Mental Health Awareness Month
Private Practice

Meet the Therapist: an Interview with Terrini M. Woods

May 15, 2024

Mental Health Awareness Month takes place every May. As part of our campaign, we’re highlighting mental health professionals in our network. You can read all the stories here.

In this interview, Tava spoke with Terrini M. Woods, LMHC, who operates her private practice through Tava. Terrini shares her experience working with Tava and her approach to therapy.

About Terrini M. Woods, LMHC

Terrini Woods has been a therapist for nearly 10 years. She uses a range of therapeutic modalities to tailor sessions for each individual client. Her modalities include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Humanistic Approach,  Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT),  Narrative Therapy,  and Strength-Based Therapy. Terrini loves life and enjoys bringing this into her counseling by reminding clients to have more fun. She’s been part of the Tava network for 2 years.

Learn more about Terrini and if she’s a good match for you here.

What do you enjoy about working with Tava?

What I enjoy MOST about Tava is the staff. They are beyond amazing. This is why I continue to share information about Tava with my colleagues. I appreciate the easy way Tava has created for us to communicate with clients.  Sending clients and therapists the latest updates, and reminders of upcoming sessions or schedule changes: is wonderful. I appreciate and feel respected by the administration because they keep us informed and ask for our input. Bravo Tava!!

What inspired you to become a therapist, and how has your journey shaped your approach to therapy?

Since I was a little girl, I have been a curious person – some may say ‘nosey.’ What has held my intention most has been personal stories.  Funnily both my parents have master's degrees in Psychology. In addition to being welcomed into the stories of many, I have a gift to encourage others. I believe different perspectives, given with optimism and support, can breed new hope.  My first encounter with therapy was being a "marriage mentor and retreat facilitator." Loving the insight and seeing how parent and couple enrichment strategies improve my marriage, I wanted to continue my education so I pursued a master's degree.

As for the journey, WELL, I'm still on it, and I would love to have an intimate conversation with all about the nooks and crannies of becoming a licensed therapist.  In a “large” nutshell, I would say the journey allows you to grow muscles to coach and guide your clients to and through their challenges. I love to learn and this journey allows me to do hard things well.

Can you share a particularly rewarding or impactful experience you've had while working with a client?

The fact that "strangers" chose me to join them on a transformative journey is so humbling and an honor that speaks volumes to my heart and the craft of counseling.  As I pause and think about the nine years of people I have been blessed to work with so many stand-out people.

How do you stay informed about the latest developments and research in the field of mental health to better serve your clients?

I stay connected to topics by professional organizations, other colleagues, and personal interests. 

In your opinion, what are some common misconceptions about therapy, and how do you address them with your clients?

The biggest misconceptions I run into are that therapy is only for ‘elite groups,’ therapy is for persons who are struggling with chronic psychological dysregulation, or certain racial groups do not go to therapy.

I demystify the taboo of counseling by having conversations about the benefits of therapy for all – often and in public forums. In my sessions, I take time to build connections with my clients. I make sure the space feels safe. For my virtual spaces, I make sure I am illuminated, focus on the client's tone and facial expressions, and ask disarming questions. 

“I make sure the space feels safe.”

What strategies do you employ to create a comfortable and safe environment for your clients to open up and express themselves?

Thanks to Tava's platform, I was able to create a short introduction video. Clients can hear my tone, see my face, and read some of my areas of expertise. Once a client chooses me, I send a welcome letter and send a two-day reminder for our upcoming session. Using verbiage that is inclusive and respectful seems to build comfort for my clients. In my office, I make sure my space is clean, comfortable, and smells fresh.  One big thing I do is make sure my communication is clear and consistent, and that I am open and flexible. 

How do you approach the topic of self-care and prevent burnout as a therapist?

I believe counseling is a spa for the mind. I talk about the importance of intentional planning of self-care. I ask clients how they practice self-care and how consistent they are in making the time to breathe, laugh, rest, and allow their bodies & brains to recover and be rejuvenated.  For myself, I have a monthly "faux birthday" where that day is planned for what Terrini wants to do. No judgment. Only me, or if I want to invite someone to join, I just revel in having ‘Me’ time.

What advice would you give to individuals who are considering seeking therapy but may feel hesitant or unsure about taking that step?

If someone feels hesitant or unsure about therapy, I would first inquire what makes them hesitant.  Next, I would say look for a therapist that offers a consultation. Lastly, find a space where you and the therapist feel safe with each other.

I offer clients a free opportunity to talk with me, ask questions, and see if their intuition gives them safe and comfortable vibes to begin doing life differently and better. Also, I offer people my support to find another therapist if they are not able to continue with me.

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