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Meet Kerry Martin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerry Martin.

Hi Kerry, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?

I knew in high school that I wanted to be a counselor. I was very active in my sport and excelled as an athlete. My parents told me that I was really good with kids, and because they had both been teachers, encouraged me to become a teacher myself. When I went to college, I went through the classes on the teaching track while playing college softball.

I believe both of my parents had untreated mental illness and there were some biological and genetic components to me developing my own issues. My mental illness was both untreated and had now become debilitating until my sophomore year when I began seeing a therapist at the college counseling center. The first therapist I met I did not “click” with, so I requested a different one and she provided me with treatment for my issues for the next several years. About halfway through my junior year, I finally had the courage to change my major to psychology and pursue what my heart loved.

I began to learn about how my parents raised me still affects me today and how I approach relationships. I learned how my feelings of sadness, fear, and disordered eating had developed, and was able to be more intentional about how I wanted my life to look and feel. I didn’t know it then, but I still had a lot to learn to become the healthiest version of myself I could be.

I got married out of college because I was so fearful of being alone (co-dependency) and soon realized that the person I married had the exact negative characteristics and qualities of both of my parents combined in one! I was halfway through my doctoral program and became pregnant with my first and only child when I discovered my husband had been unfaithful. This brought back all of the negative feelings I held about my self-worth, and my appearance, and resulted in depression.

I was halfway through my courses to become a psychologist when I had my son and it was the happiest time of my life! I was committed to putting an end to some of the generational patterns that had been passed down in my family and providing a healthy and secure environment for my child. Having a baby made things even more difficult in my marriage and exacerbated all of the underlying issues I had not wanted to face.

My husband and I attended couples counseling, but my experience of not feeling safe psychologically or mentally in the relationship (and my child’s physical, mental, and emotional safety) was not being taken seriously or into account. Against my religious parents wishes, I decided to file for divorce after ten years of marriage. I waited until my son was old enough and capable of dialing 911 emergency services on his own. He was an “old-for-his-age” 5-year-old. My ex-husband and I attended mediation and created a parenting plan.

I allowed my ex to use fear and intimidation to manipulate me into not asking for spousal or child support, or for physical custody of our son, which was most important to me. My ex went against the parenting agreement we had both signed and moved to Arizona where his family is from and resides. My son was traveling back and forth from California to Arizona every week which was taking its toll on him and me both. He was too young to handle that length of time apart from his primary caregiver. So, for my son’s mental and emotional well-being, I packed up my things, left my thriving private practice dream job, moved by myself to Arizona where I knew one friend, and got a job.

This was another very trying and difficult time for me and my son as he began attending Kindergarten for the first time and going back and forth between 2 homes at 5 1/2 years old. The divorce became finalized and my son’s dad and I shared 50/50 custody. I had been licensed to practice therapy in California and went before the Arizona board to get licensed. I was told none of my experience in California would count toward earning my license in Arizona. They decided I had to start over in Arizona and “do-over” all of the experience and hours I had already done. I was very disheartened.

I worked as a mental health consultant in daycares and preschools around the West Valley, as a child and teen therapist at a high-acuity community counseling center, as a birth-to-five specialist writing assessment reports to the court, as a therapist in a school setting, and provided therapy in an integrated mental health center. During this time, I met a man who was initially caring, kind, loving, and good with my son. We decided to get married to please my parents when we weren’t ready yet. This was another time I did not trust my gut instinct. We bought a home and lived there for four years.

We attended couples counseling to try and resolve our constant bickering and power struggles, I also attended my own counseling, and finally, he chose to move out and we sold the house. My son and I moved into an apartment where we stay today. Off and on for years I kept in touch with this man, he helped me around the apartment with things, he kept me company when I was lonely or sad, and we fell back in love. I didn’t want to face that he was not a positive influence on or good with my son and was not a fit co-parent. I was only thinking about my own survival and need to feel loved.

I started my own private practice outpatient therapy business in December 2019 and began practicing in an office that month. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the office was closed and I had to move my practice to virtual, or telehealth, services to meet my client’s needs. My dad passed away from a 8 month battle with esophageal and stomach cancer in July 2021 which was a very hard time in my life. I’m still grieving from time-to-time but have a loving and supportive family. Seven months later, after being more intentional with meditation, prayer, and my spiritual practice, I realized I needed to cut ties with my second husband which was both sad and challenging.

My son is now a sophomore in high school and playing football and I am still providing virtual therapy from my home office. We are in a good place. I have very supportive, wise, and empowering friends, a blossoming spiritual life, and good relationships with my immediate family. I enjoy walking, being in nature and around trees, watching my son play football, watching Netflix, and decorating. I plan to continue on my personal journey of learning and growth because I believe I can’t take a client farther than I’ve been willing to go myself.

And that takes courage.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
As you have read, my road has been anything less than smooth and has been filled with many obstacles. Because I believe in a higher power, my hope comes from that place, and I am able to have faith and trust the process! I surround myself with positive, supportive, people to assist me with staying the course, remembering to take good care of myself, and growing in my faith. I do not believe we are meant to do this life alone. We all, including therapists, need others to help us endure the trying times of life. And when I am able to help a client through something similar I have endured, it provides purpose to my pain and healing becomes full-circle!

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I provide outpatient, virtual therapy services including individual, child and parent, adolescent, couples and marital, and family counseling. Sessions are typically 50 minutes long and I use a confidential, HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform to conduct services.

New patient paperwork is completed and signed online before the first session, and clients get notified of any additional assessments or treatment plans that require their review, approval, and signature. I see clients for issues that can be brief (10 sessions) all the way through long-term treatment that can last six months to a year or more (depending on client commitment, pace, ability to make intentional changes, ability to develop insight, etc.).

I specialize in trauma (anything that overwhelms our ability to cope) and attachment (our earliest relationship with our primary caregiver and how it affects how we view (and behave) ourselves, our relationships, and the world). Early in my career, I was known for being a skilled therapist of children from birth to five (and their parents), as well as adolescents.

Now, I am also known for treating adults: victims of domestic violence, victims of abuse, neglect, and trauma, those with patterns of codependency, women’s issues (including pregnancy and postpartum), men’s issues, parenting, co-parenting, depression, anxiety, PTSD, military personnel, first responders, self-esteem, coping skills, mild disordered eating patterns, I treat couples (including partners and marital) recovering from infidelity, wanting to improve communication, improve their sex life, learn how to better verbalize their needs to their partner, wanting to heal some of their old attachment wounds that are still impacting their relationships today.

I treat families: Blended families, step-parenting, and brand-wise, I am most proud when I have a new person call me for services and they have been referred by a previous client! I am ecstatic when the client’s no longer need therapy, I enjoy working myself out of a job, and seeing clients graduate!

I want readers to know my priority is to help everyone feel safe and comfortable when they meet with me. I often use intentional vulnerability and sometimes humor to assist clients with feeling more at ease, welcome, and relaxed. It is extremely important to me that I earn clients’ trust so that they can eventually feel comfortable discussing whatever is on their minds.

I know trust is earned and it takes time. I am willing to “jump through” whatever “hoops” or “tests” a client has for me to determine if I am safe and trustworthy. I truly care about my clients and their well-being and think about them even when we are not in session. I strive to provide quality, consistent, effective therapy services so clients can be feeling better as soon as the 4th session.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
People can work with me through my outpatient virtual private practice by contacting me via phone call or email on the PsychologyToday.com website. It’s important to note that I do not provide round-the-clock crisis intervention but instead offer clients emergency contact hotlines and numbers to call in the unfortunate event of an emergency.

People can also work with me through Symmetry Counseling (also virtual/online therapy) where I accept United Healthcare, and Optum, and am working on getting credentialed to accept other medical insurance clients through Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and more. To collaborate with me, please feel free to contact me through my PsychologyToday.com profile or my website. I’d be happy to engage in individual or group consultation and/or collaborate on a case (with a current release of information).

You can support me and my efforts to provide healing and growth by praying for me, referring clients to me, or sending me encouraging or empowering messages through the website, my PsychologyToday.com profile, or email.

Pricing:

  • Individual Therapy (50 min)
  • Couples Counseling (50 min)
  • Parent-Child Counseling (50 min)
  • Initial Free Consultation (15 Min) = Free
  • 1st session: Intake Assessment (55 min)

Contact Info:

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