Meet the Team at Connected Brain Counseling
Have you ever been curious to learn more about your therapist?
Why did they become a therapist? Who else do they work with? What was their upbringing like?
Connected Brain Counseling is bringing you a six part series of interviews to introduce you to our talented team of therapists to bring a new level of vulnerability and connection to your providers.
We are kicking the series off with a conversation with Sydney Focht, MA LPCC. She is Connected Brain Counseling's Lead Neurofeedback Clinician and a Licensed Clinical Counselor.
Sydney was the first team member to join Connected Brain Counseling alongside their owner,
Michela Parisi, as they expanded from a single owner/operator practice to a group practice. Sydney has been thriving in her role since day one and is such a valued member of our team.
Upon meeting Sydney, you will find a warm and engaging smile that exudes positive energy and acceptance. She is down to earth, relatable and skilled in her ability to balance professionalism and fun. Read up to learn more about Sydney!
Sydney, tell us about what drew you to working in mental health.
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Biology, I spent a handful of years feeling quite lost as I explored a variety of different fields. I worked in hospitals, restaurants, non-profits, and educational settings.
During this time, I mostly viewed the idea of a career as just a way to pay the bills, and if I liked certain aspects of it that would be a win. However, after receiving some meaningful feedback from a respected Supervisor at the time, I was challenged to consider what roles, moments, or interactions felt most energizing to me. I noticed myself always wanting to learn more and do more for the patients I would only get to spend brief amounts of time with, mostly in passing.
I soon realized that slowing down and establishing genuine and quality connections with others was the setting that felt most meaningful and rewarding to me. This simple but impactful insight is what motivated me to leave my home state to pursue a degree and career in mental health.
What is your favorite part about working in mental health?
Ohhh this really is a tough one, there are so many different answers that come to mind. Although, I think my favorite part is that “light bulb moment” I get to experience alongside clients.
This moment may come from an unexpected insight, finding the right word to describe an experience, or simply realizing that a feeling or a reaction you’ve been struggling with is totally NORMAL.
On top of that, I get to learn new things about people and myself every day. I have found it to be the most challenging and rewarding work I could ever hope for.
What do you struggle with the most with working in mental health?
As someone who cares deeply for their clients, how could I not ask myself “am I doing enough?”. I would love to always be able to “guarantee” my clients the results they’re after, but have learned that growth and healing don’t adhere to timelines that always feel ideal.
I have since come to see the value in setting aside expectations that might be limiting our capacity to explore. By focusing less of the attention on “solving or fixing”, I have found that expectations of outcomes and/or ourselves become less rigid which tends to bring relief in itself.
As a reminder for myself and others, there should be some level of discomfort and uncertainty in trusting the process. You are doing enough.
What drew you to getting trained in neurofeedback?
My interest in neurofeedback actually came from seeing the success my partner had through his own personal training. After watching my partner struggle with sleep issues for years, neurofeedback was the only modality that brought him sustained relief without the use of medication!
When I had the opportunity to become trained in offering this service, it was a no brainer. Yes, brain pun intended. Additionally, having a data driven and tangible tool to turn to to help clients feel relief from their symptoms feels very empowering from a holistic treatment perspective.
What type of client do you work best with?
I think the clients I work best with really boils down to a willingness and an openness to challenging themselves. The reasons I enjoy working with issues related to perfectionism, anxiety, depression, existential dread, or even grief/loss is because it requires a good amount of self-reflection.
My style of therapy doesn’t look like a “quick fix”. To use an analogy, I enjoy working with clients who are open to exploring the difference between taking ibuprofen for a headache versus treating the infection to avoid future recurring headaches.
Not to say there won’t be doses of ibuprofen along the way, but I do seek to help my clients achieve lasting change which requires time and an openness to “doing the work” outside of session.
Tell us a little more about yourself!
I enjoy seeing people’s reactions when I share about what it was like being raised on a farm in Nebraska where actually no farming whatsoever happened. I grew up with pet horses, pot-belly pigs, quails, ducks, and even a pet peacock! When people ask me about my 5-10 year plan, I can't help but hope raising my own tiny flock of chickens is a part of the picture.
A final note, joining the diverse, kind, and highly skilled team here at Connected Brain Counseling has been the most exciting step in my career thus far. In the next few years, I hope to obtain a Clinical Supervisor Certificate so I can more directly support and encourage new therapists to pursue their dream careers as well.
Are you interested in working with Sydney?
You can read Sydney's bio and book a free consultation to see her at Connected Brain Counseling's website here.