Katherine Walter, the founder of Catalyst Counseling and one of the therapists with the practice, gives some insight in the world of mental health in an attempt to give people a chance to know her better.
Catalyst Counseling is unique in the Seattle area because it both focuses on social justice work and evidence-based treatment. One of the founding principles is that individuals themselves have the wisdom they need to make the best decisions for their life. “When I started Catalyst Counseling, I chose the name "Catalyst" for a good reason. The dictionary definition of catalyst is ‘a person or thing that precipitates an event’. I believe that the client comes in with their own values, cultural background, social and emotional skill set, and goals. It's my job to help them clarify ambivalence, learn to trust themselves again, and learn to scaffold their goals so they are more achievable.”
With the media attention that mental health is getting these days, it is easy to wonder if some of the people seeking counseling are coming just because of a perceived condition and not a “real” condition. Katherine however, doesn’t believe it works that way. “I don't differentiate between real and perceived issues, though I do differentiate between reality and psychosis (the latter being a break with reality). For everyone who walks through the door, there is usually a "pain point," a part of their life that is causing them distress. That distress is real, and it's my job to understand more about what they experience so I can help.” Such approach is really encouraging, especially with all the stigma surrounding mental health that still exists in some age groups and cultures.
Despite the stigma, more people are coming forward and seeking help. Counseling is gaining a momentum and people are trying to find more ways to deal with the stress and pain in their lives. “Counseling is for when you are trying your best, but you don't have the skills you need to get to where you want to go” she says. Katherine also insists that everyone should remember the efforts we took as we were growing up to learn how to adapt to certain situations, and those skills helped make us who we are today. As children, we learned to cope the best we could -- and Katherine believes that in general that's what we're still doing as adults -- learning to cope.
“However, adult problems are far more complex than childhood problems. Counseling is the time to learn about yourself -- how you learned to cope, what skills you picked up along the way. It's a time to ask yourself ‘is this still serving me, or should I learn a different way?’”
More about Katherine can be found here: Katherine's profile