Sarah Hemphill, MSW, LSW, is one of four therapists to join LifeWorks this year through the Green House, our postgraduate psychotherapy training and mentoring program.
What first drew you to the Green House?
Coming from a background in medical social work, I was drawn to the Green House as a space where I could gain experience providing long-term psychotherapy. While I love the intensity of working with medical patients, I was looking for the space and tools to go deeper with my clients than the brief interventions possible in a hospital setting. Speaking with last year’s Green House therapists, I realized that this is the very space I had been looking for where I can grow into new experiences while staying true to my values as a therapist.
From the beginning of my education and career I have been drawn to work with sexuality and marginalized groups, especially those in the non-monogamy and sex-worker communities. This has dovetailed with my work in reproductive health and creating space for LGBT and sexual minority patients, but I have had limited opportunities to collaborate with professionals intentionally serving these populations. For the past several years I had been impressed by the intentionality with which LifeWorks was focusing on LGBT, kink, and non monogamy, and pleasantly surprised to hear that they were also, of late, reaching out to the sex worker community. Stepping away from work with those in acute physical trauma, I am looking forward to holding the same trauma-informed skills for people who may have faced potentially subtler social and inter-personal traumas.
Tell us about your goals and aspirations—what are you hoping for in the rest of 2017 and beyond?
I think that if I were able to tell myself one year ago that at this point in my career I would be sitting across from my current clients and learning alongside intelligent and intriguing colleagues, I would have thought it was too good to be true! So, I am hesitant. I don’t want to sell myself short for where I may be by the end of the Green House.
That said, I want to use my time in the Green House to do the internal work to make sure I am moving forward in my role as a therapist with intentionality. I aim to use this time to try on some new approaches in order to feel out a path that feels right for me, and to be purposeful about serving my clients and impacting communities in ways that are most beneficial for those who need it. Hopefully, this will mean not only gaining tools and practice to better serve my clients but also learning how to better collaborate with others in the world beyond. I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but growing, stretching, and improving in these areas feels right and necessary right now.
What are you most looking forward to in the Green House?
I already love getting to know other LifeWorks therapists and seeing glimpses of how they think about interacting with clients and each other. I find people to be the most fascinating, complex, and wonderful thing about the world—surprise, surprise, probably why I became a therapist! I admire the dedication to cultural humility, open-minded views, and overall joy that I have seen at LifeWorks, and I am thrilled to learn from and grow with such a talented group of other clinicians.