Jennifer Wong Boyle, M.A., LMFT
I love people. I always have. I also spent a long time suppressing that love out of fear that it could hurt me. You can read more about it in my story.
I live to nurture. It's who I am. I love to support trauma survivors, but I also work with people who were wounded by experiences that don't meet the criteria for trauma.
Here are some strengths that I use with clients:
- I am curious and compassionate
- I see the best in people
- I hold hope and believe change is possible
- I think in visual metaphors
- I reframe narratives in a way that is positive and still authentic
- I explain 'why' so you can make informed choices
I love watching tension melt away as people return home to themselves. I love witnessing the pride a person has when they do something they once thought impossible. I love celebrating the baby steps. I love it when clients experience ease and joy as their "new normal."
I also co-host a podcast: Let's Talk About Sex with Lynn and Jen with my friend and colleague, Lynn Ponton, MD.
M Y S T O R Y
I was born and raised in San Francisco, a wonderful place of creativity, culture, and other forms of diversity. From the outside it looked like I had it good, but I was living a diminished life with a sad little secret.
I started 1st grade at a prestigious all-girls private school. Classes were small, about 20 girls per class, with two classes in a grade. I don't have clear memories of specific experiences, but I must have noticed that some of the girls were really mean. When I look back, I see that I must have subconsciously figured out that if I was quiet, like basically invisible, I'd never be a target of that meanness. I'd be safe. That's when I let my inner critic take the wheel. No one seemed to notice. They assumed I was quiet, or "shy." There's nothing wrong with being quiet, its just not my nature. Us "quiet" ones often slip through the cracks. Books were my escape. Art was another outlet but that was very "by the rules" or rather, what I imagined the rules to be.
This continued until 5th grade. In 5th grade my parents hired an amazing nanny. She remains a dear family friend to this day. She was sunshine: Creative, kind, and authentic. She taught me the healing magic of a relationship where the person really sees and hears you--all of you.
Since then, it's been a journey (with plenty of peaks and valleys) to free myself of my self-made prison guard--what I now call the "Mean Inner Critic". I've learned the hard way how to take back my power from my Mean Inner Critic and keep it in the backseat, where it belongs. Let's be real...sometimes my wounds still get triggered, but I've learned how to move through them--I've got the framework now.
Being a therapist is my dream job. Many people ask, "Isn't it hard?" They say, "I could never do that." But it's an amazing fit for me. So, to my clients (and future clients): Thank you for granting me the honor of being in your passenger seat, for inviting me to travel beside you as we collaborate on navigating you through your healing process.
In closing, let me share some words that would have helped my little self greatly, in hopes that they might help you today.
I see you. You are not alone. You are enough. It does get better.
M Y A P P R O A C H
Holistic Strengths-Based Healing
What do I mean by holistic?
When I use the term holistic, I mean whole-being. Therapy is often referred to as mental health, but my experience working with people has taught me that it is so much more.
Therapy has to do with understanding:
- the way we think (mind/mental)
- the way we feel (heart/emotional)
- the way we act (body/physical)
- the way we allow (soul/spiritual)*
* for those who have spiritual or religious faith
Discover your personal alignment and be empowered to make choices that are correct for you.
Why strengths-based healing?
Therapy has an "it's complicated" relationship with healing and the medical world, which is generally deficit-based. It tends to focus on what is missing or "wrong" with someone.
In contrast, strengths-based healing reinforces resources that already exist in a person. When we learn to view what comes naturally to us in a positive light and find ways to apply these gifts to the issues we face, a shift happens. We see ourselves as more capable and find the courage to grow beyond our comfort zones.
Discover how your strengths can help you work through your challenges.