Acacia Spotlight looks to highlight the clinicians, staff, and programs that make Acacia what it is today. March’s clinician is Abby Hansen, LPCC.
This down-to-earth Minneapolis native planted her roots at Acacia in May of 2019. Her mindful approach to life & therapy encourages clients to slow down & appreciate the beauty all around.
What do you enjoy most about being a clinician?
Abby: My specialty is sex and sexuality, and one of my favorite things is talking to folks about unlearning shame related to who they are and/or what they are into! In general, seeing transformation and being with someone on their journey of growth and self discovery fills my cup. Also, I enjoy making references to nature as a teacher. I warn all of my clients I’m a bit of a hippie who will likely talk about trees, rocks, or other earthly things and the ways we can take a lesson from them in slowing down.
What really happens in therapy?
Abby: I think sometimes there’s a misconception that therapy is either similar to Freud’s time (client lying on a couch and the therapist smoking a pipe while telling them how their nail biting is related to an oral fixation), or that it’s really, really structured.
I typically follow the client and allow them to steer the conversation while reflecting back things I hear or challenging negative/shame based cognitions. There’s room to laugh and joke, and lots of room for tears, anger, and getting into the deep stuff. I think people also have a perception that as a Sex Therapist I’m always talking about sex/sexuality in sessions. This isn’t true! I do talk about sex, but it isn’t always the main focus. We wander into many areas.
Seeing transformation and being with someone on their journey of growth and self discovery fills my cup.
Have there been moments in your life that remind you to check in with yourself or to check on your friends?
Abby: Of course!! Being a human is hard work!! I know I’m ready for a good night of self care or being around my friends when I consistently don’t want to do anything after work. My energy level is my barometer for how I’m doing physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Who was the most influential person in your life and why?
Abby: Like the seasons, this changes based on where I am in life. Throughout my life, I’ve been influenced by family, friends, therapists, nature, and so on. Someone who I’ve continued to come back in the past few years is the author/poet Mary Oliver. I love her poems about nature, shocker, and the lessons she shares about slowing down and enjoying the yummy, small moments. A few of my favorite poems by her are: Wild Geese, When I am Among the Trees, and White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field.
I’m a bit of a hippie who will likely talk about trees, rocks, or other earthly things and the ways we can take a lesson from them in slowing down.
What are your interests outside of therapy?
Abby: I love to sew, be creative, spend time with my family and friends, and play with my corgi Peaches (who makes an appearance at the office from time to time). I enjoy noticing the seasonal changes as well as the moon cycles and spending time hiking/getting into nature when I can (even when it’s super cold!).
Abby’s warmth & openness inspire clients (and all of us at Acacia!) to embrace the true self & love it radically. Her passion for the power of inner strength & its ability to transform are invigorating, and we’re so glad to have her on our team!
Stay tuned for more Acacia Clinician Spotlights! And check out Abby’s bio on the Minneapolis page!
Authored (a lot) by Abby Hansen and (a little) by Danielle Sharkey.