Those who know me now are often surprised to learn that I started my undergraduate career at Northwestern as a theatre major. Honestly, it sometimes still surprises my adult self!
As an introvert, it became clear theatre was not the career path for me. But I recognized that what had drawn me in was what attracts most actors – unpacking people’s internal motivations and internal worlds.
At that point, I switched majors, but I still wasn’t sure what was next. I began working as a research assistant in a therapy lab. I was asked to “code” videos of couples talking. This meant listening to one sentence at a time, pausing the video, and spending a few minutes consulting with another research assistant. Others didn’t seem to mind this job, but to me, it was frustrating – I just wanted to sit and listen to their conversations! I wondered, could there be anything more interesting?
I was slowly picking up clues about what kind of work I wanted to do.
When I found my way to Marriage & Family Therapy, I finally found my professional home. It’s a confusing name, because MFTs actually work a lot with individuals, not only couples and families. What makes an MFT unique is that we learn to look at people through the larger contexts of their lives, rather than through diagnostic labels.
For women, this often means finding a way to stop pointing the finger at ourselves for not being enough, and instead figure out what to do about the fact that we live in a culture that expects us to do All The Things (Perfectly).
Of course, MFTs, myself included, also work with couples and families, because no one can drive us as crazy as the people we love the most! Getting married and starting a family has only strengthened my work; I may have had the “book knowledge” before, but now I have exponentially more empathy. I get how hard it all is! I’m not above the struggles my clients go through.
I am so grateful to have found a career that allows me the joy and privilege of having meaningful conversations with others and exploring how relationships impact our lives and happiness. I get the chance to be the trusted person who can support my clients in slowing down to sort through feelings, priorities, and choices. Above all, I get to hold the truth of their inherent worth (even when they feel like they are messing up).
Rebecca Freking, IMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. She received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She has spent the past decade working with clients of all ages in the Philadelphia area and is excited to have recently returned home to Cincinnati, where she grew up, to be closer to family as she raises her two daughters with her husband. Rebecca works with individuals, couples, and families, but always brings a systemic lens to her work – meaning even if you see her individually, she’ll be thinking about the whole context of your life rather than thinking of you as a label or diagnosis.
Rebecca specializes in helping clients with relationship issues, which includes couples counseling, family/parenting support, and assisting clients of all ages to develop healthy relationships with themselves and others. She also works often with clients experiencing anxiety, depression and difficulty with life transitions and changes.
- ...that you have worth and value no matter what you do or don’t achieve.
- …that you deserve a relationship where you are respected and cherished.
- …that introverts are underrated.
- …that problems are less overwhelming when we name them out loud.
- …that emotions aren’t facts, but they’re great data about what’s working and what’s not.
- …that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish (and usually ends up being a gift to those around you).
- …that women would rule the world if half our mental space wasn’t dominated by dieting.
- …that parenthood is a blessing…and also sometimes really miserable and hard.
- …that everyone should be allotted one “picture perfect” Instagram photo a year, but the rest of the year have to share only real life!
- …that it’s okay to change your mind.
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