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Therapist Spotlight: Teresa Hwangbo, Graduate Clinical Intern

What inspired you to become a counselor?

Growing up in an intact, Christian home doesn’t guarantee one is free from challenges or relationship stress. I became aware of the pain of unhealed wounds from unresolved past trauma, including those that stem from my family of origin. Thus, I’ve always been drawn to people’s stories. Stories bring insight into their inner world, beyond what can be seen on the outside. People’s stories tell where they come from, how they got to where they are, and a sense of where they would like to go and why. When I felt like my story had come to an end or that my story was too dark and hopeless, my own counseling experience helped change my perception and understanding of my past and develop hope for the future. This inspired and motivated me even more to become a counselor. I experienced the impact counseling can have in bringing growth, healing, and freedom, and I deeply believe that everyone deserves to receive the care they need to start their own healing journey.

What is something you would like new clients to know about beginning the counseling process?

I mainly work from a client-centered narrative approach. Each client brings their own unique life story and experience into counseling and is the expert of their own life. I believe it is my job to come alongside my clients and help them make sense of all the moving parts and  pieces of their story that leaves them puzzled, distressed, hopeless, etc., and in turn, find greater meaning and understanding of narratives. However, I believe there is no one-size-fits-all in counseling. I love getting to know each client and discovering all the different techniques and  theories that may be most fitting and curating a treatment plan that would best suit the needs of each client.

How would you describe your style or approach in counseling?

Beginning the counseling process can feel awkward, unfamiliar, or uncomfortable at times, but just like in any human relationship, the therapeutic relationship is established in trust and gets built over time between the counselor and the client. It is within the safe bounds of this therapeutic relationship that the work of unpacking a client’s story unfolds and the courageous work of healing begins. Vulnerability comes with risks, but it also comes with the opportunity for making deeper, more meaningful connections. Thank you for taking the courageous step of being vulnerable and open to the counseling process.

What self-care practices do you enjoy doing most?

My favorite self-care practice is being out in nature, be it on simple walks in the park, listening to the birds singing their lovely tunes, or listening to the cicadas’ hum away on a beautiful summer evening. I feel connected to God, myself, and to the world when I am out in nature. Other self-care practices I treasure are spending quality time with my friends, cuddling with my puppy, listening to music/podcasts, and traveling.

How do I schedule an appointment with Teresa?

To schedule an appointment with Teresa contact us here or email her directly at thwangbo@springtreecounseling.com.

If you would like to learn more about Teresa, you can also check out her biography here.


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