Interviewed by Jiovann Carrasco, LPC-S
Shanna Kramer, LPC-Intern is one of the most interesting people I've met in a long time. Not only is she a gifted therapist, but Shanna has such a wealth of life experience and a fearlessly playful approach to life, that conversations with her never quite seem long enough. I've known Shanna for over a year and it seems like I'm learning something new each time we meet. She is a classically trained vocalist, a talented photographer, and is the creator of Cat Butt Coasters, which she crochets in her spare time among other creative treasures. She also happens to be AMC's social media voice, so you can thank her for all those amazing articles and inspirational memes that help you through your day! Here's the interview . . .
What made you decide to become a counselor?
Human behavior has always fascinated me. Even at a young age I regularly questioned why people did the things they did.
As I got older I became less interested in the “why” and more interested in the “how can I help?” and quickly became the friend you could come to for down-to-earth, honest advice.
After getting my Psychology degree I knew I wanted to continue helping people and decided to continue my education and become a counselor.
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
Letting go of self-doubt. I think what holds people back is their fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of… whatever. But fear doesn’t move us forward. Sometimes we have to take leaps of faith and step outside our comfort zones to get what we want out of life.
What is the most common problem your clients bring to you?
Depression and anxiety, but mostly “stuckness”. They feel they’re not where they should be in life, or they’re not getting what they want out of their relationships, schooling, or career.
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
I have as a young adult, and unfortunately my counselor made me feel as though my feelings and experiences were invalid.
However, I did take away a lot of positive things from that experience. It helped me figure out what not to say to clients. It also helped me connect better with teenage clients, knowing how they must feel sitting on the other end of the couch.
If you could recommend one book to all of your clients, what would it be?
I have two: When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Both argue that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how we cope with it.
What inspires you to help others?
Through my difficult teen years I had a school counselor who inspired me. She taught me how to be myself unapologetically and without explanation. My hope is to be that guiding force for another child who is struggling to find themselves.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is a teen girl, or young adult just starting to figure out where they belong in the world. There is so much insecurity and self-doubt during this time, especially now that our lives are broadcast through social media. Pressures from parents, friends, and school can be overwhelming, and any mistakes that are made are there for the whole world to see.
How do you personally practice self-care?
I go to yoga, and work out twice a week. I also make sure I make time for the things that I love. When I’m not at the office you can find me crocheting Cat Butt Coasters and exploring Austin through the lens of my DSLR. I also make sure to eat lots of sushi and burritos.
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Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.