Hello Jo!

Unsplash Photo By Patrick Hendry

Educated but forever learning, middle aged but young at heart, a citizen of the globe but very happy at home. Join us in welcoming Jo Ellen Smith to our growing practice. Jo brings with her the same spirit of personal growth and mind/body development that has always defined the mission of Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates. She is a welcomed edition and will be accepting new clients beginning this week! Get to know a bit more about Jo by reading her Q/A. 

In Good Health,

What kind of services do you provide as a psychotherapist?

Having experiences in settings which include inpatient behavioral health, community mental health and private practice has allowed me to provide numerous services. Crisis intervention, stress management, treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD, interpersonal relationship difficulties, parenting as well as issues regarding sexuality and gender have been focuses of services I have provided.

Where did you go to school and where did you receive your training – facilities, internships, awards?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Recreation Therapy at Kent State University. My graduate degree, Master of Science Counseling Psychology from Chatham University, was earned as an adult. My goal was to complete my degree before my daughter left for college. Well, my graduation was at 10:00 am in August of 2001 and at noon the same day we were on the way to State College for my daughter’s freshman year. I was confident I would reach my goal, and did so with an hour to spare!!!! In 2006 I was awarded the Graduate Alumni Award in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University. 

 What does good therapy mean to you?

I believe that relationship if the foundation of good therapy. Meeting clients where they are, moving at their pace, working toward their goals (not mine) promotes an atmosphere conducive to growth and change. Being present, authentic, honest, and curious are qualities which allow good therapy to happen.

 What is the last book you read or movie you saw?

 Reading is a favorite pastime, and it seems that the book I am reading is my favorite at the time. However, one book does stand out: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. One of my favorite movies is Grand Canyon. Both have themes of love and vulnerability, issues that we all relate to and at time struggle with.

 What prompted you to become a therapist?

As a teenager and young adult in the 1960s and early 70s, the political atmosphere was highly impacted by the Vietnam War. As a college student at Kent State University, it was impossible to be unaffected by the student groups on campus, Black United Students (BUS) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). To me, it felt like an overwhelming task to take on “The Man” as the dominant political position was referred to. I was not political, but was a witness to the campus shooting on May 4,1970. I believe the event was the catalyst for my personal understanding that I could accomplish more change on an individual basis than my classmates were trying to do as a group. This experience was a trauma to all of us, and out of trauma can come healing, compassion and understanding.  

 What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?

Humor and laughter are important in my day to day life. No singular event comes to mind. I do enjoy making others laugh. Each Halloween my little dog Layla has played along with my attempts to photograph her in a funny costume for my friends amusement. 

What is your life philosophy?

 I work to maintain of position of being present. Limit contamination from past wounds as well as minimize worry about the future. Trust myself, I have landed on my feet after several significant challenges and have faith that I have the ability to do so in the future. Life is precious.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

 Patient – Optimistic- Creative

Who or what is your greatest inspiration?

The wonder of nature is a true inspiration for me. Having the opportunity to travel and experience the ocean, desert, forests and mountain tops fills me with awe and amazement. 

If you are looking to make positive changes in your life, we can help! Please give us a call at 412-367-0575 or email us at admin@pghpsychotherapy.com to schedule an appointment with Jo.

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