This month for our Clinician Spotlight we spoke with Vincent Terreri, who brings a powerful background of diverse life experiences, providing a wonderfully unique and informed clinical approach to Alpha Omega Clinic.
Vincent is one of our clinicians at our Fairfax office and enjoys working with children and families. It was such a delight to interview him and we’d like to share our experience to help you get to know him better!
Background & Education
Vincent was born in Santa Anna, California and described himself as an outgoing child, careful to learn from his siblings and their experiences to help him on his path. As he entered into adulthood, he embarked on a journey to find a way to honor and express his creativity and natural gift for helping others. He spent time at a monastery, traveled, went to college at Thomas Aquinas College, met his wife and got married, entered the workforce and discovered a love for teaching. Regardless of what environment he found himself in, he was always interested in helping others by coming alongside them in their challenges. When asked what drew him to this way of being with others (which would ultimately lead him to the field of therapy), he remarked, “Ever since I was young I would meet people and they would just pour their hearts out to me, it’s just a gift I’ve had always”. While interviewing Vincent, it was easy to see why people have been drawn to him; he has a warm, jovial, and engaging presence. Naturally, this made him a great candidate for the various counseling or mentoring roles he found himself in throughout his life. Vincent describes his time as an educator as one of the most enriching of these opportunities; often letting his creativity shine to help his students improve their academic, relational, and emotional well-being (sometimes much to the relief and surprise of their parents!).
While going through these various life experiences, Vincent went through his own journey of personal transformation and healing. He noted how important this was for his future work with clients saying, “One of the things that got me into counseling is this kind of transformation that I saw in myself which helped me understand what people go through, making empathy come easy”. This inspired him to pursue a degree in Counseling so he could build on his natural gifts with “a skilled technique to really meet people’s needs”.
As Vincent went through his Master’s in Counseling program at Divine Mercy University, he discovered a passion for safely connecting with clients to truly help them be seen and heard. He recalled his internship with Children’s Regional Crisis Response Team as a crucial step in learning to truly be with clients in their pain. This experience helped Vincent develop the courage to lean into a client’s experience and give them the space to explore what previously felt scary and hopeless for them. Holding hope for clients while they make sense of their experiences would become a central aspect of Vincent’s therapy. This was felt so powerfully as he exclaimed, “Don’t allow anyone to tell you there’s no hope, that’s just nonsense”.
Vincent would go on to become a certified Clinical Traumatologist from the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology. While working on his certification, he spent time in Romania honing his skills, continuing to learn about and honor the powerful experiences that shape us as humans.
Client Centered & Collaborative Therapy
“In the therapy room, I always just try to honor the heck out of the client. Whatever experience they’ve had is the most important thing we have to look at”.
We asked Vincent a series of questions to really capture what it’s like to work with him and to help potential clients orient themselves to the process of therapy. What emerged from his answers was a client-centered and collaborative approach, infused with wisdom from the mystical tradition of the Catholic Church.
Vincent offered a simple yet powerful statement that he wished clients knew when coming to therapy, stating, “It’s ok to feel”. He quickly followed up by explaining that part of the process of change often involves reconnecting with our natural inclination to seek God and rest in Him. He said, “There’s something inside us that can really understand and see God. There’s something inside us that has a direct connection with the Divine Mind and a receptivity to grace. It starts with being ordered to, tending toward, or desiring a change”. This explanation fits very well with one of Vincent’s central beliefs, “I believe anybody can get well if they have just an openness to learn something new”.
As we discussed what may be helpful for someone considering therapy, Vincent leaned into one of his specialties (working with parents and children) and said, “For parents with kids that are struggling, the most efficient way to actually see changes is to be willing to change the structure of the family without living in the shame or guilt of feeling like you’ve failed”. This rings true for any potential client; having the courage to come to therapy or ask for help is a strength, not a weakness. Being human is messy and we’ve all struggled at some point in our lives. Vincent reiterated his hopeful stance, saying, “There’s no family that cannot find wholeness and healing. If you’re willing to work, you can find healing”.
Throughout the interview, Vincent offered words of encouragement in support of this hopeful stance. One such moment was when he stated, “Our hope for freedom is in becoming like Christ”. He explained that as we strip away the layers that have hardened our hearts, we become more free and less tied to our old way of being; refiltering our experience and seeing things more clearly. He then added, “Healthy therapy is about helping us put the right filter on, increasing self awareness and letting oneself be open to change through the grace of God”.
Vincent also offered some great practical advice for anyone considering therapy. First off, he suggested attending sessions for a minimum of six weeks to really be able to allow the process of change to start. He also said it’s important to attend sessions consistently, especially when working together as a family. Secondly, he stressed his client-focused approach, discussing how the client is in charge and his goal is to empower them. He applied this to treatment itself saying, “Be a healthy consumer of mental health services. If a therapist isn’t meeting your needs, empower yourself to tell them that”. As therapists, we welcome your feedback as an important part of ensuring effective treatment; we won’t take it personally, we’re here for you!
Vincent finished the interview by bravely diving into how therapy changes us as therapists, saying, “A healthy therapeutic alliance makes both of us better”. While the purpose of therapy is to improve the wellbeing of our clients, it also has a profound impact on us. Our shared humanity allows us to see things in ourselves through our work with clients. This is not a foreign concept to us; we know that we share a strong bond with one another through the Body of Christ. Through this bond, we work and grow together to become united with Christ. This is similar to the self-of-the-therapist work that we must do in order to truly be with our clients. In many ways, therapy is a way of life. Having the honor and privilege of walking with others is transformative for us as well. We are truly in the trenches with you and it helps us expand our humanity and become more fully alive.
Learn More or Make an Appointment
Vincent is currently excepting new clients, with a special focus on children and families, via Telehealth and in our Fairfax office. Learn more about him here and contact Alpha Omega Clinic if you are interested in making an appointment!