Beside showcasing my own and other’s creative works I always want to Paper Phoenix to be a place people can find help and resources. Lori Becker a clinical psychologist was nice enough provide us with some insight into her practice and things to consider when thinking about seeing a mental health provider.
1) What made you decide to become a psychologist, what made you emphasize is the care of the transgender community in your practice?
I have always had an interest in counseling and social work (even from the time I was young). I set out on this career path and majored in psychology in college. I became interested in clinical psychology specifically early in my college years as I began to get involved in research labs. The concept of “human behavior” was always fascinating to me. I was initially involved in researching depression, which later evolved, and then devoted much of my research interests to grief and bereavement. This is where I focused my work in graduate school and early career.
My first job was at the VA Medical Center, and I was asked by a physician if I could see one of her patients who was transgender. She approached me because she knew I was (and am) a strong ally within the LGBTQIA community. She explained that she was struggling to find a psychologist on staff who would complete the necessary “evaluation” that was required in order to offer this patient hormone therapy. I had to do a lot of research and consultation to find out what was required, but I wanted to do this for her patient, and felt a strong sense of compassion for this veteran. One patient led to two, and a third, and soon I was known as “the psychologist” on staff who would complete this evaluation. This led to a strong interest for me, and a sense of advocacy. I began to delve into working with the transgender community, researching the WPATH standards of care, and consultation with other trans-friendly providers in St. Louis and nationally.
2) What considerations should a person take in account when deciding if they should seek therapy?
Although everyone can benefit from self-reflection, not everyone needs therapy. I would say somebody needs to have a curiosity about oneself, and an openness to changing current patterns. Somebody should also consider their commitment to attending regularly, their finances, and their barriers (i.e., what feels like it is getting in the way of going). Sometimes that “barrier” plays out in other areas of their life and is stopping them from many goals.
3) What steps should a person take when picking a counselor or psychiatric professional?
I don’t like the term “counselor” as it implies giving advice. But there are some steps that people can take to find the right mental health provider. First, decide if you want talk therapy (psychologist), or medication to treat symptoms (psychiatrist). From there, one of the best routes is to ask your friends for referrals. If somebody really likes their therapist or psychiatrist, they will let you know. If this is a close friend, their therapist will likely not see you (due to a conflict of interest), but they can provide you with other good referrals. If that option is not available to you, do a search on Psychology Today for a good fit. You can filter by distance, insurance networks, therapy style, fees, etc. Reach out to these people and see who is taking new patients. Also, there is nothing wrong with “therapist shopping” and trying a few providers for an initial session. Your gut will tell you if it feels like the right “match.” Research shows that the most important factor in therapy success is your relationship with your therapist. This plays a much larger role than therapy style, years of training, educational institution, or duration of therapy.
4) One of your services is the moderation of a transgender group, what benefits do you think are gained by having people interact with one another in this setting?
Group therapy is fantastic. This is a place for people to feel safe, supported, trade resources/tips/advice, and connect with others in the trans community. It provides a sense of “cohesion”. The group also spans all aspects of gender diversity, so it allows for trans individuals to connect with others they might not otherwise meet.
5) What do you think is the biggest misconception people have with therapy?
There is a misconception about the duration of therapy. Some people expect to be in & out in 8 sessions, but in some cases, therapy can last for months or years. Similarly, some people expect to be “stuck on the couch” for years, but may make significant progress in a few months.
6) You had some appearances on local radio shows, how did that come about and what did you learn from it?
I was asked to be a guest psychologist on the Rizzuto Show (105.7 The Point) and to offer a general “personality assessment” of the hosts of the show. In full honesty, it came about because I know one of the hosts, and he asked me personally. What I learned most from the experience was that I needed to strongly consider the ethics of this, and had to consult with colleagues and my licensing board before agreeing. But it went well and was all in good fun. It used my knowledge in a way that was entertaining to folks, and so long as nobody is harmed, I felt comfortable with that.
7) What services do you offer and if people want more information, where should they go?
- Adult and Adolescent Individual Therapy
- Couples and Family Therapy
- Specialty services for transgender clients include: Support Group and Psychological Evaluations or Support Letters for Hormone Therapy and Gender Confirmation Surgeries
For more information, visit: https://drloribecker.com/
I can also be reached via email or phone: DrLoriBecker@gmail.com or (314) 954-4364
Final four questions –we ask everybody
Q) When the zombies take over the world where will you be?
Probably in my office, since that is where I spend the majority of my day!
Q ) How do you identify Jedi, lesbian, Ninja, gay, vampire, bisexual, were-wolf, transgender, pirate, asexual, fairy, aromantic, sith, intersex, Spartan, non-binary, wizard, genderfluid, queer, …? ?
I am cisfemale. Other aspects of my life I don’t disclose only because it can have a significant impact on the therapeutic relationship. Most psychologists don’t openly share this kind of information for the same reason. I am not quite as “blank slate” as Freudian-style psychoanalysts, but I will address personal details about me in the therapeutic setting if is relevant and comes up.
This brief article explains this well: https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-dont-therapists-talk-about-themselves-in-session/
And this article provides a more detailed explanation of the ethics: https://societyforpsychotherapy.org/the-big-reveal-ethical-implications-of-therapist-self-disclosure/
Q) What piece of art, be it in the form of music, a book, a film or picture, do you think people must experience before they die?
Any piece of art that provokes strong emotion or challenges your views.
Q) Give one fact that most people would not believe about you?
I’m a very good cook.