Past relationships inform present ones, Andra Brosh maintains, and we couldn’t agree more. Brosh, who specializes in divorce and separation adjustment as a Topic Expert for GoodTherapy.org, has been sharing her wisdom with readers of The Good Therapy Blog for nearly a year—wisdom rooted in her own emotionally challenging but ultimately empowering experiences. (More on that shortly.)
Since her first GoodTherapy.org article was published in September 2012, Andra has penned pieces which focus on recovery from infidelity, tips for co-parenting with someone you can’t stand, and the importance of forgiveness in the aftermath of divorce, among others. She is the ninth blog contributor to appear in our “Meet the Topic Experts” column, where we shine a spotlight on mental health professionals who lend their insight to GoodTherapy.org on a regular basis.
Andra found time in her busy schedule—she maintains offices in Los Angeles and Venice, California—to address 10 questions we sent her way:
1. What called you to psychotherapy?
My career as a psychologist came later in life. After my two children started elementary school, I found myself lost and needing a sense of purpose in my life. My therapist at the time recommended going back to school to become a mental health provider, and I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the field. I have always been a philosopher at heart, so the uncertainty and not having all the answers comes naturally to me.
2. Why did you choose to specialize in divorce/divorce adjustment?
My interest started as a fluke when a friend included me in some groups she was starting to help people transition through separation and divorce. Shortly after that, my husband of 20 years announced he didn’t want to be married anymore. I was devastated, but I did the work I needed to do to pick up the pieces of my life. Since then I took it on as my calling to help others do the same. Divorce can be a hugely transformative experience and an opportunity to rediscover life and oneself. I want to be sure everyone has the opportunity to get to the other side in the best way possible.
3. Given the option of adding a second specialty, what would it be? Why?
I think I would add sex therapy, as I see so many couples who aren’t having enough sex to sustain the relationship. I work with underlying issues, but I would benefit from adding a few tools to my toolbox in this area.
4. What’s the best thing about being a therapist?
Inspiring others and sharing my wisdom. I love offering solutions and seeing the “a-ha!” on people’s faces when they learn something new. I also love hearing their stories and piecing their lives together to create something meaningful and fulfilling.
5. How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance? Any hobbies of note?
This has never been a problem. I exercise, travel, garden, and get massages regularly. I do all the things that I enjoy on a regular basis. I’m also into photography and love to photograph people.
6. Does working with people who are experiencing deep emotional pain, loss, and personal uncertainty ever get you down? How do you keep a positive frame of mind?
I’m pretty good at not letting this get to me. I have a high tolerance for pain in general, so I can get through quite a bit without being too affected. I am constantly reading inspirational books and lead a spiritual life, so this allows me to maintain a good balance and keeps my spirit lifted.
7. What would you be if not a psychotherapist?
I would be a full-time writer. I’m working on a book now, but I would also like to write a cookbook.
8. Stigma remains a serious issue in your field. What is the biggest myth regarding therapy or therapists?
That therapy is for weak people who can’t solve their own problems, and that therapists have all the answers.
9. What, in your opinion, are the biggest reasons the divorce rate is so high—about one in two marriages fail—in the United States?
I think it has to do with people marrying for the wrong reasons (or marrying the wrong person) from the beginning. Couples also wait way too long to get therapeutic support when issues arise. It’s often too late by the time they address things.
10. What would you say to someone considering your services who isn’t quite sure therapy can help?
It’s normal to be hesitant about starting therapy—particularly if you aren’t used to being vulnerable and sharing feelings. Therapy changes lives under the right circumstances, so it’s worth exploring.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Andra Brosh, PhD, BCHN, therapist in Pasadena, California