Can you describe your role at FCI?
At Fertility Centers of Illinois my role is behavioral health specialist. In this role, I am tasked with supporting our patients through supportive consultations and psychological assessments for third-party reproduction. In addition, I am involved in patient empowerment/education and staff support initiatives.
How long have you been with FCI?
I began working with FCI in the summer of 2018.
What made you decide to work in fertility?
By training, I am a clinical psychologist, with a subspecialty in health psychology. I have always been interested in the bidirectional relationship between mental health and the promotion of health and prevention of illness. The majority of my work prior to joining FCI was in cancer prevention and control and working with cancer patients in a variety of clinical settings. I wanted to broaden my clinical reach and saw many parallels between the two patient populations.
What do you love about your role?
I love the interaction that I have with the patients. Even though I have been a clinician for many years now, I still look forward to that first meeting. Being able to connect with an individual and have them feel comfortable enough with you to share their thoughts and feelings is a powerful and special experience. Even when patients initially present very guarded or less than enthused to see me, over time you see their guard slowly release as they become more comfortable and engaged and that is a nice experience to be a part of.
What is your proudest moment at FCI?
There is not one moment thus far that I am most proud of. However, I very much enjoy those instances when it seems that patients leave a consultation with me feeling supported and more hopeful than when they came in. Many times patients will comment and say, “Wow this was not what I expected at all, this was quite enjoyable and/or informative.” Hearing comments like these are really special because it shows me that I was helpful in some way and also it’s nice to be able to adjust people’s perceptions about psychologists and behavioral/mental health in general.
You see everyone go through the ups and downs. How do you support patients?
I try to actively listen to patients without any preconceived notions. I have learned that what people choose to share with you is either intentional or important to them, so I try to actively listen to patients and respond accordingly. Many of the patients that I work with are seeking a sense of normalcy and connectedness, often inquiring if I work with others with similar thoughts and feelings. I try to encourage patients to feel what they feel and not feel bad about it. Providing a sense of normalcy and an expression of understanding are important for many patients and allows them to feel heard and supported.
What is a quote that inspires you?
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward” – Abraham Lincoln
I really like this quote because in many ways I think it speaks to my way of being and personality. I try to be very thoughtful in my actions, and I think this quote speaks to that quite nicely and serves as both an inspiration and reminder to do so.