This month for our Clinician Spotlight we spoke with Rebecca Baker, LCSW, who brings a lifelong passion for serving and empowering others to Alpha Omega Clinic.
Rebecca is one of our clinicians at our Ellicott City office and enjoys working with children, adults, and families. It was a pleasure to interview her as she so powerfully embodies what it means to be a social worker. Her deep passion for coming alongside others in their suffering shined through every part of our conversation.
Background & Education
Rebecca’s caring heart was nurtured by the witness of several family members who demonstrated and modeled what it means to serve others. This generational inheritance was part of the very fabric of her family. Her grandmother was a community organizer who helped start Meals on Wheels in Maryland and her family fostered children throughout her upbringing. When reflecting on this, she said, “I got to see what a difference having stability, love, and basic needs met can make. I also learned what people are up against when this isn’t their experience”. This experience would develop into a laser focus when it came to pursuing a career, materializing into a degree in Social Work from Eastern University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland.
Rebecca has a wealth of experience working with a diverse population of clients. She started her career working for Catholic Charities at a school-based mental health program in inner city Baltimore and an outpatient facility. During her time there, she worked with clients across the lifespan (childhood through adulthood), with a special focus on students and families in the school setting and adults at the outpatient program. A major theme from her work at Catholic Charities is the importance of making room for a client’s human experience. When referencing this she said, “People’s experiences shape their life, in some really great ways and some really hard ways. That impact is there, even if we’re not talking about it directly”. Understanding these experiences would become central to her work with clients. She spent several years in these roles and eventually pursued certification to become a supervisor before COVID hit and changed the trajectory of her career. It was at this time that she took a leap of faith and joined Alpha Omega, which she says was worth it despite the difficulty of leaving her clinical home at Catholic Charities.
A Truly Empowering and Collaborative Approach
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to act justly, and to love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
Rebecca truly lives what it means to be a social worker. I found her presence to be so kind, caring, and compassionate; modeled after THE social worker, Christ Himself. Given the generational inheritance she received from her family, it’s no surprise. This was driven home when she shared her family’s unofficial motto, “If we have more room, who can we off that to?”. She has taken this motto and incorporated it into her clinical work by offering what privilege or emotional room she has in herself to bring a little more openness and healing to others. Being with people, serving them, and meeting them in some really hard places seems so natural for her. This showed up during our interview in the way that she talked about her clients; always so respectful and gracious when describing the honor of being their therapist. She also stressed the importance of deepening her own resources and healing to be able to provide more to her clients. It was so inspiring to see how much she cares about being the best she can be, all for the purpose of giving more to others.
Rebecca’s approach to therapy is empowering, client-centered, and collaborative. I really loved the way she described her process for working with clients, saying, “I tell my clients during the first session that this is collaborative; you’re coming with a certain set of knowledge and skills, I’m coming with a certain set of knowledge and skills and together, we’re going to figure out where we want to focus and move. I also let them know that they can question that along the way and I’ll even ask them how it’s going for them”. She also works hard to capture a client’s experience without focusing on labels. When asked to expand on this, she said, “The name for something can give us direction but really, we’re looking at what is getting in the way of your life, what is holding you back, and how do you want to grow? This is more important than what criteria you meet”. Ultimately, her goal is to support and equip clients with what they need to live a full life outside the therapy room. She has a role to play in someone’s life and wants to make it count. She shared that this is something her grandmother taught her, further illustrating how impactful her family has been to her development as a therapist.
“My clients are the bravest people. To see them take risk and with great courage, lean into the process. To see them laugh with me, cry with me, and open themselves up to going through some of the hardest parts of their life.”
The Beauty and Power of Incorporating Faith in the Therapy Room
One of the things that drew Rebecca to Alpha Omega is the ability to more directly weave together the Catholic faith and therapy. Reflecting on this, she said, “It’s so transformative to incorporate the faith into therapy. We’re talking about worth, meaning, belonging, identity and tying that to how our faith is deeply part of all of those things”. As therapists, it’s so hard to capture the great honor and privilege we have of witnessing the Holy Spirit bring healing to our clients. God is always present in the therapy room; no healing takes place apart from His loving care. To be able to participate in this process leaves us in awe. As we discussed this, Rebecca described this wonderfully saying, “By going through their pain, which understandably they have cut themselves off from for so long, to then open up and become accessible to the joy and beauty and life that’s there for them is so beautiful. It’s no surprise because that’s not me, it’s God, but being able to go to those places with people is amazing. As a person, I feel really alive in these deep places with people”. Our humanity sees the humanity in our clients and has a profound impact on us, often inspiring us to be more fully alive as well!
Helpful Information About Therapy
During our interview, Rebecca was able to provide some great insights and perspective on the process of therapy. I found this helpful to break down the barriers around therapy. We all need support and places where it feels safe to explore, express, and process our human experience. Therapy is one of those places that is intentionally focused on providing a space for this. It is really more of a concentrated place for the work clients are already doing in their own lives. We all have stuff, work to do, and areas to grow in; therapists included! Understanding this helps us lead the way for our clients with a gentleness and confidence. Rebecca captured this saying, “Therapy is a brave thing to do. I won’t ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. It’s not that I’ve been through everything that my clients have but I’m comfortable going wherever we need to go for their healing”.
For anyone considering therapy, Rebecca offered these words of advice, “I encourage and empower you to be curious, take a risk, and ask questions. Focus on finding a good fit for your therapist; feel free to try a few to find the person who works the best for you. There’s so much variety in approach and personality that it’s important to find someone you can really connect with. I tell my clients that I want this to be a good thing for them and if something I’m doing is getting in the way of that, I want to know about it and I won’t take that personally. Even if that means I’m not the right fit, I’ll help you find someone who might be”.
Rebecca’s passion for helping others has driven her to continue growing her skills. Currently, she’s training in Emotionally Focused Therapy. She has found this model to expand on and support what she already knows: “My intuition has been built through my experience and learning EFT is cementing and consolidating what I’ve learned, really giving me a process and direction to channel what I know”. She’s not alone in this pursuit as many of our clinicians have fallen in love with this model of therapy, seeing the powerful way it captures and makes sense of our humanity.
As we were finishing the interview, Rebecca and I shared a belief we have about therapy: doing the tough work to heal not only helps us feel more whole, it can change the world. Leaning into her family’s motto, she said, “If we all lent some of the room that we have to others, we’re going to lean towards a better life, better community, and better society”.
Learn More or Make an Appointment
Rebecca is currently accepting new clients via Telehealth and in-person at our Ellicott City office. Learn more about her here and contact Alpha Omega Clinic if you are interested in making an appointment!