I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Lori Whatley, a clinical psychologist and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Whatley spends her time in America as well as internationally helping her clients discover their best self through therapy. She is an author as well as an expert contributor to many magazines.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After my two children entered school, I attended Medical School to obtain my graduate degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. After completing my degree , I began to practice privately, as well as teaching college students Psychology 101. This was the perfect coupling of careers, in my opinion.
My mother tells me that even as a child I was a listener and soother. Being in this helping profession has been an honor for me. I get the opportunity to give back to the world everyday, and to help provide comfort for those in need.
Sometimes, people loose their way and need a guide to help them get their wagon back between the ditches. Thats me. That is what I do.
How have your personal challenges informed your career path?
Certainly, I have had many opportunities within my own family to apply principles I have learned on the journey to my Doctorate. I have a special heart for working with abused women, as I too have been in this place, and having a caring provider to help make wise choices, was a life changer for me. It is my wish to be able to give back to other women in this same caring way.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors/clinicians/healers to help their patients thrive?
Yes I can. My first piece of advice is to follow your heart, and do that thing you love, and as the cliche goes, you will never work a day in your life. Spending your day being with those in pain is a tough job, it is also a very rewarding job. I have never been sorry I chose this path.
Next, I would remind healers to always take care of themselves, so they can offer the very best care to their patients. The art of caring, requires a healer who himself is well. Live by example and model healthy behavior for your patients.
Enjoy your patients and listen to their stories.When practicing the art of medicine, give people as much time as you can. Make people feel good, listen to their stories. Everyone has a story they want to tell. When patients need direction, help them find their way.
Find a role model that exhibits the sort of skills you would like to emulate. The Doctors who go the extra mile and work to do the right thing, even when no one is looking. Bring this sort of integrity to your practice. Take up the art of observation to bring forward your best work. Learn from history and repeat it.
Make eye contact with your patients. Ask open ended questions, so they have the opportunity to share. The richness in the relationship, is as therapeutic as the healing technique.
Social media and reality tv can create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work ? Can you explain.
I believe sharing your personal story as you find it to be relevant, is a gift to give your patient. Not everyone will be interested in your story, and it will not be appropriate for all , but if it helps one person in need, it is worth sharing. It is very helpful for clients when you know what they are feeling, because you have been in that same position, and you share that with them.Knowing due to experience is so very different from book knowledge.
Can you give us your favorite life lesson quote ? Do you have a story about how that was relevant for you?
“Be yourself , everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
I love this quote because it perfectly expresses the importance of authenticity. Clients need to know you are real and they can trust you. Being there for them in a real way , they know, they know when we are authentic.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
The idea I would like to inspire would be to encourage clients to always look for the positive. There is positive in every situation. Some situations you have to look harder than others to see , but it is there. We have a choice to be positive or negative, why not choose positive ? Always find the perspective that offers hope. Without hope we have nothing. It is so significant to find hope and share it with your patients and their situation.
How can our readers follow you on social media
I am active on social media www.loriwhatley.com is my website.
dr.lorilive is my instagram
drlorilive.wordpress.com is where you will find my weekly blog
Originally published at medium.com