Name/Title: Erin Mariah Holloway, M.S., LMFT
Work Setting: Solo Private Practice
FIRM Therapy – Family, Individual, Relationship, and Marriage Therapy
Length of time: 6 years
Education: The University of Alabama
B.S. Human Development and Family Studies & Consumer Sciences: Family Financial Planning
M.S. Human Development and Family Studies: Marriage and Family Therapy
- How did you come into the field of MFT?
I started as a vocal performance major in college! My family who was very middle class, struggled with having healthy relationships. As a young person, I wondered why more resources didn’t equate better relationships. Resources can be helpful, but conflict is inevitable. The existence of relationship issues is not discriminatory. People from all backgrounds have needs that align with therapy and mental health help. I took a skills assessment test early in college and the results all pointed to human helping professions, most specifically a family therapist. Something clicked and I have always felt very called to and confident about, this career path. I do miss singing sometimes!
- What do you like most about your job?
I consider it such a gift to sit with other human beings and hold space for their pain, anger, sadness, and joy. I have especially found a passion for working with couples and LGBTQ+ clients. I also enjoy getting reminders that although we learn about family patterns and/or similarities between humans, that I am constantly proved wrong about people. Ultimately, everyone is unique and one of a kind.
- Do you have a crucial career lesson you have learned so far?
In my training program, I learned to advocate for myself and the things I needed as a clinician. You are allowed to take up space and ask for what you need. In my work in private practice, I have learned to hold small boundaries like ending sessions on time, having brief phone conversations, or not working during your lunch break. Lastly, I have learned how important it is to tell everyone that asks, that you are a Marriage and Family Therapist. Many people have no idea who MFTs are, and why they are special. We must advocate both for ourselves and our field.
- Is there someone special who inspires you & why?
Dr. Karly Downs. She was my mentor during my time at UA, and my supervisor, while attaining my license. Seeing Karly, a young businesswoman, with ethical decision making, a skill for teaching, and a passion for supervising and working with clients, has always inspired me. She has always encouraged me and given me tough feedback in such a way that felt like her elevating and supporting me, rather than making me feel small. We all have imposter syndrome from time to time and I can certainly say that in the 8 years I have been a therapist, Karly’s confidence in me, has carried me through some moments of self-doubt. Thanks Karly!
- We know clinicians need to take care of themselves before caring for others - share with us one important self-care tip.
Schedule self-care! Don’t expect to have time unless you make time. Personally, that means scheduling two weeks in advance to make sure I hold space for me. Also – notice the time driving from work to home. Those few minutes are so precious, and I have learned to sit in silence or listen to music, so I don’t bring anxious or negative energy home to my family.
- What is a piece of advice you have for new clinicians?
As Karly has always told me: You already have strengths, and you know more than you think you do!
As mentioned before, take up space, and pursue what you need to be successful. Also, learn the value of your colleagues. I attend a case consultation group with ALAMFT member, Kellie Ferrara. I have learned so much from her. Find people you feel connected to and can grow from. It will make you a better, more ethical therapist.
- Is there something you want to achieve in the duration of your career?
A more immediate goal of mine is to learn more about leadership. ALAMFT has sponsored me through the AAMFT leadership program and I plan to gain my certificate in Fall of 2022. My hope is to continue to be involved in advocacy for our Alabama MFTs. I have learned a lot in my time on the ALAMFT board. It is imperative that our state has volunteers and therapists with a passion for advocacy for the field in order to not only continue with our work, but to further our field. I would love to serve on the ABEMFT board at some point in the future.
I would also love to become an AAMFT approved supervisor. I feel that one of my biggest strengths in sessions and out, is support and empathy. I would love to be able to help guide therapists in training as they begin their careers in therapy
Lastly, I have such a passion for collaborative care. My ultimate dream is to own a multi-discipline practice with collaborative care for our shared clients.