Spokane LCSNW Mental Health Clinician savors ‘aha moments’ for child and family clients
While the pandemic affected every corner of our lives, few professions were impacted more than mental health practitioners. During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we talked with Kendall Watson, a Clinician with LCSNW in Spokane. She specializes in Sexual Assault and Family Trauma.
Kendall joined LCSNW as an intern in 2020 and stayed on after graduate school in 2022. It was a tough time to be starting out. “Going to online appointments and wearing masks made it more difficult to engage with our clients,” she said. “I had to get really good at reading emotions from just the eyes, picking up things like the tone of their voice and other clues.”
Self-care was never more important than during the pandemic. “Without it, clinicians can burn out quickly,” she said. For her downtime, Kendall pursues hobbies and passions that fill her up including playing piano, walking the dog, going for hikes and spending time with family and friends. She said it’s also important to build a strong community with other counselors and she always leaves her door open when she’s not with clients and encourages colleagues to stop by. “We can gain perspective talking with our peers about the struggles of this work and the victories our clients achieve,” she said.
To help people in our lives who might be struggling with mental health concerns, the single best thing we can do is listen and be open. “Someone might want help with problem solving, but most of the time listening fully, being there for them and encouraging them, is the single best thing someone can do. It’s meeting them where they are at, one human being to another,” she said.
In a stressful profession, Kendall wonders at times if she’s making a difference. Her most satisfying moments are likely to come when she’s working with parents and children. “I love it when a client has an ‘aha’ moment or when a family communicates better and listens to each other. These can be very rewarding,” she said.
For those who care about the condition of the mental health system, Kendall encourages getting involved with an organization. “Become a crisis line volunteer, spend time at a women’s center, get involved in funding issues,” she said. “Mental health is so misunderstood. As a result, it is extremely underfunded, creating a shortage of professionals to meet the community’s needs.”
And while it may sound simple, she said everyone can practice one simple thing: Be kind to others. “You really don’t know what they are going through and the kindness of a stranger can mean the world to someone.”