Better Know a Freedster: Rosemary Moulton
Rosemary Moulton, LICSW, believes in everyone's right to an authentic life. We asked her to share her thoughts on all things psychotherapy, from misconceptions to pet peeves, plus a few fun facts that might surprise you:
I’ve been here in the area since the early 2000s. The DC area is my home and I’m fully rooted here.
How did you get into psychotherapy?
I’ve always been interested in the big questions about what life is about, and found myself, even at a very young age, asking how things are connected and wanting to know more about how people make meaning in their lives. To me as a child, that came by way of Oprah Winfrey. That got me interested in wanting to learn more about mental health and the vast diversity of individual experiences. I’m really passionate about helping people learn about themselves so that they can be more accepting of themselves, more authentic in their relationships, understand how their past may interface with their current experiences, and also feel good about being in the moment.
What do you look for in a psychotherapist?
I look for somebody who doesn’t have all the answers. I look for somebody who is non-judgmental, who challenges me, and who is able to gently focus me on areas that maybe I hadn’t thought of or maybe I was too afraid to look at. So that’s the kind of therapist I try to be: somebody who is standing by your side and walking that path with you as you work on self-acceptance, work through past issues, and come to live more fully in the present.
What’s the hardest part about being a psychotherapist?
When people ask me for direct advice. Clients are really the experts on their own lives. I can offer some guidance, but I don’t have a formula. When people ask “what do I do?” I refocus the work on what the client has thought of so far, what has worked in the past, and what they can imagine themselves doing. I might offer a suggestion here or there to open them up to a possibility that maybe they hadn’t seen before, but, to me, a guide is not an instructor.
What’s has been unexpected about this path?
As we work together, it’s a journey of discovery. I try to be open in each moment and understand that people don’t fit into boxes, and neither do their stories. I’m an expert in psychotherapy. I have the education, training, the interest, but I’m not an expert in you. So what comes out of our work will be surprising in a good way.
Do you have any pet peeves about the psychotherapy world?
Insurance companies! What I’ve learned is that often people will have out of network mental health benefits, but they are not very well-advertised. It’s worth calling up your insurance company and asking. There are dozens and dozens of insurance companies out there, and their main motivation is to not pay for things – to make money off of you and deny you coverage. There are ways to work around them so that psychotherapy might still be within your reach. I think it’s a shame that these practices have influenced how people seek mental health treatment. I like being with an organization like Freed Bodyworks that tries to remain fairly accessible to a lot of different folks in different ways.
What's a misconception about psychotherapy that you want to clear up?
There is a couch in my office, but you don’t have to lie down. You can sit upright. That’s the big one. I think there is another misconception that it lasts forever. It doesn’t have to be an endless process. I don’t keep people past the time they are getting a benefit out of therapy. I’ve had plenty of people graduate!
What’s your preferred superpower?
Finding missing items and being able to match them up to their owners.
What was your first concert?
INXS. I won tickets by obsessively calling a radio station. I was dedicated.
What’s something that might surprise people to learn about you?
Right now I’m taking an improv class, which is fantastic and I love it. One of the things that I really like about it is that you don’t know from moment to moment what creative nugget or what creative impulse is going to come out of it.
What’s your patronus?
Lately I’ve developed a fondness for manatees. I feel like they are the most body-positive animals.
If you had a bumper sticker for your life, what would it say?
No one can tell you your own truth. It’s a little on the heavy side for a bumper sticker, but it goes along with how I - and other people that I know - have come to a more peaceful and accepting place of ourselves.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Facing your life and yourself can be very scary, but it can be less scary with the help of a therapist. Therapy is not easy. Sometimes it feels worse before it gets better. But I feel so privileged to walk with people during that period of self-discovery. If we can name our fears and call them out when we come up against them in the future, it won’t seem nearly as big or insurmountable.