We recently connected with Dr. Heather Hahn and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Dr. Heather thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. If you had a defining moment that you feel really changed the trajectory of your career, we’d love to hear the story and details.
My love for counseling began in the 4th grade after experiencing a family tragedy. Since then, I have felt a calling to serve others who are experiencing hardship, pain, and/or suffering. While I’ve been certain in my professional calling, the road to identifying my current path was a journey. In the counseling field, a person must obtain tremendous levels of training and experience before being able to practice on their own as a licensed counselor. During this training, I worked in a juvenile detention center – post adjudication, worked in the field of addictions, as well as provided services in the outpatient, inpatient, and residential settings. While working, I simultaneously continued my education in the field as I believed this would allow me to increase my abilities as a clinician. After completing my Doctor of Philosophy degree from St, Mary’s University, I was honored to secure a teaching position at the University level, educating graduate level students aspiring to become counselors themselves. While teaching was fulfilling and invigorating, it was during this tenure that I felt I was missing out on my calling and I experienced a defining moment in my career trajectory. I yearned to be client facing, working directly with clients on their healing journeys rather than educating counseling students. This was my defining moment where I decided to leave my position and trust that I had the abilities to be successful in opening a private practice. I am forever grateful that I was able to experience teaching and sharing my passion for the field with others in a learning environment because this is what ultimately lead me back to my initial passion and true calling in the counseling profession. I have not looked back and continued to be blessed serving the community in the mental health field.
Dr. Heather, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
As previously mentioned, my passion for the counseling field began after experiencing a family tragedy in the fourth grade. This experience lead me to want to better understand suffering, pain and hardships in others and ways to find healing and authenticity within one’s life. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who is also board-approved as a Supervisor for counseling associates and have been in the field for approximately 16 years. I provide mental health counseling to children, adolescents, and adults via individual, family or couples counseling services. At this time, I offer both in-person or telehealth sessions depending on the comfort level of each client seeking services.
I have come to firmly understand that individuals come in for counseling for a variety of reasons. I believe that each person has a valuable and unique life story. I work diligently to create a safe space for clients to share their story. I assist each client in working towards overcoming obstacles, as well as to alleviate distress to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. I believe in the importance of the healing connection and do not take it lightly that each client that comes in to see me is trusting me to join them on their journey. The logo at Hahn Counseling Services encompasses a butterfly signifying the unique journey of the transformative process while working towards healing. During the process you may feel like you cannot go on any longer in making the necessary changes for the betterment of your life; however, just like the caterpillar that cocooned and blossomed into a beautiful butterfly, you also have the ability to continue to transform while under pressure and hardship.
While I have a specialization in trauma/complex trauma, I also have extensive experience working with chronic stress/stress management, anxiety, depression, work/life balance, PTSD, individual identity, family conflict, blended families, divorce, grief and loss, personality disorders, and addictions/recovery protection. Many counselors in the field work with client’s from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach which directly addresses the mind and challenging thoughts. While I believe this approach can be effective, I feel that I am different than many of my colleagues because I believe in treating the client holistically and addressing the mind/body connection while healing. I have a certification in Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy and can integrate these techniques into the counseling experience, if desired. In addition, at Hahn Counseling Services, I understand this is your journey, your story, your life; therefore, I respect the place you are currently at, without judgment or trying to change who you are. You can expect for me to hold compassion for you during your sessions; however, I am also unafraid to point out discrepancies to help you reach your counseling goals.
Other than training/knowledge, what do you think is most helpful for succeeding in your field?
Other than training and knowledge, what is helpful in succeeding in the counseling profession is the ability to network and establish connections with other professionals within the field. Being able to work with other agencies, facilities, and providers establishes a referral source for one another, as well as a way to gain insight into current changes within the profession. In addition, staying connected to professional memberships within the field (i.e., ACA, TCA, Chi Sigma Iota, etc.), as well as social media groups allows a counselor to stay informed, seek guidance, and stay grounded in a challenging profession that can often lead to burnout.
Are there any books, videos, essays or other resources that have significantly impacted your management and entrepreneurial thinking and philosophy?
Brené Brown’s books, podcasts, and TED Talks have been some of the the most influential in my philosophy and thinking within the field. Her work and research has transformed the practice of counseling by providing a deeper understanding to addressing topics people often don’t want to address, such as shame and guilt, vulnerability, courage and bravery, and worthiness and authenticity. Others who have significantly impacted my philosophy and thinking are Bessel van der Kolk with his book “The Body Keeps the Score”, as well as Stephen Porges and his advancements, research, and knowledge provided around the Polyvagal Theory.
- Website: www.hahncs.com
- Other: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/heather-hahn-dallas-tx/339822
Ivy Reyes Photography (headshot – butterfly dress) Catelyn Damon Photography (headshot – black dress) Indian Hills Marketing & Design (logo)