Today we’d like to introduce you to Abby Van Egdom.
Abby, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hi, I recently moved to the Houston area last Fall. I grew up in Minnesota (Oh, yes. Minnesota. The land of more than 10,000 lakes and seemingly endless winters). When I was around upper-elementary school age, I started to realize how blessed I was to have parents who commit to bettering their relationship and how difficult divorce or relationship dissatisfaction can be on the couple as well as their friends, family, and support system. I later decided to pursue a career that can actively support and guide couples to either avoid pitfalls in their relationship and increase their connection or support them in the transition in uncoupling and future roles.
After completing my undergraduate degree in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota; Twin Cities, I got married and moved to Pennsylvania to be with my husband and to pursue a masters degree in Marriage and Family therapy at La Salle University. My relationship with my husband began long distance, which challenged the ways we connected with one another. I’ve learned that relationships are not easy; they take dedication, effort, and commitment to get through hardships and to truly appreciate the special moments. In the most challenging times, it has been essential for me to have the support of my husband.
After moving to Houston with my husband as he pursues his graduate degree, I joined the Houston Relationship Institute (supervised by Gina Watson, LMFT-S) to specialize in working with couples.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I have been extremely blessed in my journey of becoming a marriage and family therapist through being accepted into programs, finding experienced supervisors who support me while I gained experience, and having a strong support system.
The steps were laid out in a smooth direction but at times included moments of self-doubt, decreasing my level of self-care, and financial strain. Due to the profession needing graduate education, experience, and licensure, I found myself questioning my abilities and if I was going to be successful. At times, I felt discouraged by my own insecurities and struggled to be confident when clients questioned my qualification due to my young age or lack of experience in parenting. With the encouragement of my support system and teachers, I continued to push back against my negative-self talk and remind myself that I am passionate about my clients, have completed years of education and hours of experience with clients.
If I was back to where I started, looking ahead towards the long process, I hope I would reach out to my friends, teachers, and supervisors, remind myself that we are always learning, and commit to making time for self-care such as mindfulness, going for walks, and spending time with my loved ones.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I work with couples as a marriage and family therapist using a multi-modal approach. The couples that I typically meet with are in committed relationships, pre-marital, or married, both committed to discovering more about their reactions and strengthening skills to increase their connection with one another.
I offer a pre-marital course as a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator to identify their strengths/areas of growth, tackle essential discussions, and build tools that will set them up better to lean towards and grow with one another through the rest of their marriage (both successes and challenges). For couples wishing to either find more connection with their partner or need support to get out of painful cycles, I offer weekly sessions as well as an intensive “dive in” couples weekend to jump-start the couples therapy work. I can provide insight and support you in sharing your wants and needs with your partner without them feeling attacked, which they may respond with defensiveness or withdrawing from you. I love actively guiding couples in a safe, validating environment where couples can feel like they can drop their defenses, connect in a deeper way, and leave with skills to support them in future challenges.
I also teach a weekly class at Houston Relationship Institute called Mindfulness for Relationships that helps couples to rewire their brain to promote better listening and less defensiveness. The 6-week class starts with reflecting over the various topics within mindfulness such as being present, distancing from your thoughts, body awareness, self-compassion, and gratitude. Each week we learn a new meditation and then practice at home until the next class.
What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
The most important advice I would give is to consider the reasons why you are devoted to your career path so you can re-visit them when you find yourself in times of self-doubt or feeling overwhelmed. When you find yourself in those rocky moments, commit time to self-care activities that you enjoy and reaching out to your support system to decrease feeling overwhelmed or alone in the struggle. Support yourself and let others support you!
- New Client Appointment: $170
- Feedback Session: $170
- 60 Minute session: $110
- Premarital Therapy: $815-1255
- Dive In Couples Therapy Weekend: $1200-1800
- Mindfulness for Relationships 6 Week Course: $228
- Address: 14133 Memorial Drive, Suite 4, Houston, TX 77079
- Website: https://abbyrelationship.wixsite.com/relationshiptherapy
- Phone: 281-560-3230, Ext 4
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abby_relationshiptherapist/
- Other: www.thecouplescouch.com
Abby Van Egdom, K Gotham Photography