Green House Experiences & Insights

Jo Flannery, AMFT, leads the LifeWorks staff in playing the (Un)Becoming Game for her Green House final creative project (2016).

We are now accepting applications for the Green House 2018 Cohort. Launched in 2016, the Green House is LifeWorks’ postgraduate psychotherapy training program. Participants join us here in Chicago for 12 months of tuition-free learning and real-world clinical experience centered on self-development, individual supervision, and cultural competency.

Wondering if the Green House is right for you or someone you know? Get insight from those who have participated before (Informational Meeting on July 29 – get more info here). We spoke with several members of the previous years’ cohorts to learn firsthand about their experiences with the Green House—here’s what they had to say:

Financial compensation for client hours: “I don’t know of any other program that provides that.”

Sarah Hemphill, LCSW & Meryl Morris, LCSW of Green House Cohort 2 (2017).

With a plethora of training and mentoring options available to new therapists, what sets the Green House apart? According to participants, the difference lies in the program’s emphasis on creativity and individualized attention, as well as the fact that Green House clinicians engage in real, paid work with clients.

“The Green House pays those of us in the program for each client we see,” said one participant, who added:

“I had been searching for a way to hone my therapeutic skills without having to pay a school a small fortune or quit my full-time job. The Green House was able to meet that criteria and allow me to be a part of a team of dynamic therapists in a progressive practice. I am getting one-on-one weekly supervision, small group weekly training, and the chance to have a caseload of clients; I don’t know of any other program that provides that.”

The program’s compensation model, weekly supervision meetings and in-service training help newly licensed clinicians feel empowered and supported in their roles. One Green House member commented that her supervisors treat her “more like a colleague than an intern,” and that, as a member of the LifeWorks staff, her “voice and opinion matter.”

“The Green House gave me great supervision that’s really altered the way I function as a clinician, and helped me deepen my relationships with clients,” she said, and remarked that in addition to payment for client sessions, the Green House also provides participants with stipends and opportunities for ongoing learning at conferences and retreats.

Multifaceted commitment: “Be ready to jump in with both feet.”

2016 Green House Cohort 1: Ally Burque, LCSW; Jo Flannery, AMFT; Natalie A. Hock, LSW; Brandon Haydon, LCSW

Participants are expected to commit to an average of 10-12 hours per week. This part-time obligation allows members of the Green House to ease into their clinical careers instead of fixating entirely on building a full caseload from day one. Nonetheless, said one participant, applicants should be ready to “jump in with both feet” and allot their time carefully in order to make the most of the program. Time management is essential if you also have a full-time job.

In contrast to other training opportunities, the Green House is designed to identify and celebrate clinicians’ unique identities and to enhance personal aptitudes and skills from within a depth psychotherapy perspective. The program does not prescribe a single model or approach for all participants to follow, but rather encourages intimate self-exploration of one’s own feelings, beliefs, biases, limitations, and strengths. Participants delve into these topics with their supervisors, as well as through assignments such as the year-end creative learning project.

The experience of self-exploration, a Green House clinician told us, was both exceptionally rewarding and emotionally challenging:

“The culmination of our development was a creative project to encompass our learning. It was really challenging, because it was creative—I had to challenge myself to share something expressive and also convey my professional identity. We shared these things with the whole practice, not just with peer group. It was a perfect blend of being seen as individuals and also underscoring who we were as therapists. Everyone’s project was dramatically different.”

Building confidence and cultural competence: “If you’re here, you can do it.”

Rami Henrich, LCSW facilitates a discussion on therapist identity with the Green House Cohort.

Created by LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center, the Green House curriculum reflects the practice’s deeply held values of inclusion and diversity in all its forms.

The Green House explicitly helps participants develop specific therapeutic skills and cultural competence with clients in marginalized communities. Clinicians learn to deepen their understanding of issues affecting those who actively identify as or are exploring sexual identities such as lesbian, gay, and bisexual; gender identities such as trans and genderqueer; relationship configurations related to non-monogamy (e.g. open, swinging, poly affective, and polyamorous relationships) and erotic identities such as kink and BDSM.

Many of the program’s participants identify or have had experience with one or more of the populations mentioned above, but extensive prior knowledge of alternative sexuality and minority identities is not a prerequisite for applicants. Clinicians of all backgrounds and levels of experience are welcome.

Differences notwithstanding, Green House participants have at least one attribute in common: a desire to learn, grow and contribute personally and professionally.

“Don’t underestimate what you have to offer because you’re in a fellowship,” one clinician said. He advised applicants to “open to the process” and “be ready to run into your own biases and limitations, and also to engage with those of your peers”:

“Everyone who comes in, regardless of their level of experience, has something to offer to the group.”

“Coming in, you feel really nervous,” another acknowledged. “Am I a real therapist? Am I working with clients? If you’re here, you can do it.”

Learn more about the Green House and apply for the 2018 program here.


 

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