Victoria Fisher, LMSW, started working at The Well Being this past January. Prior to joining our practice, she had worked as an outpatient therapist at Montcalm Care Network, and more recently, Hope Partners at Hope Network.
Below is the transcript of a recent interview where I asked Victoria five different questions in order to get to know her a bit better.
Brendan: OK, Question #1...how did you wind up working in this field? What led you into it?
Victoria: Well, I started off with my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and I wanted to do Macro-work, actually.
B: Where did you go to school again?
V: Grand Valley, for both (degrees), yeah. And I sort of knew then that I would get frustrated with the red tape and the process and everything, and that I wanted to try and change things on a higher level. But...it’s hard to find internships in that (laughs), and for my Master’s I did have an internship in that and I didn’t really like it. I actually got into the MPA (Master’s of Public Administration) program as well. So, I was going to get a dual degree.
B: An MSW and a Master’s in Public Administration...
V: Yes. Um, but the Public Administration classes... Well, you’ve been to Social Work school (laughs).
B: (laughs) It’s been some years.
V: It’s a lot of “talking about feelings” and then MPA is very much “business” and “by the book” and I was like, “Oh, no. I don’t understand!” (laughs).
B: Left brain, right brain...
V: Right! And so I actually decided not to go into social work, because after I graduated with my Master’s Degree I started a writing business, which went OK. And then I started a Life Coaching business, which was really picking up. And, um, this is going to get a little personal, but then I got divorced, and had to find a job, and I had a Master’s Degree. So, I fell into case management with adults with developmental disabilities.
B: Sure. Where did you do that?
V: Spectrum Community Services, which is not affiliated with the hospital (laughs). And, my favorite part of that job was talking to clients and their families and developing that relationship and that connection. And so I thought, “Maybe I’ll try to become a therapist?”, because that was the best part of that job. I looked forward to it, and I felt like I really connected with them and that my clients and I really got along and had a good working relationship. So, I applied for a lot of jobs and Montcalm Care Network gave me the opportunity to become a therapist. I was very green as a social worker, and, um...I loved it immediately. And still do. (laughs). It was overwhelming, especially when I was up to 95 clients.
B: Holy cow...that’s crazy.
V: I know, we were short-staffed for a little bit, but...it was the first thing I had ever done at a job where I was, like, “I’m good at this. I can do this”.
B: Nice. So not just that you enjoyed the work, but you also had this natural affinity towards it.
V: Exactly. Yeah. And certainly my colleagues there helped me a lot. They didn’t have a lot of formal training in how to be a therapist, but I had a lot of mentors there who helped me a lot. So, yeah...that’s how I fell into how I became a therapist. A long convoluted story!
B: No, no...that’s a perfect story!
B: OK, Question #2...what do you enjoy most about your job?
V: Um...really developing that connection and being there for people when they’re struggling the most. Nobody tries to come see a therapist when their lives are going perfectly.
B: (laughs) Right, right...
V: And I get it. I’ve been seeing a therapist on and off since I was 19, you know. I get how important it is, and I get how difficult it is as well. So I think it’s important, at least from my perspective, that I was on each side of the process. But, really being there for somebody during their most difficult time is what I love about it, and instilling that hope and building that connection.
B: And embracing those moments...
V: Exactly. Yeah, and coaching people through how to get through the next ones. Because life isn’t always going to be...peachy (laughs).
B: OK, Question #3...why is exercise important to you? Why do you do it?
V: I do it so that my brain can work better! (laughs) Yeah, I notice it helps keep me functioning at a better level. It’s one of those things that has such an immediate and intense impact that I feel like I’m in a fog if I don’t do it for too long.
B: Right, right. If you don’t do it for a couple of days it’s OK, but if you don’t go for a couple of weeks?
V: Exactly. I feel like a different person, basically. It’s very important. Yeah (laughs).
B: Yeah. Unfortunately not everybody responds to it the way you do, which is the same that way I do, which is, you know, really, really well. It makes a huge difference. Um...but a lot of people do. And the fact that you do and you notice it...It’s kind of like you’re lucky because you have this tool at your disposal.
V: Yeah...it’s a great tool.
B: You get busy or you get injured...
V: (laughs) Very injury prone over here.
B: ...and you go a couple of weeks without exercising and you notice how you feel without it, and it just prompts you to get right back into it. Like, “I have to”. Not because of weight loss or muscles or cardiovascular health or anything like that. It’s like, I just don’t like the way I’m feeling.
B: OK, so on to Question 4...what else do you like to do?
V: Oh, I love to read. I’m in a couple of book clubs.
B: Reading anything good right now?
V: Right now I’m reading this very long, 900 page book called “Imajica” by Clive Barker. It’s a...I don’t even know how to describe it (laughs).
B: Didn’t he write horror?
V: Yeah. So, he wrote “Hellraiser”. There’s a book based on it. This is something that my partner, who’s a big reader, recommended to me. Before that, I read “Educated” by Tara Westover for a book club. I absolutely loved it. She grew up in a Mormon Survivalist home and, like, she did not set foot in a classroom until she was 17.
V: She went to BYU. And now she has a Ph.D from...I think Harvard. So she talks about her life story which reads like a novel. She’s had a crazy life! But it was so good. So I read a lot, and I watch shows and movies. I enjoy that. Spending time with my friends. I enjoy gaming. You know, just like board games and game nights with friends. And hiking, and playing with my dog.
B: What’s your dog’s name?
V: His name is Ranger. He’s a little Beagle mix (laughs).
B: OK, last question...where do you hope to find yourself in 10 years? What does your life look like?
V: Oh my goodness, that’s a good question! I still want to be a therapist.
B: Would you still be living here?
V: I don’t know. Maybe? I want to own a house at some point. We’ll see (laughs). And, I would like to do more teaching, potentially. Maybe supervising people in social work who are young in their careers. I’ve also thought about getting a Ph.D, but that’s something I’d have to think about a lot more (laughs).
B: Not something that you’d just jump into willy-nilly...
V: Exactly. I’ve thought about it. Yeah. It’s something I could see myself doing, because I get bored easily with jobs (laughs).
V: The thing about being a therapist is that it’s not boring. Everybody is so different.
B: Well, I think it can be, in terms if all you do 4 or 5 days a week is see 5, 6 clients a day, and it’s “see a client, write a note, see a client, write a note, see a client, write a note”.
V: Yeah. And you kind of say the same things over and over again. So, I know that I want to specialize a little bit more and get more training. I’m not sure what that’s going to look like yet, just because I’m still pretty new (laughs). I went through DBT training, but I don’t think I’ll use that very much. It was something that I was just, like, thrown into through Montcalm Care Network. So, yeah...I need to figure that out. There’s a lot that I’ve thought about, so...
B: The future is wide open to a very real degree, outside of, like, you’ve found your field, and that’s not anything you see changing in terms of doing anything different than this, it’s just that there might be a bit of variety.
B: OK, so I guess that’s it for the questions. Thank you very much...you did good!
V: (laughs) OK! I hope you got some good stuff out of that (laughs).
B: I did (laughs).