Featured PSI Member: Elizabeth Gillette, MSW, LCSW
Elizabeth Gillette, MSW, LCSW
PSI Volunteer: Coordinator (North Carolina Mountains Region / Asheville area)
Certificate from PSI in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Components of Care
Tell us a little about yourself outside of your work.
I live in Asheville, North Carolina with my partner and our fur babies, Maia and Mercutio. I love being outside, drinking tea, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, and spending time with my favorite people. I was born and raised in Michigan (I have lots of midwestern pride!) and have lived in Asheville for almost 9 years.
What sparked your interest in maternal mental health? Is there anything you’d like to share about your path?
I came to maternal mental health via birth and postpartum doula work. I trained as a birth doula my senior year of college after I heard about the role of doulas in birth through the work I was doing at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center on the University of Michigan campus. I quickly knew perinatal work was near and dear to my heart, so I took a postpartum doula training while I was in graduate school at the University of Washington for my Masters degree in Social Work. After I graduated, I continued doula work while I worked toward my full social work licensure at a community mental health agency. The agency began a perinatal mental health program which was very successful initially, but after some staff changes and turnover, the program was left without leadership. I requested to have the opportunity to reinvigorate the program and eventually became the supervisor to several staff who worked exclusively with folks in the perinatal period. It was heartening to see the response to the program and the number of people who utilized the services.
Tell us about your work.
I am now in private practice (my business is Heirloom Counseling) and I work primarily with individuals and couples doing attachment-focused therapy and education. Most of the folks I work with have young children and are interested in changing the family relational patterns that are passed down through their families. They are able to recognize that there are memories and interactions they want to provide to their own children, and that is difficult to do when you didn’t have it as a child. I utilize somatic attachment interventions to support my clients as they heal their early childhood wounds and develop skills for resilience and healing in the present. I work with all different family arrangements and my practice is sexuality and gender inclusive.
How has PSI membership been beneficial to you and your career?
I have loved being a part of an organization that is leading the movement toward more support for families in the perinatal and postpartum periods. We can’t stress enough how important it is for families to receive support, understanding, compassion, and excellent resources, and PSI is addressing these needs with an incredible amount of grace and presence. I have served as a North Carolina state volunteer Coordinator since 2015 as well, and having the opportunity to connect with folks across the state and provide resources has been such a privilege.
What do you think the PSI community might like to know about the therapy, workshops, and education your offer?
I have found that exploring the perinatal period utilizing an attachment framework has been powerful and moving for many people. We are all working toward experiencing more security in our relationships and I bring this intention to my work with individuals and couples (especially in the postpartum period as families are experiencing significant transition). As a clinician, I am only able to see so many clients a week, but I want folks to have access to education to support their healing in a way that is convenient for them. I have developed several online courses to support people in healing at their own pace, as well as worksheet bundles, meditations, and additional educational workshops. All of my resources can be found at www.heirloomcounseling.com, and I would love to hear from you if you have questions, comments, or feedback.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of an organization that is supporting families during this important phase of life. I love this work and feel honored to do it every day with a community of amazing people.