After 12 years in sales, 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, Crystal Gillery, LMFT, is proud to add that she has been a therapist for 5 years in the state of Georgia. Additionally, she is an AAMFT member, and a board member for the North-Metro chapter of GAMFT. She is trained in emotionally focused therapy (EFT) and serves on the Atlanta Center for EFT board as both a member and special events chair.
Crystal always knew she wanted a career in the helping profession, but she didn’t know exactly what that looked like or how to get there. To add to the confusion was an array of seemingly similar, yet different, professional titles: counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker. Which one would be right for her?
“I just knew what I was most interested in, which was helping people with the surrounding factors. Whenever you experience something, it has surrounding factors.”
It wasn’t until Crystal’s youngest was beginning school that she felt the timing was right to launch the career she had always wanted.
“I had been wanting to go back to school for a long time. But a couple kids got in the way, things got busy,” she says. When her child started kindergarten, she started graduate school, earning a Master’s in Marriage and Family from Mercer School of Medicine
“I can’t say it was easy,” she says. “I was 40-years-old. Relearning how to learn was probably the biggest challenge”
Graduate school also had its logistical challenges, including finding childcare, arranging schedules and finding a life-school balance. She had faith in her decision though and almost 20 years to the day after she earned her Bachelor’s degree, she completed her Master’s.
Today, Crystal is the proud co-owner of a private practice, Cura for Couples. “I love that I get to work with people,” she says. “People are fascinating, all of the intricate ways they think and how they get to where they get – it’s just fascinating to me.”
Crystal works mostly with couples utilizing EFT, which emphasizes attachment.
“All people are attached, it’s how they are attached that can be problematic or helpful,” explains Crystal. “People think attachment is only about childhood, but that’s not true. It’s beautiful to see adult partners link up and give one another what they need.”
Her passion for EFT inspired Crystal to get more involved and join the board of the Atlanta Center for EFT. She’s currently working on organizing an exciting conference this fall.
Supervision: The Right Match
When reflecting on her own supervision experience, Crystal politely describes it as “interesting.”
“My supervisor was nearly 20 years younger than I was, which would have been fine because I did respect his knowledge and experience, but he was intimidated,” recalls Crystal. “I think he gave too much deference to me due to my age, so I didn’t get as much out of supervision as I would have liked. He tended to say, ‘Well, you know what to do.’ ‘Maybe I don’t,’ I would think. In fairness, I think I’m a smart cookie and could have figured it out, but I would have appreciated more support.”
Later, Crystal found herself on the other side of the equation when a pre-licensed clinician older than Crystal asked if she would supervise her. Crystal ultimately decided it wasn’t a great fit because it was apparent that the clinician wasn’t ready to listen and accept guidance from someone younger.
As a supervisor, Crystal values self-care and boundaries. When asked how she encourages self-care, Crystal doesn’t hesitate. “It’s required. It’s actually in my contract that supervisees will utilize self-care measures every week. It could be waking up one day a week 10 minutes earlier to meditate. It can be small like that.”
She helps supervisees grow as therapists by watching videos of their sessions and helping them learn how to notice what is “getting in the way.” Crystal might observe how they seem “in their own head,” preventing themselves from thinking of what questions to ask next. Or they seem timid or struggling to try an exercise and it drops flat.
Her favorite resource for her supervisees is a book by the founder of EFT, Dr. Sue Johnson, Attachment Theory in Practice. “This book is just for clinicians,” endorses Crystal. “It gives a wonderful, streamlined explanation of how attachment works throughout life.”
As a Motivo supervisor, Crystal is excited about its potential and cautiously optimistic about how creating connection through a screen. She hopes to occasionally meet in-person as well.
We’d love to introduce you to Crystal through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.
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