Each month on the Alpha Omega Clinic blog, we will feature one of our clinicians for a “Clinician Spotlight”. We will take a look at their unique perspectives on faith and psychotherapy, and the passion that they bring to their work and clients.
This month we interviewed Marianna Taylor, LCSW-C, who works with clients out of our Ellicott City office in Maryland. Read on to learn more about Marianna and her work at Alpha Omega Clinic!
Background and Education
Marianna has always had a heart for children. She originally worked as a teacher at the elementary school level before she was inspired to pursue social work by the different social issues she saw with her students. She graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University in 2001, and after finishing her Master’s degree, Marianna began her work with children in juvenile detention centers. She found she had a strong passion for medical social work and developed a support services department at a MD Anderson-affiliated cancer center. There, she ran many different programs including caregiving support groups, camps for children who have lost a parent, short-term grief groups, and support groups for breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia and lymphoma.
While she worked with Infant Mental Health, Marianna focused on parent/child dyads- specifically families that were working to increase their ability to meet their children’s emotional and mental needs. She also completed an Externship at Building Families for Children where she supported families in therapeutic foster care.
Current Work with Alpha Omega Clinic
Marianna’s early experiences all led her to her current path: counseling individuals and focusing on helping children in an outpatient setting. She now works with clients at Alpha Omega Clinic on issues such as loss and grief, complex attachment and relationship trauma, oppositional defiant disorder, pornography issues with youth, and much more. As a military wife herself, she also has a vested interest in helping children and families with reintegration issues after deployments. Marianna works with couples as well, using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).
Marianna’s specializations include three treatment orientations- The Nurtured Heart Approach, Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).
Nurtured Heart Approach
The Nurtured Heart Approach is a method that helps treat children with intense behaviors. This model focuses on helping parents learn how to build the “Inner Wealth” of their child. It is a non-traditional model that seeks to shift the focus in the parents and child to greatness, where small moments towards success are honored as “molecule to miracle moments”.
According to Marianna Taylor, the approach “speaks to who the child is as God created them”. The Nurtured Heart Approach does not seek to remove the intensity from the child, but rather “honors who the child was created to be with all that intensity and greatness” with strategies to help facilitate healthy attachment and build better relationships.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention is focused on addressing the needs of children through the lens of understanding trauma and attachment. Marianna was trained in this model to help families in therapeutic foster care meet the attachment needs of the child being fostered, where the goal was to increase the connection between the child and family. Marianna’s work with this method empowered these families with strategies to decrease the chance that the child would be moved to another home.
Both approaches aim to establish a better connection with the child and help Marianna serve her clients and bring about healing in their lives and relationships. It is interesting that Marianna did not initially set out to specialize her therapy practice in children, but ultimately found that it was a natural fit as parents routinely came to her for guidance and help in the area. As she puts it, the specialization “found her” rather than the other way around. Marianna is dedicated to helping families better connect and resolve emotional stress between parents and their children — stress that if left unaddressed, will carry on later into their adulthood.
Marianna is also working with couples using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). She has completed the EFT Externship and is currently participating in Core Skills- working towards certification using EFFT with families and EFIT with individuals. She is committed to growing in this method and working with couples and families to facilitate healing
Faith and Psychotherapy
When it comes to integrating faith into her psychotherapy work, Marianna begins by looking holistically at clients through a lens of Catholic anthropology. She seeks to create a safe space for clients to explore their emotions, behaviors, and issues, and honors the important spiritual component of each individual. When working with issues like a client’s harsh inner critic, low self-esteem, pornography, and other complex relationship situations, the client’s relationship with the Church and God as an attachment figure are explored. According to Marianna, clients can often see growth and healing in their own relationship with God when their woundedness is addressed in other relationships in the different areas of their life.
Marianna was very interested in adding a spiritual element to her work because there always seemed to be a piece missing while working in the secular world of psychotherapy. “It felt so hopeless, like there was this big hole that was always there that I couldn’t adequately dig into at all.” Marianna brings a unique perspective to her work in relation to faith partly because she is a convert to the Catholic Church. At the age of 15, Marianna experienced a dramatic conversion while she attended Steubenville South and was confirmed in the Church at 16 years old after going through RCIA by herself. She now incorporates her faith by first looking at her work through a Catholic lens. She uses evidence-based psychotherapy models with her clients and asks God where He wants her to be and how she can meet each client on their journey in a way that honors and glorifies Him. She often prays for guidance to help each of her clients in their woundedness. While she brings years of experience and a variety of effective techniques to her clients, Marianna seeks to move out of the way as she sees the Lord as the ultimate healer in the process.
Fun Facts About Marianna
Not surprisingly, Marianna loves working with children outside of work too! She is a Level 1 Catechist for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd- a Montessori-based religious education experience for kids ages 3 through 12 that focuses predominantly on contemplation and a child’s relationship with God. She has five children of her own as well. Marianna is also on the Ablaze Family Ministries Content Advisory Team, which is a Catholic not-for-profit that strives to help families encounter the love of God and grow in relationship with Him, to then lead others to experience his life-changing love too.
Learn More or Make An Appointment
Marianna is currently accepting new clients over telehealth and in our Ellicott City office. Learn more about her here and contact Alpha Omega Clinic if you are interested in making an appointment!