Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Psychotherapist Amy Tatsumi
6. What do you love about being a therapist?
Being able to help clients creatively transform. I love to support clients in thinking and feeling outside of the box by dreaming big. I see the biggest cumulative change when clients seize the opportunities in small moments to practice living authentically.
This ranges from walking with one’s head up in a crowded street and making eye contact when clients previously didn’t feel worthy of being seen to saying yes to oneself and no to a request that previously felt like an obligation that would lead to resentment and disconnection. Clients gain momentum with this, and over time, a ripple effect of connection and authenticity occurs in their lives and relationships.
7. What’s the best advice you can offer to readers on leading a meaningful life?
Connecting to ourselves and the people we care about the most in authentic, meaningful and healthy ways and knowing that we belong is a practice and powerful experience. It can be rewarding and challenging and many other things, and it is worth it.
Poet David Whyte eloquently describes this experience in his poem, “The House of Belonging.” This excerpt of the poem below touches on the power and process of belonging and connection.
This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.
This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.
There is no house
like the house of belonging.
8. If you had your schooling and career choice to do all over again, would you choose the same professional path? If not, what would you do differently and why?
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t change anything in my journey of being/becoming a therapist – even the uncomfortable, difficult, and messy experiences and moments.
Some of my greatest teachers have been my clients, colleagues, supervisors, therapist, communities, systems, and professors. They have taught me much about life, people, and myself. I am honored to accompany people on their journey as their therapist or supervisor and grateful to have them on mine.
9. If there’s one thing you wished your clients or patients knew about treatment or mental illness, what would it be?
Getting treatment and support can make a huge difference. It can get better. You can feel more like your authentic self and connected to the people and parts of your life that you care most about through the work you do in psychotherapy and with the additional support of medication for some.
10. What personally do you do to cope with stress in your life?
I have a variety of go-tos that I use depending on the experience of stress that I’m having. For some situations, as an introvert, I tend to be able to re-balance with more solitude-based experiences — being in nature or water, practicing yoga or making art.
When the stress stems from my inner critic, I find that reaching out to people whom I trust and value practicing mutual vulnerability and empathy is very supportive.
As a daily means of cultivating a less busy/stressful life, I also try to have playfulness, joy, ease, faith, gratitude, and compassion as touchstone moments throughout the day. This looks different each day and can range from a post-it sized drawing to metta meditation to smiling at metro passengers on my commute to reconnecting with old friends.
Tartakovsky, M. (2014). Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Psychotherapist Amy Tatsumi. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 22, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/clinicians-on-the-couch-10-questions-with-psychotherapist-amy-tatsumi/00018601