Therapist Spotlight: Therese Harmacek, LMSW

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

What made you decide to become a counselor? I have been interested in Psychology since I was a teenager, and that is why I majored in Psychology at the University of Texas.  After I became a Social Worker and worked for various agencies, my clients kept telling me I was a good listener and I had a calming effect on them. That was when I realized counseling is my life purpose. If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be? If I could teach people one skill, it would be to love themselves.  The way that “plays out” in my mind is that people would extend self-compassion to themselves when they make mistakes and let go of guilt.  It would also mean people accepting their own personalities (and likes and dislikes), practicing self-care, and having healthy boundaries in relationships. I have found when we are kind to ourselves, we can also be kind to others.  What are the most common problems your clients bring to you?​ ​Anxiety is the most common concern clients bring to therapy. Other common concerns include depression, life transitions, caregiver issues, managing chronic diseases and work/school stress.  Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself? I have personally been in counseling.  Through the counseling process I learned that is okay to communicate my needs, feel all of my feelings, and that I have no control over other people’s behavior. If you could recommend one book to all your clients, what would it be? I have numerous favorite books. The one I seem to use the most right now is “Journey to the Heart” by Melody Beattie.

What inspires you to help others? The thing that inspires me to help others is the amazing transformation I see in people when they allow themselves to feel all of their feelings and make the changes that help them enjoy life more. I am so humbled and honored to walk alongside people on the journey to walk into those hard spaces and come out on the other side. I love what I do and am awestruck when I can sit in a room with vulnerable people and they let me hear their stories.

Who is your ideal client?​ My ideal client is someone who wants to be authentic and vulnerable, and will allow me to be a safe sounding board. I work with a lot of women who are looking at their lives and trying to find their voices and discover how to find balance and boundaries.

How do you personally practice self-care?​ I personally practice self-care by meditating, walking, spending time outside, connecting with family, friends, and pets, and looking at my favorite nature setting: Water!

How do you relate to Mindfulness? How do you incorporate it in your sessions? I use mindfulness every single day. I use it to keep me in the present moment, enjoy my surroundings, and to tune in to my mind and body. I use mindfulness in my sessions by teaching clients to tune in to what their body is telling them and to try to stay in the here and now.

Your favorite quote? My favorite quote is “Be the change you want to see in the world”-Mahatma Gandhi- If you are hosting a dinner party, who are the 3 people you would invite and why? I would invite my mom, father-in-law, and aunt to a dinner party. They have all passed away and I miss them.​

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