This month, in honor of National Women's Month, we're featuring incredible women from our community who are making a positive impact in their work and daily lives. Follow along on The Love Club with topic Women's Month.
Jessica Rossi is 27 years old and originally from the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. She has been living in Denver, Colorado the last 3 ½ years with her fiance and my 2-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Blake. She currently works at a community mental health center as an Adult Outpatient Clinician. At the center, she work with a caseload ranging from 80-90 individuals with a variety of mental health diagnoses, facilitates 2 psychoeducation groups on interpersonal skill development and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the BIPOC Steering Committees, and is a member of the Speakers Bureau.
How did you decide to become a mental health therapist?
The decision to become a therapist was driven by the opportunity to learn from people, how they grow and work past difficult situations and what influences the decisions that shape their lives. I have always been drawn to and recharge myself by learning from and working with other people. My biggest values have always been connecting with people, learning, and helping others. Becoming a therapist meant that I would have the opportunity to connect with people to work with them through some of their highest highs and their lowest lows. Therapy allows me to not only teach others skills but to learn from the people I work with as well.
What do you love the most about what you do?
I love getting the opportunity to meet a variety of different people and to also help them recognize and/or build on characteristics they possess. Whether it is watching someone grow from trauma or applying a skill to communicate more effectively with the people in their life, I love sharing journeys with clients and witnessing what humans are capable of including the most incredible demonstrations of resilience.
What is something you’ve learned from being a mental health therapist?
Something I have learned from being a therapist is that each person has different needs and it takes time to build a relationship with individuals to understand what these different needs look like. One size does not fit all for therapy, people present with preferences regarding how they receive feedback, observations, and encouragement. I have learned to take my time and prioritize building relationships with others to better support and work with them on their journeys in the ways that are most helpful to them.
What’s one piece of advice you live by?
“Leave people better than you found them” and “you never lose you either win or you learn.” These are two pieces of advice that I live by. We have the opportunity to impact each person we come in contact with and it's our choice to leave a positive or a negative impact. My intention as a therapist and as a partner, friend, daughter, sister, etc. is to leave each person I engage with a little better off, whether that's through taking a few minutes to check in with someone, telling someone a joke, complimenting someone, etc. It reminds me that we hold value and the ability to change or impact a life. The second piece of advice has been the most helpful for me in challenging situations or when things have not necessarily gone my way. I do not like to see any time spent or experience engaged in as waste or that I “failed.” I process these situations by looking at what I gained from them or what I learned about myself or others through them.
What’s a book or podcast that everyone should read or listen to?
Aside from being a true-crime podcast fan, a favorite podcast of mine is We Can Do Hard Things with author Glennon Doyle. This podcast focuses on a mantra Glennon says saved her life years ago: “we can do hard things.” The podcast is a safe space to hear stories from people that experience and live through hard things and the truth about their experiences and how they worked and grew through them. The topics vary, including setting boundaries, infertility, eating disorders, connecting through friendships, forgiving and finding peace, and more. This podcast is another opportunity to see how resilient people are.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by taking breaks, days off, and improving my self-talk when I take these necessary breaks. It can be easy to overcommit myself to work and prioritize my physical and mental health. Scheduling ahead to give myself days off to rest or take a vacation is very important. As a mental health provider, burnout is so common, and taking time off and breaks helps to prevent burnout. I commit to reinvesting into myself, which allows me to create an attainable rhythm and balance in my life that does not get me to the point where I feel like I am pouring from an empty pitcher.
What is one self-care practice that is non-negotiable for you?
The Peloton App has been a non-negotiable for me especially during the pandemic and working from home. I make it a point to get in movement or mindfulness exercises daily, whether I do a ride, a stretch, or a meditation class. After a long day of clients and meetings, or after a particularly tough session, I do a breathing exercise, go for a guided walk with my dog, lift weights, or do a ride. As humans, we tend to take on stress or trauma from others, and it can be transferred to us physically. Unwinding and releasing physical energy is so important for me and something I do not sacrifice so that I do not go about my days carrying what is discussed in my sessions or my work.
What do you love about yourself the most?
I love my sense of humor and happy personality! I am the coworker sending dad jokes in our team chats or sending gifs to celebrate Friday. I try not to take things too seriously (unless necessary) and would prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride when I can.
Who are some inspirational women in your life and why?
My mom is one of my biggest inspirations. She served in the Army for 32 years and was one of the first female Asian-Pacific Islander command sergeant majors. My mom is the epitome of hard work and dedication and a great example of what it looks like to break barriers and trail-blaze. My mom has inspired me to recognize that I always have a seat at any table if I apply myself and put the work in to get there. Another inspiration is my mother-in-law. She has spent her entire career in the tech field and shared with me stories about ways she has consistently set boundaries and advocated for herself and her work in a historically male-dominated field. My mother-in-law also sacrificed moments in her career to raise my fiance and his sister, as my father-in-law is a college basketball coach, a profession that often requires a lot of moving and uncertainty. My mother-in-law has been an example of how to embrace sacrifice and challenges and that it is possible to be a supportive partner while also working towards your career and personal goals.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
Women need to lift each other up! It has been researched and suggested that women with successful and supportive women in their friend circles tend to be more successful themselves. When it comes to education, the workplace, hormones, and more, women often engage in similar experiences and challenges. It is comforting to have people that can empathize with and encourage you because they’ve lived through these issues and experiences. For so long, women have been compared to one another and encouraged to compete with each other.
The “shine theory” is something that I’ve learned to incorporate into my relationships and work. It ultimately means “I don’t shine if you don’t shine." The shine theory resembles a mutual investment with another person. The shine theory is what lifting other women up means to me, I empower and encourage other women through collaboration and support and surround myself with women who have characteristics or opportunities I would like to develop. Lifting each other up means empowering, teaching, and learning from one another. For us to continue to progress and lead, women need to continue to lift each other up, learn from one another, and support one another.
Want to connect with Jessica? Find out more below 👇
Follow her on The Love Club: @Jessica Rossi
Follow her on Instagram: @j.kaiulani