Meet Your Therapist
Caitlin Wordham LPC, NCC
License: Virginia 070101449
"What helps enormously in our attempts to know our own minds, is the presence of another mind.”
– Alain de Button
Whenever I ask my clients if they have any questions they would like to ask me to feel more comfortable starting their therapy journey, I’m not typically asked about my education, my credentials, and my training experiences. What I get asked frequently is this: “What made you want to become a therapist?”
I have learned that while my formal training and education are a significant and ongoing part of my job, the bigger part of my job is being human – a feeling, thinking, curious, messy human, just as I encourage my clients to be. That in therapy, it’s two humans coming together to make sense of life, including its joys and its sorrows. Leaning on Nadia Bolz-Weber's words, "I hope that by being honest I can create a space around me others can step into and feel safer admitting things about themselves - it's a form of leadership I call screw it, I'll go first."
I love my job as a therapist. I love the journey of meeting every individual where they are on their journey and figuring it out with them; watching them grow, learn, make mistakes, build resiliency, deepen connection, and eventually reach a feeling of peace and wellness. I love working through these journeys because I’ve been there. I get it on a level that I couldn’t without living through it myself. I know the work it takes to get through, the grit and the vulnerability, therefore I work best with people who are “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired” that they’re willing to make changes. I’m not here to “fix” you because you are not broken. I’m here to empower and encourage you and be ready to face what’s challenging. I am here with you and ready to help support you in the journey of healing and growing.
I am not the “smile and nod” therapist. Don’t get me wrong – I do smile and nod! But I’m not a passive listener, nor am I a passive therapist. I am ready to push up my sleeves and get into the mess with you. I’m ready to laugh with you, celebrate with you, wonder with you, mourn with you, and process with you. I have a solid BS detector and I’ll call you on your stuff (nicely). And know this: I’m not afraid to talk about anything you need to talk about. Let’s get it all out together; there’s nothing to be ashamed of here.
I am endlessly passionate about mental health. I am fascinated and in awe of how interconnected our mind and our body are. Mental health is interwoven in every layer of our lives – culturally, physiologically, spiritually, socially, historically – and to work in the field of mental health is like a learning playground for my mind, my heart, and innate sense of curiosity.
Outside of the therapy room and in the wilderness, I’m typically jamming to music (I specialize in the air drums), baking and cooking, reading, watching video game playthroughs on YouTube (because I otherwise suck at playing games), being outside, going on long drives, and spending time with my favorite people. I am an enormous animal lover, and memes are my love language.
Now, if you are interested, here is the more “resume-type” stuff about me…
Why talk therapy (“psychotherapy”)?I know the jokes we casually say. "Wine time is my therapy," or "Doesn't venting to my best friend count as therapy? At least they’re free." While connecting with loved ones and enjoying life's pleasures are comforting and therapeutic in their own ways, counseling is more than just having a conversation. It is an evidenced-based practice founded in behavioral and psychological sciences that requires years of formal education and training. My role as your therapist will be to facilitate conversations during the session in an intentional manner. With you, I will process and explore difficult emotional and psychological areas of yours in a safe environment to understand them and adjust your reactions to them. However, I also strive to always remain aware and respectful of your limits, and I will not intentionally press an area if I believe it would cause you harm. Counseling is often uncomfortable, and that is for a purpose. This is because change and resiliency occur outside of our comfort zone. We will address your fears and reservations together. You should expect that I will often ask questions that facilitate a deeper exploration and introspection of your life. We may even challenge your current beliefs for the purposes of broadening your perspectives.
Do you offer free discovery (consultation) calls?Yes! In these calls, I learn a bit more about you and what challenges are occurring that has you seeking therapy. I also welcome questions and curiosities you may have about the counseling process that I can answer to make it seem less mystifying and more comfortable. I strive to connect with you - or anyone new reaching out - within about 1-3 business days so we can set up a time to talk.
What are the benefits of talking about my past and my struggles?Have you ever heard... “Get over it already.” “It's been x months - isn't it time to move on?” “Don’t you think you’re overreacting a bit?” “You're being so sensitive/dramatic.” “It could always be worse.” “If I can get over it, so can you.” “It is what it is.” “You should just be grateful for what you have.” “Don't be the squeaky wheel.” “Don't let them see you cry.” “Being vulnerable is a sign of weakness.” “No pain, no gain.” …or anything similar? I have worked with clients who have heard these messages (and more), and I have watched the deep impact statements such as these have. Even if those messages were not explicitly stated, those messages can be implied through how clients were treated or watched others be treated. While our loved ones (family, friends, educators, spiritual leaders, etc.) may have good intentions, these messages can leave us feeling devalued, small, and ashamed. Understanding your past experiences, relationships, and behavioral patterns can provide insight into your present issues and long-term relief for a brighter, healthier, and more peaceful future. For this reason, therapists may ask you questions about your past experiences, to understand how they impact your present. As Brene Brown says, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” Some benefits to leaning into the bravery of therapy and sharing our struggles include: healing through empowering human and social connectedness; learning we are not alone and others also struggle (often with the very same thing); talking helps us process and discover more effective ways to communicate; we break down unhealthy and shaming stigmas; we develop self-acceptance; we find and experience support; we can support others in their struggles the more we learn about ourselves; we lessen the tendency to “bottle things up” and learn how to release the energy in healthy ways; our basic emotional needs for acceptance, feeling and being understood, and belonging are met; and we connect with our most authentic self – and we are at peace with who that authentic self is.
Will others find out I go to counseling?I am committed to your safety, privacy, and confidentiality. I will not disclose what we discuss in our sessions and your identity. However: Healthcare providers are Mandated Reporters who are required by law to report suspected abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation. What is shared in our counseling sessions will remain private and confidential unless you or others are in danger or at risk of harm, or unless you provide me with written permission in the form of a Release of Information (ROI). In our first session together, I will explain in more detail the limits of confidentiality and answer any questions you have. Should any issues arise that need a second professional opinion, it is recommended as best practice by the American Counseling Association that providers continue to seek supervision and consultation from other counselors in order to become more effective and provide ethical services. This does not mean that your identifying information will be shared; rather, the nature of the issue will be discussed.
What if my therapist and I don't connect?That's okay! This is not uncommon. This is one reason why I offer and encourage a 15-20-minute free discovery call for you to determine if you initially feel comfortable and connect with me. I'm mindful that 15-20 minutes can be a short period of time, so you may not get all the information you need to feel comfortable or connected. Not all therapists are created equal, and we certainly do not claim perfect (if they did, that would be problematic). You may be coming from a negative experience with a previous counselor. You may even come in with expectations about what you want and need in a counselor. It’s important to share these experiences and expectations to your counselor (with me or with any therapist you see) in the beginning so that they can have an opportunity to respond, repair, and discuss any misconceptions, misunderstandings, or misassumptions. If you feel this way during your work with me, it is encouraged you share these concerns. This will allow me (or any therapist you work with) to model a healthy dialogue and provide an opportunity to repair any injuries to the therapeutic relationship you have that could or might get in the way of connecting. I care deeply about the therapeutic relationship I create with you. If you are feeling misunderstood or uncared for by me, I would welcome and invite a check-in conversation about how the process is going for you, including talking through any interpersonal conflicts, potential moments of transference (“projection”), or symptoms that may be getting in the way of connecting. We may even find that some of these feelings and thoughts may have to do with some of the reasons you came to seek therapy in the first place. This could potentially be a very healing conversation with other benefits of how to work through interpersonal conflict and difficult dialogues with others outside of the therapy session. If you still feel you are unhappy with me as your therapist, I would like to provide you with external referrals to help you in your search of finding a new counselor that better fits your needs, personally or clinically. I understand that a healthy fit is important, and your healing is my priority. This is optional, but I ultimately want to assist and support you in your journey—whether that is with me or someone else!
What do I do if there's an emergency?If you are experiencing a dangerous or life-threatening emergency, psychiatric or medical, you should call 9-1-1 immediately and go to your nearest hospital for emergency services. You may also contact pre-selected family members or reliable friends to assist you with your situation, including your mental state and transportation. Still Waters Counselling is not a crisis therapy service, and your therapist does not provide 24/7 on call services, inpatient, or acute outpatient treatment. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 service and can be reached by calling and/or texting 9-8-8. You may also choose to seek help and support from your local Community Services Board. Below are additional helpful crisis outreach resources: · Domestic Violence: 1-800-799-7233; Text “SUPPORT” to 741741. Apps: “Noonlight,” “Aspire News,” “bSafe” · Self-Harm: 1-800-366-8288; Text “CONNECT” to 741741. App: “myPlan” · Bullying: 1-800-420-1479; Text “HOME” to 741741. · LGBTQIA+: 1-866-488-7386; Text “START” to 678678. · Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673; Text “HOME” to 741741. · Abortion: 1-866-439-4253; Text “HELPLINE” to 313131. · Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss: 1-800-944-4773; Text “HELLO” to 741741. · National Human Trafficking Hotline: Text “HELP” to 233733. App: “BeFree” · Grief: 1-800-445-4808; Text “CARE” to 839863. · Eating Disorders: 1-800-931-2237; Text “NEDA” to 741741. · Substance abuse/Addiction: 1-800-662-4357; TTY: 1-800-487-4889 · Mental Health: 1-800-950-6264; Text “NAMI” to 741741. App: “Crisis Text Line (CTL)” · Veteran Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
What does your schedule look like?My schedule is structured throughout the week to meet the needs of my clients who require late-day availability (such as after work and/or school) as well as early mornings (before work/school). I see clients Monday through Friday. We will work together to find a time that can be consistent and comfortable for you.
What if I see you out in public?This is a common curiosity. It does not happen much, but it feels like it might, and it certainly has for me before. Should we see each other when we are out in public, I will not (and cannot) acknowledge you unless you speak with me first and appear friendly and welcoming. There are a few reasons why to this. The first is for ethical reasons. My therapeutic relationship with clients is incredibly important to me and it requires boundaries, and I do not want to engage in any form of contact that would negatively impact the trust, safety, and rapport I build with my clients. Another reason is that if I were to approach a client in public, it would be a confidentiality violation. I am tasked with protecting your identity and confidential information about you and your treatment (the work we do together). By approaching a client in public, I may inadvertently acknowledge our therapeutic relationship. More importantly, you should know that I don’t have therapy-related conversations in public. If you need to spend a few minutes talking with me between sessions, not a problem! Follow any one of the avenues we’ve talked about for contacting me, and I will happily make time to talk with you. It’s not going to happen should you see me and say hello at the grocery store. For more specific information on this, I encourage you to both read my Policies page as well as talk with me about it in our time together.
Why does your website have random bolded words?A great percentage of my clients classify as neurodivergent, a page full of information can be a overwhelming amount of information to read! The bolded words help capture attention and get information across in a more approachable, direct way.