Claudia Glassman is a licensed marriage and family therapist and registered play therapist supervisor credentialed in both Georgia and Florida. She is currently working to become a AAMFT-approved supervisor in both states as well. Passionate about helping both children and their parents, Claudia has built an online practice serving the needs of families, helping them create lifelong change through coaching and skill building. However, Claudia, who now has over 13 years experience, remembers clearly that the road to becoming a therapist was a winding one.
“I started off as a psych major in college, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that.” laughs Claudia. “This sounds terrible, but I actually thought, ‘I don’t want to hear people complain about their problems all day.’ Because, like most of us, I was playing therapist to my friends at the time and the only tool I had was my own opinion.”
Claudia decided to be “practical” and switched her major to business – hating every course except marketing and, instead, minored in psychology.
After graduating, Claudia worked in sales. Needless to say, she didn’t love it. For a while she taught kid gymnastics, which was enjoyable, but not enough to sustain a lifelong passion. She started thinking about what was next, if she should go back to school and, if so, for what? She toyed with the idea of law school, or a degree in special education.
Her then-boyfriend, now-husband, pointed out that she often read psychology books “for fun.” “That’s kind of weird,” she recalls him saying, “Maybe you’d like to revisit that?”
She sat with his observation and realized he was onto something. Her next step was enrolling in The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Miami.
“I can’t believe I took such a roundabout way to get to where I was going, but I needed that journey,” Claudia says today. “When I quit my psych major because I didn’t want a job ‘listening to people complain all day,’ I obviously had no idea what the mental health field actually looked like. Once I started exploring what a therapist really does, it all came together. It’s not just listening to people complain; it’s helping people get tools to manage their lives or to process something.”
One aspect of the field Claudia loves most is watching how her clients grow on their journeys, especially children. She finds fulfillment knowing her work helps them to lead full, healthy lives.
“In therapy with kids, I use play as a way to communicate, to help them process things,” says Claudia. “When you’re an adult, you can sit down and we can have a conversation. But if you’re nine, you might not always have the words. Toys really allow them to work through various challenges or learn new coping skills.”
Initially, Claudia wanted to be a couples therapist. Just out of school, however, she was anxious to get her license and took a job working with kids. Surprisingly, she found she loved it. She deepened and expanded her clinical skills by training and achieving certification as a play therapist. Since then, she’s worked with children and as a parent coach.
“I remind my supervisees that you can always recreate a niche, which is something I love about this field,” explains Claudia. “I mean, I could get training in something else at any point. For example, I’ve been toying with the idea of venturing into perinatal mental health. You’re really never stuck necessarily in just one spot.”
Claudia is appreciative of her positive experience with supervisors. She recalls getting some tough cases and having a very small therapy tool box. During that time she doing in-home work. She found that in addition to the children’s behavioral and emotional issues, the parents sometimes were struggling with mental health issues of their own. She had a parent jump on her car, another accused her of kidnapping her children, and several threatened her in some way. Fortunately, her supervisor was very supportive and very calming. She appreciates that he allowed her to fumble, but with support.
“I had some challenging cases that I was ready to run from,” recalls Claudia. “I mean, I think at one point I said, ‘If this is the job then I’m not it. This is too much.’ Supervision was honestly for my own survival and well-being.”
Ready to pay it forward, Claudia is now an supervisor candidate, receiving supervision for her supervision.
“It brings back all those feelings I had at my first job,” Claudia notes. “I’m now saying the things my supervisors said to me: ‘I went through this, too. You will get past this. You will gain skills. You will get more comfortable. And if you stick with it, you’ll find out for yourself what kind of therapist you’re going to be.’”
Considering her own personal career journey, it is no surprise that Claudia places such a value on self-discovery as a therapist and one of her goals as a supervisor is to help guide her supervisees to find who they’re going to be.
“It would be flattering to have a lot of people that think I’m just amazing, that they want to be just like me. But I don’t want that. I want everyone to grow into their version of the therapist that they want to be. I really honor independence and individuality. Not everyone’s going to do things my way – they need to find their own way and do what works for them, within their personality, their beliefs, and their viewpoints.”
Claudia also knows firsthand how challenging it can be to even find a supervisor. There weren’t any marriage and family therapists at her job, which is what she needed. She had to seek outside supervision, which was expensive and hard to find.
“That’s one reason I love Motivo,” she says. “The accessibility as well as the flexibility. I may have supervisees that, because their schedules, need to meet during evening hours. I probably would not stay in the office until 9:00 pm to do it, but at home? Yeah! I can get my kids to bed, do an hour long session and then go about my evening.”
While she was a little apprehensive to provide supervision online, over time she has become accustomed to it. Claudia has been both supervisor and supervisee through Motivo, and, at this point, she feels like she’s “met her [supervisor/supervisees] in person a hundred times. It’s that comfortable.'”
We’d love to introduce you to Claudia through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.
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