Staff Spotlight, Brandy Gillihan
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Brandy Gillihan, MA, LMHC. I am a Program Coordinator for the adult standard AM program and a Clinical Manager at the South Sound location in Lacey, WA. I’ve been at The Emily Program since July of 2015; it’ll be five years this July.
What is a typical workday like?
My typical workday is spent doing a number of different tasks; it’s never boring! On a typical day, for example, folks can find me providing orientation to new clients, supporting clients in therapeutic meals, running a skills or self-monitoring group, facilitating the ASAM treatment team meeting, and meeting with/providing support to staff members.
What is your approach to therapy?
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is my primary lens. This means increasing clients’ ability to pursue a life full of meaning, driven by values even in the face of painful thoughts, feelings, sensations, and urges. In essence, this work involves helping clients manage their painful inner experiences so that they have less impact and influence on behavior, or the way folks show up in the world. This way clients are more fully able to pursue what matters most to them.
What do you like most about your job?
Hands down, the impact treatment has on clients’ lives. I love watching clients unhook from eating disorder-related thoughts and move toward what they most value in their lives. It is very moving to see clients reinhabit/reclaim their bodies with self-compassion.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I love reading. Currently, I’m re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and am just as upset as I was the first time when reading about Professor Umbridge!