Natalie McClellan, B.A.
I take a collaborative approach to working with clients. I view them as the experts in their lives, while I use my training to help them find different ways of seeing things, being in relationships, coping with difficulty, and enacting meaningful change.
As people we have unique experiences and identities that shape us throughout our lives and give us our own relationships to power, privilege, and oppression. I believe that distress often stems from the way larger social forces play out in our lives, which can leave us feeling disconnected and isolated. Healing happens through becoming aware of how these social forces are impacting us, lessening that burden, deepening relationships, and empowering people to take action to change what doesn’t feel good. In therapy we’ll focus on what you can do to feel better about yourself, your relationships, and your life. The overarching goal of therapy is to help you feel empowered and connected.
My hope is that we can build a trusting relationship that will make those things possible. As a clinician-in-training, my emerging clinical interests include life transitions, disability and/or chronic pain, (gender-based, racial, and family) trauma, perinatal depression, reproductive health concerns, and gender identity and sexuality concerns.
From my perspective dismantling oppressive systems and healing at the individual and community level are inextricable and equally important. I am a white, queer, ciswoman from a middle-class background. I understand that bias can and will arise when working with clients. For example, although I have experienced gender-based oppression, and thus may be able to relate to clients with whom I share those experiences, there are many other bases of oppression that I do not have lived experience with. I have blind spots and the potential to misunderstand clients’ experiences and the distress that arises from those experiences and identities. To work through these biases, I will bring a multicultural orientation to my role as a therapist. This means being humble about what I do not know, while working to affirm my clients’ cultures and identities (including their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, and spirituality/religion).
I will also continue to engage in an active anti-oppression practice that involves seeking knowledge and understanding, plus giving and receiving frank feedback with emotional resiliency, not defensiveness. As a part of this, I plan to use my supervisory relationships to work through blind spots, grow in my awareness, and be accountable to my values as a therapist.
Before joining the counseling psychology program at University of Iowa, I worked for a decade in community mental health and community organizing. My outreach interests include increasing affirming mental healthcare access for marginalized people, community responses to (gender-based and intimate partner) violence, substance use and harm reduction, and mindfulness meditation workshops.