September 2010
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Billie Silvey
An Interview with
Jenny Ricker, MFT
Jenny Ricker has a master’s in family therapy.  She and her
husband Fred, an elder at the Culver Palms Church of Christ, have
two children, Kelsey and Collin.  A good friend, she volunteered to
meet with our job training students when they began to indicate
problems with self-image and abuse.

The following interview draws on Jenny's 20 years of experience as a
therapist.
1.  What kind of training did you have, and where did you go
to school? intern, etc.?
I got my BA at Pepperdine University and my masters at Cal State
Northridge.  I interned with the Life Transition Program at Brotman
Medical Center; the therapeutic pre-school at Julia Ann Singer
Center; as a Children's Service Worker with the Department of
Children's Services; and with the Pepperdine University Student
Counseling Center.
2.  Where and in what contexts have you practiced?
I was hired by the Pepperdine University Student Counseling Center
before going into private practice with Velasco and Associate
s.

3.  What areas of counseling are most interesting to you?
I am interested in Grief/Bereavement counseling, women’s
issues, marital therapy and parenting.

4.  What areas present the most challenges?
I found it a challenge to work with a client’s denial issues.   
Often marital couples come into counseling wanting to change their
partner.   It can be difficult to look at your own issues contributing to
the problems in the marriage.    Therapy needs to feel safe before
clients are willing to look at their
vulnerabilities.

It was a personal challenge to work part-time after my children were
born.  
Balancing work and family is a challenge most working
mothers face.

5.  Have you seen any changes in your counseling as a result
of having a family?  Maturing?  
Being married and having children gives you insight and maturity as a
therapist.  I found myself more appreciative of my husband after
working with so many unhappy relationships.  As a therapist teaches
couples better ways to communicate and handle conflict,  the
challenge is to go home and “practice what you preach.â€�  
Therapy made me more aware of my own issues and areas I need to
work on in my marriage and in parenting my children.

6.  How has your Christianity informed your counseling?  
What problems, if any, does it present?
My personal beliefs and faith were not shared with my clients.    I did
pray for my clients and for my ability to help them, but  I never let
them know.  Keeping
ethical boundaries with clients is very
important.  

MFT’s are required to take continuing education courses in
order to keep our license in good standing.  A Law and Ethics
course is required every two years.

7.  What other aspects of your experience do you feel might
interest the readers?   How can counseling benefit the average
person?
We are all in many relationships; some are healthy and some are
not.    Life stressors are inevitable.  We all face issues with death and
loss.  I believe most people benefit from having a safe place to go
and address the challenges of life.
Marriage Counseling
Honesty