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Kim Egel    

Kim Egel

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

Meet Kim Egel, a licensed therapist from San Diego. We wanted to bring Kim on the blog to get a true professional perspective on all things mental health and wellness.

INTRODUCE YOURSELF, KIM!

Hey there. I’ve been a licensed Marriage Family Therapist for over 10 years working out of my private office in North County San Diego. My practice is based around the principles of authentic truth and overall wellness. I received my BA degree in Human Development from UC San Diego and I hold my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. As a former semi professional track and field athlete, I bring the concepts of the mind, body and spirit connection into my client sessions. I continue to train and explore many different physical activities in order to keep my own mind/body connection strong. I believe that my involvement within my own creative endeavors adds to my offerings as a therapist and educator to personal wellness. Beyond working as a therapist, I started my own jewelry line back in 2011, Kim Egel Jewelry, where the energies of natural stones and meaningful symbols of pieces help clients hold and manifest their intentions. I continue to explore my love for photography and travel, which I believe strengthens who I am as a therapist as I call in clients who are creative souls and truth seekers themselves. Through my education, clinical experience and personal endeavors I feel that I’ve created my unique and intuitive approach to therapy, which guides my clients personal growth.

Image by Renata Amazonas

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THERAPY TO THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN OR MAY NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT IT? 

Going to therapy is about giving yourself the space to explore your actions, behaviors, habits and everything that is creating your life and is unique to you. It’s an environment that is solely focused on allowing you to feel, do or say whatever is on your heart; whether it be rooted deep down or right on the tip of your tongue. It’s an opportunity to self examine anything that’s not working (and what is) and to brainstorm ideas, with the help of a professional, about new practices to cultivate to achieve further self growth.

"...It’s an opportunity to self examine anything that’s not working (and what is)..."

OR PERHAPS MORE SO, WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL APPROACH AS A THERAPIST?

I lead with creating an environment that’s welcoming and non intimidating, as I believe that’s essential for another to tap into their vulnerability. When someone is more trusting and vulnerable, they’re able to disclose emotions with less resistance. I’m always feeding off the material that my clients bring to our sessions together. In the therapy room, it is a team effort. More transparent thoughts and feelings coming from my clients leads to a higher chance of exploring root issues. 

In addition to using tools from my clinical background, I gravitate toward an intuitive and creative approach to therapy. Meaning, I use the present moment to lead the way within my client sessions. I’m not big on allowing pre established questions and procedure to dictate my sessions. I will never be sitting there in front of you with a clipboard and a bunch of paperwork. To me that’s off putting. I like to make space for what organically comes up in the room and I use that to direct our work together.

WHAT DOES A DAY IN THE LIFE OF KIM EGEL LOOK LIKE? 

It starts with some space in the morning to meditate, nothing fancy just 5-10 minutes, (and there are days where that’s impossible for me) journal, drink coffee, write (I have a blog) and some form of workout. I then either get ready to go to my office to see clients, or it could be a day where I take client calls from home. Seeing if the day allows for me to see friends or get to the ocean is a daily sort out. With my line of work, one thing I love is how everyday is different and unexpected.

WHAT IS A BIG MISCONCEPTION ABOUT THERAPY OR MENTAL HEALTH YOU HEAR AS A PROFESSIONAL AND CAN YOU CORRECT IT FOR US?

I know I hear the word “analyze” a lot when it comes to talking about therapy. As in, “you’re” being analyzed when you go to therapy. I find that frightening because it feels so invasive and uncomfortable. I understand that as a therapist my job is to hear you to the best of my ability so I can help guide you toward your truth, although picking you apart and analyzing you is not the vibe I’m going for.  I don’t think anyone wants to be dissected and pulled apart, nor should they be.

HOW CAN SOMEONE FIND THE RIGHT THERAPIST?

Finding the “right” anything can be an adventure. Here are some quick thoughts about finding the right therapist: Check to see if any trusted friends have a referral for you. Utilize “therapy finder” sites where all licensed professionals have a valid, active license. Take advantage of free phone consultations that many therapists offer prior to starting with them in order to get a feel for their therapeutic approach, style and way. Pay attention to how you feel on the phone with them rather then what their credentials are. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you may have. 

Image by Renata Amazonas

JANUARY IS MENTAL WELLNESS MONTH SO WE WANT TO KNOW:

WHAT DO YOU DO TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? 

At this point of my life I’m pretty clear on what I need to do to feel my best and when I don’t do “the things” I feel out of whack, for sure. A morning routine that centers me, exercise that allows me to feel strong and tapped into my body, giving attention to solid and fulfilling relationships, adventuring/travel, being creative, challenging myself physically, being in nature, specifically under the sea. These are all things I do to stay mentally well.

Eating well, moving my body & getting enough sleep sound so elementary, but those are three huge things for me too. 

WHAT’S YOUR SELF CARE ROUTINE?

I think my morning routine is a huge part of feeling my best. Everyday I move my body in one form or another, waking early enough to have the space to write, journal, prep for my day and not be rushed is huge. Feeling like my external space is organized and clean helps me feel mentally put together. Messy home/ Messy head. I totally agree with that saying. 

HOW CAN WE STICK TO OUR GOALS?

Setting really restrictive and unrealistic resolutions is a sure fire way to set yourself up for failure when it comes to resolutions. For example, if you’re going from never working out to saying you’re going to hit the gym 7 days a week for a couple hours; I’m not sure how realistic that is. I believe in balance and creating lifestyle changes that will motivate you, not make you feel miserable and defeated. I think the key is finding goals and resolutions that will uplift your life and allow for a healthy life rhythm. Bottom line: Set yourself up for success. It’s a lifestyle not a diet.  

"I believe in balance and creating lifestyle changes that will motivate you, not make you feel miserable and defeated. I think the key is finding goals and resolutions that will uplift your life and allow for a healthy life rhythm."

WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST TO FOLKS WHO WANT TO DO SELF WORK BUT MAY NOT BE INTO THERAPY?

I want to let these folks know that therapy is not the only way. It’s a way. Therapy can be very helpful and is a game changer for some. With that said, there are also other avenues for people who feel like it’s not their thing. Any endeavor that promotes self growth and helps you to develop practices to operate at your best can lead to new perspectives and, ultimately, a better quality of life. Finding like minded individuals and hobbies that help you process and get in tune with your emotions can be beneficial, as well. Things like retreats, workshops, cultivating spiritual practices, travel and involvement with any medium of art are some activities that can lead to healing. Your job is to pay attention to what you gravitate toward and give it a try. 

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THERAPY AS A PROFESSION CHANGE OVER THE YEARS AND HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IT CHANGE IN THE YEARS TO COME? 

When I started practicing therapy as an intern back in 2004, there was no such thing as “life coaches.” The words “meditation” and “spirituality” were not thrown around so commonly. Generally, I suppose the job of a therapist was seen more clinical and “inside a box.” There seems like there’s more range now within the profession. There are therapists who practice a lot more clinically than I, although I have enjoyed how I’ve been able to carve out my own niche that’s a fit for me, combining my clinical training and a more creative sort of vibe. (For example combining my jewelry designing with my practice) I was a lot more hesitant to do that when the concepts of wellness were not as vast 15 years ago. I also think that it’s important to keep the clinical practice of therapy alive by respecting constructs that were set up for a reason and have stood the test of time. I would love to see continued respect for valuable pillars of therapy in combination with other practices that really appear to be helping people. 

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THAT YOU THINK CAN BENEFIT THE AVERAGE READER? 

I suppose I would want to note that there’s so much opinion and feedback out there these days. It’s great, but it can also be confusing. With this being so, having your radar tuned in for the things, people and places that really speak to you and light you up is key. Having the inner knowing to ditch what doesn’t serve you and the ability to align with what does is an important skill set in a world with so much information at our fingertips. 

Tip: Trust things that are consistent.

Image by Renata Amazonas

SPEED ROUND

BEST MEXICAN FOOD IN SAN DIEGO? 

For ambiance, El Camino. I love the decor and vibe of this place and it’s right down the street from my house! Street art meets Mexican.

FAVORITE RECENT BOOK, MOVIE, OR PODCAST?

I’ve been enjoying the Dax Shephard podcast. I love the range of guests he has on along with his honest and quirky approach toward his guests.

IF YOU HAD A BILLBOARD THAT EVERYONE IN THE WORLD COULD READ, WHAT WOULD IT SAY? 

Babe. The Time is NOW. 

BEST RELAXATION TOOL? 

Anything that makes you sweat or demands your full attention. For me; surfing, running, diving, making jewelry, taking photos.

WHAT MAKES YOU MADHAPPY? 

Knowing that I have solid friendships and a supportive family that has my back.