I had the great opportunity to interview local marriage and family therapist, Marissa Talarico. She is a gifted therapist who specializes in couples dealing with infidelity, anxiety, and family issues. She also specializes in sex therapy treating a wide range of challenges, including sex addiction. She sees clients at her office in downtown Vancouver, Washington. I had the chance to meet up with her for coffee and ask some questions.
What kind of counselor are you?
Theoretically I am trained as a marriage and family therapist. What this means to me is that I view your problem statement in a context. I look at not only where you are at now, and who you consider your family, but also the ways in which you were raised, what community you feel most closely tied to, and who you have in your life. I truly believe in understanding and hearing the whole person that you are, as opposed to only hearing about the problem that brings you into the therapy room.
How long have you been practicing counseling?
It seems like I have practiced as a counselor my whole life. From early childhood I often found myself in the position with my friends as the listener, the advice giver, the shoulder to bear ones soul to. Professionally I have spent my entire adult life in the helping services ranging from caregiving, working in memory care, to case management and counseling.
Where is your practice?
My practice is located at 905 Officers Row in Vancouver WA. This offers a convenience to both Portland and Vancouver areas.
What are your specialties?
My passion is working with couples in the midst of some really tough relationship challenges. In my experience sex and sexuality is so often tied into this, and I have found a passion in working with couples issues ranging from affairs, to sex addiction. I find that when couples are able to be vulnerable and work through some of these issues they feel well rounded in their entire life.
What do you like about counseling?
One of my favorite aspects of working with folks is to bear witness to their incredible courage and vulnerability it takes to be present in the therapy room. These couples, the growth they make, and greater satisfaction they gain from their work inspires me to be a better person in my private life, to be a more well read therapist, to be a better everything. I also attached my headshot to add to the interview.
What is challenging about your work?
The greatest challenge I experience is the balance of giving just enough to my clients, and not too much. It is important to me, in what I understand systemically that I provide a safe space, free of judgment to folks to share their vulnerability with me, but not to walk with them in the future journey of healing. What I mean by this is, I offer the psychically and emotionally space to navigate that journey, but you get to physically walk the journey each day as you bring the courage to your own life.
How has counseling changed you personally?
I feel so grateful for a career as a therapist, largely based on the fact that it has allowed me to grow personally. I can have a better understanding of humans, the ways in which we interact, and what our underlying needs are. But the greatest change I have personally felt, is the true understanding of how vulnerable it is to be open and honest with oneself, and the courage it takes to be there in the moment. I truly see my clients as some of the most courageous people, and want to praise them for their openness.
***To find out more about Marissa and her counseling practice click here to access her website.