Based in Evanston, IL, Janet Donnelly London is an AAMFT-approved supervisor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, mentor and teacher who believes strongly in helping others achieve both personal and professional growth. She works from the perspective of understanding and focusing on clients’ and supervisees’ “growing edges”. These are the areas that can both limit and promote growth and development. She helps both clients and supervisees learn to identify these edges and work through their fears to live more empowered, rich lives.
A helper at heart, Janet grew up volunteering in her aunt’s special education classroom. She thought this was a natural career path for her until a practicum experience during her senior year at Cornell University caused her to rethink her future. Knowing she wanted to work with children and others in need, she made the shift to social work and counseling, earning a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and later, a specialist degree from Northwestern University.
Fast forward to today and it’s clear that following her gut was the right decision. Janet has over 30 years of clinical experience, she’s been a supervisor and teacher at the renowned Family Institute at Northwestern University for over 20 years, and she runs a successful private practice, which has reaped its own rewards in her career. “From the get-go, I thoroughly enjoyed being on my own [in private practice] and seeing clients according to my schedule,” she says.
That isn’t to say there weren’t any challenges that came with running a business. “It was tough to market myself … as well as finding the right peer group for consultation.” Ultimately, she attributes her relationship building skills to her success, noting how important it is to not only sustain, but enjoy relationships with others.
Though Janet works with a variety of clients in her practice, when pressed at cocktail parties for her “niche,” she likes to say she specializes in relationships. She works with families, couples and other dyadic relationships such as siblings, friendships or mother-daughter sets.
“My clients have aged along with me,” she says. “I used to work with families with young children and now I have less and less of that, though I do love working with parents. I am mostly helping couples transition to new phases of their lives and help their relationships stay strong.”
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As a supervisor, Janet is aware of the importance of the supervisory relationship, emphasizing areas of both professionalism and commitment. She also gently helps supervisees learn about self-of-the-therapist and where their own unique growing edges are.
“I see ‘growing edges’ as areas in which supervisees need to take a risk. This might result in some discomfort, but it’s how we evolve as therapists,” she says.
Again, this is why the supervisory relationship – and more importantly the feelings of trust and safety within the relationship – is so important. “Once safety is established, I usually request that the supervisee present their own family of origin, highlighting areas in which they might be vulnerable from the self-of-the therapist perspective, as well as, where there are strengths.”
Janet works to create a non-judgmental environment, emphasizing that “we all make mistakes. We all fail. I try to share some of my past mistakes as a therapist to make them feel comfortable.”
Candidly, Janet notes that expanding into telesupervision through Motivo’s platform has been one of her own growing edges. However, she’s extremely impressed by the research on teletherapy and feels excited by what she can accomplish in this new space.
Think Janet might be the perfect supervisor for you?
We’d love to introduce you to Janet through a free, 15-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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