Therapist Spotlight: Laura Poulter
What made you decide to become a counselor?
In high school I succeeded in a couple of areas, but I only really adored psychology. I loved thinking about how I think and what causes people to act the way they do. My social work program pointed out that the external environment plays an important role in our development in my point of view which is why I leaned towards social work in place of psychology. And in my practicum work in graduate school, I learned the power listening truly has on another human being. Genuine connection and support give us the environment we all need to become who we truly can be and help us not be ruled by our past or our fears. All of that together helped me realize I wanted to be the person who sits in the other chair and listens.
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
I think that I would teach everyone how to have a conversation with someone who is feeling suicidal. It’s a very scary place to be if you’re thinking about not wanting to exist and can be extremely isolating. I also think back to my professor telling us that around 90% of suicides are due to untreated depression or mental illness, and therefore are preventable. Taking that into account, I believe teaching everyone that it’s ok to ask someone else if they’re feeling like they want to die and how to fully listen without panicking could make our world a safer and more connected place.
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
I have been and since my move to Austin, I have found another wonderful counselor in Georgetown! I have learned that my lovely to do lists can get in the way of fully connecting to where I am and who I am with. My therapist is much more body focused and I’ve found that to be a real learning experience both personally and from a professional training standpoint.
If you could recommend one book to all your clients, what would it be?
This one is tough! There are so many good ones out there. I think the most all-encompassing book I would recommend would be Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly.” It’s a great place to start reflecting on how you are and what might be keeping you from what brings you joy.
What inspires you to help others?
Seeing or hearing about a moment in my client’s life that really just turns around how they see themselves and the “Ah HA!” moment that they are worth caring for. Knowing that is possible in each person brings me back to this everyday!
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is an introspective person who feels stuck in their behavior patterns and want more than anything to live a life they enjoy. When they have that sort of energy to change and acceptance, I feel like our time can be so full of great insights and progress to self-discovery that I get chills thinking about it.
How do you personally practice self-care?
I need people and I need nature. Getting people time has been a bit tricky in 2020; however, my close friends and I facetime at least 5 times a week and we work remotely simultaneously so that helps brings me my energy. Since arriving in Austin, I have been able to paddle board around the many beautiful water ways in this area and I have loved every minute of it!
How do you relate to Mindfulness? How do you incorporate it in your sessions?
I take my own mindful breath before greeting clients and I bring bite size mindfulness skills into session for grounding experiences. I think both help me fully focus on the human I’m sitting with, and to help teach my clients how they too can sit with themselves.
Your favorite quote?
Right now, my favorite quote is “Remember that the minute you take your first step into the life of your dreams, the first to greet you there will be fear. Nod. Keep walking.” By Bianna Wiest
If you are hosting a dinner party, who are the 3 people you would invite and why?
I would invite my grandma Marty. This is my father’s mother who died before I was born. Since everyone on that side of the family says we were so much alike, I think we would have a ball. I would like to invite Rachel Held Evans who passed away a year or two back to talk about her journey in becoming a fantastic and heartfelt writer in the Christian faith world. And lastly, I would invite Maren Morris because I am a big fan of her music and enjoy the messages in her songs. I think this combo of women would also just be such a fun evening.