"What Would Dr. Meyers do?" Podcast LAUNCH NOVEMBER 8, 2022: Who is Dr. Meyers and why should I care what she would do?
Ok, so I wondered if it was a little grandiose to title my podcast “What Would Dr. Meyers Do?” (WWDMD). After all, who is Dr. Meyers and who cares what she would do? It sounds like a repeat of “What Would Jesus Do?” But if you know me, you will know that I don’t have a grandiose bone in my body, so I’m comforted by the irony of the title in some way. The title was given to me by a former Social Work student, Tracey Clingo. We were in class talking about clinical issues and how to engage with clients, and she was beginning an internship, feeling quite unready. After receiving what she felt was helpful guidance, she stated that she wished she could pull me out of her pocket at field internship when she needed some immediate advice and she joked “like What would Dr. Meyers Do?”. The whole class jumped on the bandwagon and started joking about a hotline to me. And that’s how my podcast was conceived. It may sound odd but producing and marketing a podcast takes risk and vulnerability. I’m exposing my perspective, views, knowledge, and expertise to the masses (I can only hope). But at the same time, with 30 years of clinical practice and 18 years of teaching under my belt, I think I am well positioned.
So let me tell you a bit about myself. After receiving my master’s in social work from CUNY Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work in 1993 I knew I wanted to be a clinician. I have always been fascinated with interpersonal dynamics and why people feel the way they do; do things the way they do; and act the way they do. I’ve always been insightful and innately aware of family systems and other influences on development, beginning with my own turbulent upbringing. I am very interested in how we develop into who we are, and how we repeat unsatisfying or hurtful relationships, often unconsciously. I find that the best way to shift how we feel, and our behavior is in understanding the route of those patterns of behavior. Coming from this perspective, I felt it necessary to go deeper with my training and I spent 10 years studying at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis. I was already engaged in my own therapy at the time and as part of this training, I was required to be in analysis for four years, three times a week. I came to understand my own intrapsychic processes, behaviors, and emotional life. Among many benefits, this allowed me empathy for the often emotionally painful process of therapy as well as an intellectual understanding of psychodynamics.
Another requirement of this training was to receive clinical supervision to process both the understanding of my clients’ dynamics as well as my own responses. Therapy is an intersubjective experience in which the therapist and the clinician are engaged with each other as well as their own emotional lives separate and apart from the dance of interaction. It takes continuous work for the therapist to understand her own reactions as being a manifestation of how the client relates in the outside world or a result of her own emotional experiences. Simultaneous to my training, I worked at an outpatient mental health clinic where I also developed professionally through my exposure to populations diverse in age, race, religion, diagnosis, ability, education, and socioeconomic status. There, I began to supervise other therapists, and opened my private practice. During these ten years I desired to experience some of the breadth of the field of social work and while building my private practice I worked in program development, the criminal and family justice system, and child welfare. As I began my exploration of teaching beyond the teaching implicit in a supervisory role, I decided to adjunct in social work education where I taught clinical courses. Never having had the desire to teach, I was surprised by my positive experience and the pride and joy in giving back to my community by sharing my knowledge. I decided to embark on a career in education as a supplement to my direct practice work, and I received my doctorate in 2010 from the CUNY Graduate Center at Hunter College.
As I stated, I have always been interested in family dynamics and I came to recognize the gap in literature around sibling relationships, particularly sibling abuse. Many of us wonder about the influence our parents/caregivers have had on our development, but we don’t seem to question that impact from siblings. I embarked on a qualitative study focused on the long-term impact of emotional and/or physical sibling abuse on the development of intimate relationships. While studying trauma theory, resiliency theory, family systems theory, and attachment theory, I interviewed survivors of sibling abuse to learn of their lived experiences. I have published several articles on this subject, making a significant contribution to the paucity of literature. Over the past 12 years, I have lectured nationally on this topic and have trained child welfare staff in the assessment and detection of sibling abuse. I remain committed to spreading awareness so that our communities are armed with the ability to assess and intervene.
I taught graduate students for 10 years and for the past 8 years have been teaching undergraduate social work students at Molloy University on Long Island. There are many facets to my work – of course, teaching in the classroom – as well as serving on school committees, publishing, advising the Social Work Student Association, and serving in my role as Director of Field Education. I love every aspect of it. I am also dedicated to promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and have partnered to work with school districts to transform curriculum and environments.
I’m a clinician who takes her work and experience into the classroom. I believe in promoting social justice and helping individuals be their best selves. The melding of these two careers is entirely satisfying. Who cares what Dr. Meyers would do? I hope you come along for the journey – through the podcast, blog, or therapy – and build your interest in WWDMD (What Would Dr. Meyers Do?).