Texas office. She provides therapy in person as well as online to residents of Texas.

(Nancy): What do you like to do in your free time/for fun?

(Kate):  In my free time I like to look for small festivals. I love going around small vendors, and looking at their amazing work! I also enjoy finding new places to eat, the more authentic the better! I like to road trips, with  no specific destination and just stop in places I find in the way.  I have to say that my favorite thing to do in my free time is spending it with my family and friends! Nothing better than creating fun memories.

(Nancy): Are you currently binge watching any shows?

(Kate): The show that I’m currently watching (as I can) is Call the Midwife. I do have my other go to shows such as This is us, The Good Doctor, Criminal Minds. All depends on the mood of the day. 

(Nancy): What music is on your playlist?

(Kate): From Salsa, to reggaeton, to good old Spanish rock music! I love music! So depending on the mood of the day and the motivation I’m looking to start or finish my day, is the playlist that is going to be on in my radio. 

Book Cover for the Body Keeps the Score

(Nancy): Are you currently reading any books?

(Kate): I just finished The Body Keeps  the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. I need to look for something new, and maybe not work related. LOL

(Nancy): What is your favorite dish to eat?

(Kate): I have to say that my favorite dish is Mofongo, (Dish from Puerto Rico, meaning mash plantain, mixed with garlic, bacon and your favorite meat or seafood!). That one is hard to find here, so I have to make it when I crave it. However, I’m always open to trying new plates, (non spicy!) and places.

picture of Madrid Spain
Madrid, Spain

(Nancy): Where is one place you would like to travel to and why?

(Kate): I would love going in a  backpack trip around Europe! Being able to visit Spain, England, Germany, Amsterdam, Portugal and be able to enjoy the food and culture. I would love to see my Passport full of stamps!

(Nancy): What helps you to relax and calm your mind??

(Kate): I enjoy either going for a drive with loud music or watching some comedy movies. Nothing better than a few good laughs to let go of the stress.

(Nancy): What is your ideal way to spend a day off?

(Kate): My ideal day would be a “lazy day!” A day of not doing chores and just hanging around with my family in a messy bun and PJs.

waves on a white beach with rocks

(Nancy): What is your favorite place?

(Kate): I love and miss so much being on the beach! Just sitting in front of the ocean with a speaker playing music,  my feet in the sand and seeing the big ocean  and waves in front of me.

(Nancy): What was your first job?

(Kate): My first job was delivering pizza! I’m proud to say I was the first girl making deliveries. When I was not making deliveries, I was making the pizzas, and eating cups of mozzarella cheese. It has been one of the most fun times of my life!

(Nancy): What made you choose counseling as a career?

(Kate): I was working in a summer camp as a leader/staff for kids. I think my group was not older than 10 years old. There was this girl in my group that in one of the trips, instead of looking happy, she was looking so sad. I could feel something was wrong but she would not say a word. As a 16 year old, I was not sure what was going on with that girl, but it just crossed my mind that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to help others that were not feeling good, or were going through something difficult to make feel and be in a better place. I still think about that girl often. 

(Nancy): What do you enjoy most about being a therapist?

(Kate): What I really liked about being a therapist is when my clients have those “aha” moments. When exploring and navigating their concerns something clicks and opens a new world or at least window of possibilities. I enjoy learning and growing with each client. No matter how many clients I have worked with, each new interaction is a new experience.

white teen smiling in therapy session

(Nancy): What do you think makes you stand out as a therapist?

(Kate): I think what makes me stand out as a therapist is that I start and end each session with a hint of humor or a positive “vibe.” I believe that laughter is a natural healer, so I try my best to incorporate some of it with each of my clients.

(Nancy): What is your specialty or niche? And why?

(Kate): Working with anxiety and depressive disorders, because I’m able to explore, discuss with my clients about those dark thoughts, and feelings that they may be experiencing as we would talk about any other topics. I have seen how just being able to express everything they have been holding in to themselves or being afraid to express to others, leads to a freedom of expression that really improves their overall mental health. 

(Nancy): What would you want someone who has never been to therapy to know about therapy?

(Kate): That therapy is an essential part of feeling overall healthy. That as we go to the dentist to take care of our teeth, to the doctor when feeling sick, or to the store to dress ourselves, therapy is the way that we take care of our mind/brain. Is a way to validate, respect and love our experiences and say thank you to our brain for everything it does for us 24/7. 

(Nancy): What is rewarding about working with your clients?

(Kate): Seeing they are achieving their personal goals. Seeing how they transform their life for themselves, become empowered and find new meaning to their past, present and future experiences. 

(Nancy): What have you felt most challenged by as a therapist?

(Kate): I think it has been one of the most challenging moments in my career, has been moving from Puerto Rico to Austin, and having to begin providing services in English.. Moving from that comfort zone that is your language, while figuring out how to provide the same level of service in another language has been a daily adjustment and  growth for me.

glass marble with blue background

(Nancy): What makes being a therapist worthwhile?

(Kate): How much I learn about myself by working with others. I had a professor that once asked us why we were studying psychology. While most of us responded “to help others,” “to be an agent of change,” he challenged us by saying “You liars, you are here to learn how to manage your own selves.” As of today, I think this is still true and valid. Each encounter is an opportunity to reflect in my own life while helping others to connect with their own life. I think this is a win-win situation, and completely worthwhile.

I believe that laughter is a natural healer, so I try my best to incorporate some of it with each of my clients.

(Nancy): How have current events impacted how you approach therapy?

(Kate): It has brought an awareness of how fragile we are as humans, and society. I think this sense of awareness increases a feeling of empathy and sympathy throughout the vulnerability that can be present in each unique situation. But I think the most important thing and what continues to amaze me is that after each difficult event brings up the resilience in us, as after every difficult and painful experience there is a movement to stand up, arise from the challenges and keep moving forward.

woman participating in online counseling

(Nancy): How do you feel about technology and its impact on therapy?

(Kate): Technology has brought immense benefits for society, and open ways to connect, understand and see the world. As a therapist that has been actively working before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel that there is a completely different feeling in being present in the office, having that one to one connection that is very challenging to have by telehealth. However, I think technology has opened the possibility of many people to be able to engage in therapy, that given where they live, or restriction in time they would not be able to get access to services and improve their quality of life. That is something I really appreciate about these new technology possibilities.

(Nancy): What is one common misconception about therapy that you would change, if you could? Why?

(Kate): That the therapist will tell you what to do. I don’t see myself as a therapist that could ever tell anyone what to choose to do with their lives. I believe therapists work collaboratively with their clients to guide a process of self exploration and learn about their own possibilities. Another one would be that therapy “does not work.” Nothing works if you don’t really work for it, if you don’t see the need to work on what is not working out in your life . Once that misconception is broken, amazing things happen in sessions. 


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