This month we will begin our new feature in which we highlight one of our members. We will learn a little more about them personally and what they can offer through their practice.
Since Robyn Wendell has been with us the longest, we decided she would be a great place to begin. I sent Robyn several questions and asked her to answer a few of them. First a little more about Robyn:
Originally from Chicago, Robyn attended Stanford University and University of Texas where she completed her LCSW. She has been in Austin since 2000 and enjoys curling up with a good book, solving logic and jigsaw puzzles, yoga, exploring the outdoors, and traveling and spending time with her husband and daughter.
How did you choose to go into therapy?
My path to therapy was not so much a single decision on a particular day as it was a realization that many of the things I enjoyed and chose to do in my spare time were related to working with and counseling others.
Looking back, I starting counseling others as a teenager. Once in college at Stanford, that need to help others grew stronger and I chose to volunteer at our student Sexual Health Peer Resource Center. Later, I became a Resident Assistant in the dorms as a way to help other students and give back to the school. Even in my first job out of college, my team asked me to be one of the employees to help everyone else cope with the uncertainty around us as layoffs and corporate downsizing started happening. It was after leaving that job and starting to work with social workers at the statewide abuse and neglect hotline, that I finally acknowledged that I wanted to spend my life helping others through counseling.
I went to graduate school at UT to obtain a Master of Science in Social Work and worked in many settings over the following ten or so years. Last year, I chose to shift my focus and go into private practice. I saw private practice as a way to have greater control and flexibility over how I provided care for my clients. It is a wonderful privilege and awesome responsibility to now be the person making the choices and policy decisions on how to structure my practice, but I truly believe it allows me to be the best therapist I can be to my clients.
What is something that may surprise us to know? / If you were in a different profession, what would you choose and why?
I started out in college as an Electrical Engineering and Psychology double major. If I were to choose a different profession, it would likely be in the technology sector. Before starting my private practice, I contemplated enrolling in a coding bootcamp to learn software programming and web design. Also, I am a fan of sports cars. As a child, I wanted to be a race car driver by day and an emergency veterinarian by night.
If you could go anywhere, where and why?
I would love to visit Australia, New Zealand, and some of the Polynesian Islands. The photographs have always looked amazing.
What is your ultimate comfort food?
Mango with sticky rice!
Robyn specializes in:
Adjustment to changes in health and/or ability
I fell in to private practice. It wasn't planned at all. I was studying Spanish with the goal of becoming a bilingual counselor and had fully intended to work at a community mental health agency. I had just returned from Connecticut and was excited to get going on my career after long years of graduate school.
That wasn't in the cards. No one was hiring. At the time, agencies wanted masters level clinicians to do therapy, not psychologists. I found myself stuck.
I took a position working in a private practice in order to finish my post-doc. At the time, it felt like I didn't have much choice. Little did I know that I was beginning a journey that would open up choice to me in ways I hadn't anticipated I would need or want.
My supervisor (and boss) was dedicated to teaching her post-docs how to be successful in private practice. She modeled for me setting my fee, taught me how to set limits around cancellations and no shows, and helped me understand my new role as money-collector in all the crazy feelings that it spurred in me.
As a result, I found a job that allowed me the flexibility I needed to start a family. As a woman raised as a feminist, I had given no thought to how my family and career would coexist. Once I had a child, I realized I did not want to work 40 hours a week or the after-school hours that being a child-therapist required. A drastic shift had to happen: a shift that was easily accomplished in private practice!
Now, I finish by 2pm three days a week to pick up my kids from school so I can play and explore and cook with them; two days a week I stay late to see clients who need after school or after work hours. It's a lovely set-up I feel so lucky to be able to pull off.
The price of freedom
Nothing is free.
In this case, the cost of the freedom of private practice was needing to turn inward to understand the messages that I had about my worth, money and what success is. By doing this work, but tuning in to myself, my needs, and my stories I have carried, I was able to be clear about what I wanted our of my career and how to create it. That work isn't easy though. It's much better to have folks around you who can explore it with you and help you grow.
I choose to live out my gratitude for the support I was given by many mentors by giving back to those who face similar questions.
Do I deserve this money this person is paying me?
Am I worth it?
How do I ask for money?
How do I know I'm good enough?
So many complicated questions. Over the years I have chosen to supervise students as a way to help them in their development. More recently, I started Launch Wellness as a way to reach out to therapists new to private practice to help them feel supported, nurtured, and grounded in their journey.
The Next Step
After months of reflection, I decided the next way for me to grow in supporting others is by starting a Mastermind Group. Our first group filled quickly, much to my surprise and delight, and we start this week!
I am thrilled to give support to a group of amazing women and help them feel loved, nurtured and supported. I cannot wait to share this part of their journey with them and hold space for them to grow and explore.
As I age, my heart opens and swells with love and gratitude. It is one of the great gifts of getting older. I hope each of you finds someone to hold you when you find yourself in a tender spot. You deserve it.
Are you feeling bubbly? Full of life and love? Choose a Valentine wine that matches your sparkling personality. Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not, whether that means an elaborate dinner out or cozy take-out in, the evening is elevated with a good glass of bubbles.
While you can find great sparkling wines around the world, one region is synonymous with bubbles: Champagne. Only wines made from grapes grown in that region are true Champagnes. If you are set on a sparkler from France but at a more reasonable price point, look for the label Crémant. From Spain, it is Cava. In Italy, Prosecco. Domestically, you are likely to see it labeled as Sparkling wine. I have favorites with each moniker.
First let's talk Champagne. The first thing you're likely to see is the producer. then the level of sweetness, Brut is the most dry, Doux the sweetest. Looking at the label further, you will see reference to the year it was produced. If it states a "Vintage", it is all from one harvest, likely a great year worthy of being named. Otherwise, it will state "Non-Vintage."
It is a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier and is produced by Traditional method or "Méthode champenoise." If it states "Blanc de Blanc" it is made entirely with Chardonnay. Blanc de Noir is made from a varying combination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but will still pour as colorless. If you want pink, look for the term rosé, the color coming from grape skin contact.
There are seven possible recognized regions in France for Crémant . One favorite is Alsace, and example is Lucein Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose. It is strawberry shortcake in a glass. Fresh strawberry, biscuits, with a creamy finish. The bubbles are delicate, lively acidity, floral nose. With a price point around $20, you get all of the elegance at half the price of its Champagne equivalent..
From Spain, I love all of the bubbles from the Codorniu. Their introductory Cava starts around $8 and is tasty enough to drink alone and a great mimosa mix.. Next, is their Anna line. The rose is a stunning nearly fuchsia color, the bottle is beautiful, the contents are super tasty for the price point. The flagship is the Gran Codorniu. I was blown away when I tried it. Fresh lively berries and great acidity, delicate bubbles and around $20.
Want to look closer to home? I am a fan of the Argyle or RMS from Oregon, JCB Rosé, J Winery or Gloria Ferrer from California. Expect to pay more than Cava, less than Champagne. Probably in the $17-$25 range.
Choosing a wine should be fun. Decide on a price point, ask for help, Pick a label you like or use these tips. Try something new or choose a tried and true. Whether you end your day with a bubbly bath or a glass or bubbles, alone or with a special someone, I wish you a day filled with a love that sparkles.
Did you know…….when you're awake, your brain generates enough electricity to power a light bulb. This is the power of your brainwaves and Neurofeedback.
What exactly is Neurofeedback? Neurofeedback is a way to quantify and train brain activity. The basic principles of how neurofeedback works are deceptively simple.
Electrical + chemical activity = the BRAIN. Communication between groups of cells in the brain generates thoughts, sensations, actions and emotions. The activity is detectable in the form of brainwave electrical impulses.
During a neurofeedback session, sensors detect your brainwaves in real time. A computer compares your brain activity to targets or goals for you to reach. Sounds and images from specialized EEG games (yes driving games) tell you immediately when your brain reaches your goal and when not - when you are activating or suppressing the target area of the brain.
Through this simple method, you learn how to quiet brainwaves associated with low performance and increase brainwaves associated with optimal brain function.
Neurofeedback is used to teach individuals with ADHD how to calm and concentrate, and is rated level 1 'best practice' intervention for ADHD by Practicewise (the research body of the American Pediatric Association). NASA uses neurofeedback to train astronauts. The US military use it to train their Special Forces, and have adopted neurofeedback as a new intervention for PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
Kristin Bowers, MA, LPC, BCN
To join us for the CEU at Launch Wellness, sign up here.
— Knowledge of Neurofeedback treatment and Biofeedback principles
— Explore the basic principles of EEG (electroencephalogram)
— Discussion and Demonstration of Neurofeedback
— Understand what conditions Neurofeedback treats and case outcomes