JANNEL THOMAS, MS, LGMFTSeptember 4th, 2020

Q: On behalf of the Relationship Counseling Center of Maryland (RCC), thank you for being on staff as a therapist! What has been the most exciting part in working with RCC and its clients?

A: Thank you to RCC for such a warm welcome aboard. RCC staff has truly been amazing in welcoming me onto the team. The most exciting part in working as a therapist at RCC has been working alongside a diverse, talented team of therapists to provide help to the local community. Clients at RCC have been very motivated to change their lives for the better and it has been an honor so far to help in that process.

Q: In your style of therapy, do you like to tackle the main issue head-on, or focus on the deeper issues first?

A: I think it depends on what the issue itself is. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tackle the main issue head-on if the deeper issues are not attended to first. For instance, the main issue can be the result of deeper unresolved issues. Therefore, the main issue cannot be tackled until the deeper issues are first addressed or else the main issue will continue to find different ways to present itself. On the other hand, sometimes the main issue needs to be tackled head-on to alleviate the stress it brings so that a person can get to a good space to address deeper issues.

Q: Have you yourself been to therapy?

A: Yes, during my graduate school experience I went to individual therapy. It was important for me to experience what it would be like to be a client in session. I was able to experience what it was like for a therapist to ask a client to share and be vulnerable, but from the client’s perspective. It was a great experience for me and I truly recommend everyone to go to therapy at least once in their life.

Q: What was the moment you realized you wanted to be a marriage and family therapist?

A: I realized I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist after I took a helping skills course during my undergraduate career at UMD. I actually enjoyed reading the textbook and I connected with the content. As a result, I began volunteering at a local 24-hour crisis hotline and at a local hospice organization. Both of my experiences volunteering confirmed for me that I was in the right profession and after researching, I found the marriage and family therapy program at UMD. The rest was history! ☺

Q: What do you like most about working with people?

A: I enjoy making connections with people and helping people. It is rewarding to help people work through their past and present struggles and to help them achieve the future they desire.

Q: Outside of being a therapist, what are some of your hobbies?

A: My hobbies include watching my favorite TV shows, Zumba, word searches, and hiking.

Q: What do you do for self-care?

A: For self-care I enjoy dancing, playing card and board games, hanging out with friends, taking naps, hiking, and watching dog videos.

Q: In your experience, what is the most important thing that can strengthen a relationship?

A: This is a difficult question to answer because there are many important things that can strengthen a relationship. No two relationships are the same and each relationship comes with its own strengths already. However, no matter how long you have been in a relationship or how long you have known someone, take the time to slow down and listen to your partner. Truly listen to the message they are trying to express to you, even if you disagree. Active listening is a key component in building a strong, deep emotional connection with someone which in return strengthens the relationship. So I would say open your mind, heart, and ears to the person you care about and love.