For as long as she can remember, Jennifer Schneider, LCSW, LICSW, wanted to do work that would better the world.
“I grew up middle-upper class, but in a low income, very diverse area. I saw the privilege I had,” remembers Jennifer. “I saw people who had less than me and I noticed the unfairness in that. I always felt like I wanted to help others.”
Counseling became one of her early entry points into the world of helping professions.
In high school, she took a class called Peer Counseling, which included training to become a peer counselor. “I think it’s hilarious that I started counseling at that age,” Jennifer says. “I realize now how young I was, but at the time I felt very grown up.”
After college, Jennifer worked in a day program for adults with developmental disabilities and at a free clinic in California’s Bay Area before she went on to get her Master’s in Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles.
“At the time, I had decided that I really wanted to take the macro route of social work and do more policy planning, administration,” recalls Jennifer. “But because of a stipend I got while in school, I was mandated to work for my local public child welfare agency for a period of time. It was a valuable experience for me.”
Jennifer worked at nonprofits while earning her hours toward licensure and developed an interest in starting a small, niche private practice.
“I felt there were certain marginalized populations that could use a therapist who specialized in their needs,” explains Jennifer. “I’m drawn toward working with individuals who are ethically non-monogamous, an umbrella term that could mean poylamorous or open relationships, among others. This is a population that needs more therapists who understand them and don’t pathologize their choices as being the presenting problem in their relationship issues.”
Today, she makes sure clients know she is queer and poly-friendly. She’s part of a group private practice in Massachusetts, Strong Roots Counseling, where she also specializes in life transitions, chronic illness, pregnancy and postpartum mental health, as well as gender/sexual identity.
Jennifer has been supervising on and off since 2010 and currently has peer supervision clients through Motivo.
“My top value is that the supervisee feels safe and comfortable with me,” Jennifer says. “Providing a safe space and solid clinical oversight are my main goals.”
She also strives to present options to help the supervisees come up with solutions, rather than directly telling them what to do.
“There are situations where you have to take the reins if there is a crisis,” Jennifer says. “It’s better to help a supervisee really learn clinical decision-making skills.”
Additionally, she is familiar with the struggles of countertransference and tries to help supervisees cope with it.
“I try to emphasize that it happens to everyone and it is how we handle it and process it that matters,” she explains. “Just because you have it doesn’t mean you are a bad therapist. It means that something has triggered you, and it needs to be processed and talked about. I try to encourage the supervisee not to internalize it.”
And while it’s one thing to learn about these feelings in school, it may be another to experience it in the real world of one’s therapy office.
“It’s not always easy to handle,” Jennifer says. “Sometimes the client’s trauma can bring secondary trauma to the therapist. There have been studies that show this. It’s really important to have somebody to process this stuff with. The supervisor can play a big role in that, and of course, I’d also recommend that the supervisee have their own therapist and that they utilize journaling and other techniques. Really, anyone in this field should have their own therapist.”
Jennifer likes to take advantage of technology advancements in her work. She describes what she sees as the benefits of using teletherapy: the cost is generally lower, which increases access to care, those in rural areas have more options for therapists to choose from, and those who are in need of a specialist can find someone to address their needs. The same can be said for telesupervision as well.
We’d love to introduce you to Jennifer 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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