Meet our new Therapist, Zoe Abram, CMHC!
September 30, 2022
We are so excited to welcome our new therapist, Zoe Abram to the AFP Family! Zoe spent sometime before her first day on the job to tell us about her journey to AFP.
AFP: What brought you to Atkinson Family Practice?
Zoe:Coming to work at Atkinson feels like a natural choice for me: I'm excited for the opportunity to work in a family practice with a strong team-oriented culture, because I think it is a model that offers the well-rounded support to clients and also because as a clinician, I really like having good co-workers. Being part of a team is important to me. I'm also excited by what clinicians call the "population" of clients I'll get to work with: the wide range of reasons for coming to therapy. I love working with people of all ages in times of transition and stress - teens, young adults, career-changers, new parents, relationship changes or separation, people at the end of their careers.
AFP: Name a role model who inspired you in life or in your career choice.
ZOE: Oh wow, I see so much to love in people, so role models come easily to me. In my own life I've been lucky to have strong personal, academic and professional mentors who have taught me about being attuned, consistently present, flexible and assertive. As far as famous therapists, I'm inspired by Kirstin Neff's work on self-compassion, the Gottmans emphasis on "turning towards," and Esther Perel's work on maintaining personal integrity in relationships.
AFP: What energizes you about your work? /What is your favorite part about your job?
ZOE: Oh wow, the people, the people, the people. I'm amazed by people, always have been, by the depth of what it is to be alive and to feel, and by how precious an opportunity it is to listen to someone sharing. I love watching clients evolve over time; often it seems to be more of a returning to self. I believe we are all born whole and brilliant and the work is to offer support as clients discover themselves - perfect and beautiful. My two year old loves to sing the Sarah Pirtle lyrics "we're so strong, we're so smart, we were born with a loving heart." That's what I see in clients and what I'm passionate about.
AFP: Your bio hints at a pretty drastic career change. What inspired this change, and do you consider your past work, farming and in nature connection, connected to your current career path?
Zoe: Yeah! I worked as a farmer, always at farms using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, and most recently at Brookfield Farm here in Amherst. The kind of farming I did has a lot in common with good therapy: nurturing, team-oriented, grounded work. I'm inspired by the potential of seeds - they literally shake with energy in the spring right before they sprout. And then, after a decade of farming, I learned the hard way about burnout, and about needing to re-align with what's most important to me. I found my way back to school and re-trained, towards a career in therapy that I think will be more sustainable for me and my family. The nature connection work that I did ranged from summer camp counseling to youth work, and is an interest that still runs alongside my therapy career. It gave me a access to a type of knowing that I'd been missing - inextricable interconnectedness. Spending time with people in the woods reminds me of that knowing over and over again. Both parts of my past careers are still part of my personal life - you can still me wandering around Brookfield most weeks with my kids as a shareholder. In session, I use skills I learned in my past work to support clients to find their own access points to interconnection, trust, innate energy and deep knowing.
AFP: Finally, when/where do you feel most yourself?
Zoe: If you've read this far, you can probably guess! Outside swimming in the summer, ... this time of year probably around a fire, with dirty knees on my pants, with something good to eat and people I love telling stories around me. I'm a real sensory person - a snuggle on the couch with my kids and my partner or a quick shower can bring me right back into myself too. A warm cup of tea can also do the trick (I might drink it or I might just carry it around for comfort for hours ...).