Emily Kerzin, Ph.D.
Supervised by Tori Olds, Ph.D.
I work with clients to explore how connections with family, friends, partners, and larger societal structures shape who they are and how they relate to others in order to promote change, understanding, and healing in their lives. I also work with clients to deepen their experience and understanding of their rich emotional life. My therapeutic approach integrates relational cultural therapy with interpersonal, emotion-focused, and mindfulness-based techniques. I also aim to be flexible, adjusting my style and pace to suit client’s unique goals, personalities, and identities. Feminist and social justice oriented perspectives are also integral to my work as I strive to make therapy as safe, affirming, and inclusive as possible.
LGBTQIA Issues, Gender, and Sexuality
Therapy offices have historically felt unsafe for many gender and sexual minorities. I am passionate about changing this so queer-identified clients feel welcome in therapy. I work from a queer-affirming perspective with an emphasis on building safety and trust. My experience includes working with people as they go through gender-affirming transitions, issues related to queer relationships and family, minority stress and oppression, and challenges related to balancing sexuality and spiritual/religious identities, as well as intersectional queer identity development more broadly.
Through my experience at college counseling centers I have developed an appreciation for working with clients who find themselves developing, solidifying, and changing aspects of their identity. Whether the identity relates to stage of life, relationship status, ethnic or racial identity, sexual orientation, gender, religion or spirituality, I find that such change is ripe for exploration in therapy.
Relationships and Loneliness
As a relational cultural therapist, I view people’s sense of connection and fulfillment in relationships as an important measure of health and wellbeing. Acknowledging our loneliness or dissatisfaction in relationships can be terrifying, but it often catalyzes the courageous steps we must take to become more vulnerable and proactive in getting our needs met in relationships. Therapy can be an ideal place to explore how we are in our relationships and how we came to be that way. From there we can learn what is working in our relationships and what is not and, eventually, what it is that we want in those relationships.
Eating Concerns, Body Image, and Size
I work from a Health at Every Size, or HAES, (Bacon) approach in providing support for clients working to find peace with their body and food. HAES encourages us to trust our body by listening to hunger and fullness cues, seeking joy and moderation in physical activity, celebrating body diversity, and rejecting diet culture, sizeism, and the thin ideal. I also incorporate intuitive eating techniques to assist with enhancing trust in one’s body as well as emotion-focused, self-compassion, and mindfulness based techniques to develop alternative skills to manage difficult emotions.
Trauma and Survivors of Assault
There are many ways survivors of trauma heal and reclaim agency of their life. Therapy is one way to get support in healing. Therapy can help develop tools to manage difficult emotions or physical sensations related to trauma, reduce shame and feelings of loneliness, rethink unhelpful stories we tell ourselves about the trauma, and, perhaps find space or make meaning from trauma experiences. When working with survivors or people who have experienced trauma, I am take particular care to work at a pace set by the client.
I grew up in Northern California but have spent my adult years adventuring, studying, and working around the United States in New York, Alabama, Utah, Florida, and now Texas. I earned a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University and a B.A. from New York University in Social and Cultural Analysis, concentrating in Africana and Latino Studies. My doctoral research has centered on strategies of resilience and challenges faced by invisible and visible minority individuals. In my clinical work I have provided individual, group, and couples therapy as well as outreach and crisis intervention at university counseling centers at Auburn University, Columbus State University, University of Miami, and University of Utah, where I completed my predoctoral internship. In addition to clinical work, I am passionate about supervising and training new therapists and aim to foster safety, flexibility, and power-sharing, when working with trainees. When I am not sitting with clients or talking about therapy, I love walking in cities or the wilderness, hosting potlucks, watching good tv, dancing, thrifting, listening to podcasts and stand-up comedy, or playing cards with my partner.