Day in the life of
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – Eileen Kinney Lindgren
There are a variety of ways LMFTs approach their jobs. Mine is focused on prioritizing my own self-care so that I can show up as open, regulated, and curious as possible for my clients. It is from that grounded place that I do my best work.
My day starts with connecting with my mind and body. I alternate between yoga with candlelight in the morning or sitting meditation. I let my body and energy level influence my choices rather than rigidly following a schedule or format. Somedays the yoga is slow and rhythmic, other days I work up quite a sweat. There is sweet affirmation in just listening to what I need and honoring it at the moment. After years of trying to get this routine “just right” and being disappointed when I didn’t, the single biggest learning has been that I was focusing on the wrong thing! Getting “in the zone” every time is just a fallacy and sets us all up for failure. Instead, my promise to myself is to show up and practice, whether it be for 1 minute or 30 — what comes of it after that is met with curiosity and acceptance. It’s the self-compassion that deepens my connection to myself, not the self-judgment for “not getting it right.”
Exercise is also a key part of my daily routine. My favorite is walking with a podcast or audiobook, 95% of the time the topic is related to my work since there are so many great resources out there. Finally, I fill my body with wholesome food that will get me through the day.
I mostly see clients in the afternoon and into the evenings. Although the work can at times be draining, I get a lot of energy from the level of trust, connection, and growth that manifests before me. In the mix at the beginning or end of the day would be my own therapy session, a training, consult group, massage, or connected time with a loved one, or some iteration of these.
One of the biggest benefits is that I am continually growing professionally and personally. Our profession is constantly evolving. There is so much to keep up with — neuropsychology, mind-body connection, healing complex trauma, early child development..the list goes on! I love learning new things and then applying them to my personal life as well. I use it in my parenting, how I show up as a partner, my friendships, and most of all in understanding myself. As I come into a deeper relationship with myself, I experience more compassion for myself and for others, which helps me feel more connected to them. I’m also fascinated by what it takes to connect to our vital life energy. In general, my personal and professional learnings build on each other. I can only bring my clients as far as I have been willing or able to go myself.
One of the biggest cons of my job is that I end up spending a lot of emotional energy on my clients. If I’m not careful to stay in balance, I can end up feeling drained and have less presence to give to my loved ones. I also notice that I need to plan for downtime after a weekend full of seeing friends and family (especially if I travel to do so) before I can be ready to work again. I’m learning to find that balance!
diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.