What made you decide to become a mental health provider?
I became a social worker because I wanted to break the stigma surrounding mental health. I am passionate about helping people to understand that mental health is not a weakness; taking care of our mind is equally important to taking care of our body. My interest in people’s stories drives me to want to help. Through listening, I am able to gain insight into why people do what they do. Then, I work to emphasize the resiliency that each of us possesses.
I want people to recognize their power and I help with this by allowing people to feel seen and heard. My experience of growing up with a brother who struggles with an intellectual disability has influenced me personally and professionally. This experience has cultivated my passion to recognize people for their strengths. I strive to connect people with the resources they need in their life, whether that be physical, emotional, spiritual, or social resources.
What are your areas of expertise?
During my undergraduate studies, I began to volunteer at a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Shelter. While there, I gained further understanding around how traumatic events can feel life-shattering and impact an individual’s or a family’s sense of self and identity. I went on to work as a counselor with women struggling with homelessness in Chicago during my graduate studies. There, I further developed my passion to advocate for the needs of others and deep empathy for their experiences. At the same time, I developed such a strong sense of hope that any person is capable of change, as I observed individuals who overcame homelessness. I saw firsthand how connecting people with health services, housing, gaining an education or returning to their career, and finding purpose in their lives again.
I continued my work in a Transitional Living Program, where I provided case management to individuals struggling with chronic mental illness that impacted their ability to live independently. Afterward, I began work as an individual, family, and group therapist in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs, treating individuals struggling with eating disorders. I found great passion in helping people to explore their identity outside of their eating disorder and bearing witness to their true selves. Often times, eating disorders are accompanied by suicidal thoughts, self injury, trauma, anxiety, depression, or substance use. I have great respect for people who are willing to look at the parts of their life that are scary to think about and am thankful to have been able to be a witness to people’s transformative relationship with themselves and others through our therapeutic work together.
My Skill Set and Beliefs
I specialize in the process of bringing to light how past experiences may be influencing the present. This can lead people to explore their identity through connecting to what they value or are passionate about, which can help them to feel empowered for change. My background – both personally and professionally – has influenced my ability to support those who may be struggling with day-to-day stressors, life events that feel destabilizing, or specific behavior and thought patterns that could be contributing feeling unfulfilled. I value the therapeutic relationship and individualize each experience. Connection is built by offering a space that feels collaborative, safe, empowering, trusting, and offers choice. My approach is informed by Solution-Focused and Strengths-Based Therapy. Additionally, I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I enjoy the moments where I get to witness someone gaining a new insight about themselves or their experience. Seeing people reconnect to their strengths and begin to create change – no matter how big or small they may perceive it to be – is such a powerful experience and something I truly value in the work I do. Providing a space that allows people to feel that they can be authentically themselves is something I find rewarding in this work.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and dog – Winston. Spending as much time as I can outside by Lake Michigan during the warmer Chicago months is very important to me. I have always found the fresh air and waves to be soothing. Finding a good documentary or TV show to get into is also something I enjoy. I love getting cozy with some warm tea!
What is your favorite quote?
“You belong in this world just as much as anyone else. No matter how others see you, or how you see yourself.”~Morgan Harper Nichols
This quote provides me a reminder or a sense of permission to be myself at all times, that there is always a place for me to feel fulfilled no matter what kind of chaos may be happening in that moment.
Where would you like to travel to next?
I love to experience new places and cultures. One of my favorite places I have visited was Sydney, Australia. The Greek Islands have always been intriguing to me, I hope to go one day!
Contact us now to schedule an appointment with Amanda Matousek.