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Andrew Zapke, LCSW joined the Green House Cohort 4 in January.  We are so pleased to have him on board. We recently interviewed him about GreenHouse and his interests.

How did you learn about the Green House?

I had been aware of Lifeworks for a while, first through the Poly Support Group, and later, with KPACT. I regularly checked the website for updates and new opportunities.  During one of those visits, I read about the Green House and knew I wanted to be part of that.

What drew you to the Green House?

A friend of mine was in relationship therapy at Lifeworks, seeing a former member of the Green House program. My friend had nothing but positive things to say about their experience with that therapist. I want to become the kind of therapist that people tell their friends about, and I think the Green House program offers an opportunity to become that.

The mission of the Green House program to help develop my cultural competency, develop my clinical skills, and strengthen my identity as a therapist aligns with the short-term goals I set for myself on my path of becoming a therapist.

I do not have a great deal of training or experience in depth psychotherapy. The Green House’s focus on these theories is a particular because I want to go beyond the techniques of CBT that I use regularly. I want to explore the deeper meanings and unconscious drives of the client. I am particularly interested in working with clients who identify as, or are exploring, sexuality, erotic identity, gender and non-normative relationship configurations such as LGB, trans and gender queer, consensually non-monogamous and kink/BDSM.

What are you hoping to gain by being in the Green House and how do you imagine it will impact your future?

The Green House program offers an opportunity to explore my values, as well as my strengths and weaknesses as a therapist in a supportive environment. The main goal I have for the Green House program is to increase my knowledge and experience in using depth psychology and outpatient therapy. In my current position as an in-patient therapist, my goal is stabilize the patient and return them home mainly using CBT and solution focused techniques.  Because of this environment, I do not have an opportunity to address underlying issues, deeper meanings of actions, or defense mechanisms to create long term changes for my clients. I find this a significant missing piece in my work and am looking forward to incorporating that into my practice.

Aside from developing my clinical skills as a psychotherapist, I would also like to develop my identity as a clinician. A major question for myself is “How do the beliefs I have now hold up under ‘real-life’ conditions,” outside of the hospital environment where they were formed.   The in-service and cohort trainings will help me learn and develop new skills, competencies, and personal insights. Additionally, I would like to use this opportunity to develop my skills while receiving supervision and support from clinicians well-versed in working with marginalized populations. I want to develop my confidence, integrity, and compassion as a therapist.

At the start of my social work career, I hoped to use my social work degree in a clinic or community health setting. I valued the emphasis social work placed on social justice, which includes serving marginalized communities. I want to help individuals find validation and meaning in their lives. I imagine the Green House program will provide me the experience of working in a private practice, and all the pros and cons that come along with that. It will prepare me for exploring this new avenue of helping people. It will also give me a new set of tools I can use to help people. I always want to keep growing and learning in this field, and the program will be an area of tremendous growth.

In the short amount of time, since you joined the Green House, what has surprised you most and why?

I was surprised by the professional development and learning opportunities provided to the staff. There are always new things to learn, and Lifeworks is really invested developing the therapists who work there. This approach is very different from some of the other places I have worked.

Anything else professionally that you are particularly looking forward to this year?

I’m excited to be working in a cohort of some of the smartest and most compassionate people I have ever met. I hope to expand my circle of professional contacts.