Interview with Emily Gutman, LMSW
Emily Gutman, LMSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LMSW) practicing at our East Location in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Emily is passionate about working with clients of all ages dealing with a wide range of mental health concerns. Contact us to schedule an intake appointment with Emily.
1. What is your specialty?
I specialize in working with young children and adults who have experienced trauma or events that have made life more difficult. Specifically, the majority of my clinical expertise comes from my work in supporting the healing of attachment wounds between young children and their caregivers. I also have utilized aspects of play therapy in some capacity with each of the children I have worked with in my professional career.
2. What made you want to become a therapist?
Way back in middle school, I noticed a few of my peers beginning to struggle with their own mental health. The way I decided to learn more about this was by diving into books about people my age struggling with their mental health and how their stories unfolded. From there, my interest in the mental well-being of others stuck with me and I became very interested in what shapes us as people and how we form relationships with others. I started my undergraduate program and had the opportunity to dive into research about relationships between young children and their caregivers and how these impact different outcomes for children. This really solidified my passion and belief that relationships can be very meaningful agents of change. I knew then that I couldn’t change my path towards becoming a therapist.
3. What can clients expect when they first come to therapy? What is a typical therapy session like with you?
One of the most important aspects of working together in this therapeutic space is giving time to learn about each other and build a trusting relationship. In doing so, most of the first sessions will focus on getting to know one another, what is bringing you to therapy, and what you hope to gain out of therapy. Through getting to know each other, you also get a feel for my style and if that feels right to you. Therapy can look different for everyone depending on what is being brought into the space. For adults, this can look like diving deep into issues through conversation or practicing various calming techniques together in real time. For children, this tends to look like child-led play in which I allow the child to take the lead in their play or activities to explore issues they may be struggling with and don’t yet have words for. Regardless of age, my main goal is to provide a holding space for whatever is brought to our sessions in whatever form they are shown.
4. How have you seen therapy benefit your clients?
We all come to the therapeutic space with “tools in our toolbox.” Therapy can help to honor those tools, reflect on them, let some go with care, and add new ones into the toolbox that serve us. Through therapy, I’ve seen clients learn how to engage in healthier relationships, have compassion for themselves, and see their circumstances and strengths in a new way. Some clients have felt lighter and less preoccupied with hard experiences. Others have learned that they are worthy of respect and deserve to be listened to. I’ve worked with families that have deepened their relationships, utilized that depth of relationship to alleviate behavioral concerns, and go on to enjoy other healthy relationships in their lives. Overall, I’ve experienced therapy being the most helpful when the therapist and client have a deep, trusting relationship.
5. What do you think are the most important considerations when looking for a therapist?
First and foremost, I believe whoever you choose to enter into a relationship with in a therapeutic setting must respect and pay special attention to all of the identities that you will bring with you into the space and seeing you for the entirety of who you are and all of the identities you hold. Simultaneously, a therapist you are able to build a connection with is how you can dive deeper into and explore whatever is troubling you. Find a therapist you connect with authentically and therapy will feel like a place you can truly release what has been weighing on you.
6. What do you hope your clients walk away with?
I hope my clients will walk away feeling more connected to themselves and others. I hope my clients have a deeper sense of who they are and what they want in life. We cannot “do life” alone, we need each other to get through the tough stuff. I hope to offer a safe place to get through some of that tough stuff.
Visit Emily’s profile to learn more about her counseling services, or to schedule an appointment.