Why The Center for Relationships? by Morgan Johnson
You can come and feel for yourself this Care Week 2017, but I just wanted to share a little bit more about what we’re up to at The Center and why, because it’s a big piece of my heart.
#TCFRAustin is a brainchild of Dr. Vagdevi Meunier, who is a well-loved, veteran therapist, educator, and supervisor in Austin and also happens to be one of just twenty or so Master Gottman Method Trainers in the world.
Her vision was to create an empowering, inclusive space that would invite people to connect and experience the growth they want for themselves and their relationships without it feeling ultra clinical, sterile, and old-world psychology—envision that yuck neutral blue mental health marketing color.
“Therapy should be fun.” I will never forget Dr. V saying this about therapy because it kind of blew my mind at the time. I was *cringe* into more problem-focused models, despite my ongoing love of Narrative Therapy. I had just gotten back from living in NYC for a hot minute, but was still fresh out of my MA with no model to call my own. I just had this not-so-radical idea that most therapy and counseling is complete shit, and most marketing and client-directed language is pathologizing, demeaning to humans, and dismissive of culture.
Then Dr. V really taught me to interpret outcome-based stats and therapeutic model efficacy with more fluency, and I realized my fears were statistically valid… Want to know how effective couples therapy is on average (when it’s *not* Gottman or EFT…)? Somewhere between 30-50%. I won’t settle for a service *which I will pay money for* being *maybe* as good as random chance. Yeah, no thanks. Relationships are too damn important.
When I reconnected with Vagdevi after getting back from Brooklyn and realized she’d already set up shop in Austin—AND it was organized as “deliberately developmental” and “deliberately diverse” AND aimed at nurturing whole people and flourishing relationships no matter how many people were in a relationship or what it looked like, or the gender or skin color or body ability or spirituality or values of the people in it—of course I got on this train.
Watching our staff grow at The Center through my first year working at this magical place has been one of the greatest joys.
I think part of what makes us especially unique in town and strong as a team is that we’re *not* a bunch of straight, white, Judeo-Christian therapists in a box.
We are black and brown and white and Indian and Protestant and non-theistic and Hindu and spiritual and queer and straight and married and remarried and single and cohabitating and divorced and progressive and traditional and empty-nesting and starting families… Between the lot of us, there’s a stunning depth and breadth of experience and it’s not because we’ve all lived similar lives in similar places with similar families and relationships.
We like it when we can be a one-stop-shop for you and your loved ones, but we’re NEVER one-size-fits-all. We believe clients have a right to choose whatever style and method suits their vibe and wants. And we love that we can do this while keeping it rooted in science and the latest research.
We staff practitioners and trainees with training in: Gottman Method (every practitioner on staff has been trained at least to Level I of Gottman Method!); Gottman’s “Art and Science of Love” + “Bringing Baby Home” + “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work;” Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT); Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); Internal Family Systems (IFS); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); PsychOncology, Prepare Enrich Premarital Program, and more.
At The Center, we believe lasting change emerges through new experiences when multiple dimensions are invited to interact and integrate—body, brain, mind, spirit, and relationships.
If you have ever felt othered or cast out because of how you think or who you love or how you carry your body through the world, know that we welcome everyone at #TheCenterforRelationships. We’re here for all relationships—including your relationship with yourself—wherever you are, and whatever you’re going through.
Morgan Johnson is a post-graduate counseling intern at The Center for Relationships with a Bachelor’s from Wake Forest and a Masters degree in professional counseling from St. Edward’s University. She is the director of our Intimacy Support program as well as the creative force behind many of our innovative ideas. Follow her on Facebook @MorganJohnsonATX and Twitter @. If you would like to schedule a meeting with Morgan, please call 512-465-2926.