Dr. Emily Fessler is an LMFT and AAMFT-Approved supervisor who runs her own private practice in Houston, Texas.
Emily kick started her career journey at Texas Tech, where she earned a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). She then went on to Auburn University for an M.S. and Ph.D. in HDFS, and M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Over 16 years later, she is still passionate about her client work and has successfully created a uniquely real brand of therapy that is straightforward in approach and human in execution. Occasional swear words, humor, and a ban on “therapist clichés” are key ingredients to the work at her practice, Therapy Co.
Emily has carved out a niche working with couples, particularly in the areas of sex and infidelity. She finds that couples’ work can often get to the heart of the matter quicker than individual, a perfect match for a clinician who loves to dive in.
“Honestly, most of the couples that I work with will call each other out in the first session, so as the therapist you get to bypass a lot of the getting-to-know-you small talk and get right down to the issues that they want to work on,” she says of her love of this population. “I typically tell my clients in the first session that I don’t want to waste my time or their money, and almost everyone gets on board, and those that don’t figure out quickly that therapy (at least with me) isn’t for them.”
One of Emily’s professional influences is Esther Perel. “Her no-nonsense approach to sex and sexuality is such a refershing and relevant take on what happens in modern relationships,” Emily says.
Additionally, Emily notes that over the past few years, she’s seen her clients start to grow tired of the more common Gottman and EFT approaches. “If I hit them with some Esther Perel TED talks first, they feel understood, and then are ready to start working on both the erotic and intimate sides of their relationship concurrently. It’s a win-win.”
She also lists Brené Brown’s phenomenal work on courage and shame as resonant and palatable to the masses. “Even reluctant therapy-goers can get on board with Brené’s message!”
Emily’s three core values in life (not just supervision) are transparency, kindness, and respect. “I think of all of my supervisees as peer-level colleagues and try to create an environment where they think of me likewise,” she says.
Emily counts herself lucky, as she remembers the fantastic supervisors who she still keeps in contact with today. “[My supervisor] Tom Smith used to always say to me, and everyone else, ‘It’s all about relationships,’” she says. “There isn’t another phrase that rings more true for my work … or my life!”
When it comes to being aware of counter-transference or self-of-the-therapist issues, Emily underscores that this is where her core value of transparency really helps.
“Supervision with me usually takes a really casual and conversational tone, which I think provides an atmosphere for everyone to identify, experience, and process the range of emotions that accompanies a career in psychotherapy.”
Emily really likes sharing tools and resources with her supervisees. “First and foremost, I recommend everyone to take Laura Long’s psychology today profile mini-course called From Bad to BADASS. It’s one of the best free resources out there. I also love the Tasky Confidence-Boosting Checklist from Abundance Practice Building, especially if you’re nervous about the foray into private practice. The Private Practice Startup Podcast by Kate and Katie has so many usable, tangible resources, especially related to the business side of private practice. And, I would absolutely recommend that you attend the Not the Typical Psychotherapist Summit, especially if you’re right out of school and you need a taste of the non-academic life.”
Emily also recommends some social media resources for supervisees. “Instagram is my fave social media platform and the top two therapy-related accounts that I love are @psychotherapymemes (when you need a laugh) and @dr.afshanahaque, a therapist who posts the perfect mix of funny, useful, gentle, and current stuff out there. is my favorite therapist account. On Facebook, I love Joe Sanok’s Practice of the Practice Facebook page–he’s got great short videos and often talks with giants in the field about current topics.”
Emily was an early adopter of tele-supervision. “I’ve actually been around since before Motivo was Motivo (back when it was LMFT Connect)!” she says. “I met Rachel at AAMFT and chatted with her in her booth. I had a few students that were graduating and were looking for supervisors, so I checked out the site and the rest is history!”
We’d love to introduce you to Emily 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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