Learn a little more about our clinician Janelle Patterson, MS, ALMFT!
1. What inspired you to enter this field? I knew I wanted to be in some sort of a helping profession as long as I can remember. I felt stuck during and after my undergraduate schooling to figure out exactly what sort of helping profession I wanted my career to be in. I began working as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist, where I supported children with autism and their families, in undergrad to complete my degree requirements. I continued working as an ABA therapist after graduating college, and eventually shifted to a role in the special education transition program at New Trier High School. Through these experiences, I saw the power of working within systems and found a passion for relational work. As a result, I decided to apply to graduate school to become a marriage and family therapist.
2. Where has been your favorite place to travel and why? I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to many U.S. states as well as 8 countries; however, my favorite place to travel is back home to Wisconsin. I grew up in Green Bay (Go Pack Go) and love to visit my parents when I get the chance. I also love to visit Door County, especially during the summer, and have spent many weekends at my husband’s family’s lake house on Lake Beulah.
3. What is your favorite thing about living in Chicago? I love that there is never a shortage of things to do or places to go. In fact, I have lived in the city for almost 7 years and still have many things left on my bucket list. I also love that every neighborhood has a unique feel. It makes it fun to walk around and explore different parts of the city. Lastly, I love how beautiful Chicago is. It is beautiful being in Lincoln Park looking at the brownstones, downtown looking at the skyscrapers, in Millennium Park looking at “The Bean,” or on the lakeshore path looking at the lake.
4. What are some tools you use to decompress? My main form of self-care is exercise, so I love going to work out classes. I also teach four fitness classes per week at a local studio. Other ways I decompress include spending quality time with my husband, listening to podcasts and books, connecting with family and friends, getting all the cuddles from my two cats, listening to some of my favorite music, and watching loads of HGTV.
5. Do you have any mentors? Who inspires you and why? I have had many wonderful mentors over the years, including family, bosses, co-workers, professors, supervisors, and friends. I am grateful for my graduate school experience at Northwestern, where I gained much insight and knowledge from professors, supervisors, and cohort members. I love my team here at Fleming Family Therapy, and I constantly feel supported and cared for. I feel inspired talking to other therapists in the field and am proud of the work that we are doing in our community.
6. How would you recommend a client prepare for a session? For your intake session, it is helpful to have a clear idea on your presenting issues and goals for therapy. Once you get further into therapy, it can be helpful to keep notes. These notes can help you keep track of any homework or tasks your therapist assigns to you between sessions, remember specific things that happened outside of session that you want to discuss with your therapist, or recall any revelations. Remember to come into the therapeutic space as authentically as possible. Your therapist is always happy to help you if you feel stuck, but they expect you to put in the work!
7. How do you keep up to date on industry trends and news? I read and listen to books and podcasts from fellow therapists and researchers. I also attend trainings and seminars that present new findings and give different ways to think about therapeutic techniques.
8. What are you most looking forward to for summer? I am most looking forward to spending time outside! I will be going on lots of walks around my neighborhood and the lakeshore path, spending time with friends on outdoor patios, playing tennis, and going to music festivals. I am also looking forward to attending many close family and friend’s weddings this summer. I cannot wait to celebrate my own one year wedding anniversary this August!