Katy Alaniz MA, LPC
- Instagram: @theweightytherapist
- Website: www.thewakefulstate.com
- Website: www.texomaspecialtycounseling.com
- What is your current position?
I have worked with eating disorders since 2015 (at all levels of care), and also spent 1.5 years at a non-profit recently, working with sexuality issues, first offenders, adolescents, self-harm, depression, school problems, family issues, gender identity, LGBTQ+, and couples. Now, I do telehealth in private practice, based out of Plano, TX, and I specialize in working with the LGBTQ+ population, all eating disorder diagnoses, and with the polyamorous and kink communities surrounding the Dallas area. I also work with Dr. Stephanie Waitt of Texoma Specialty Counseling on a weekly basis, and see eating disorder clients and lead online ED support groups for that practice! I am certified in TF-CBT (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy), and practice often out of that mode of therapy. I also lean heavily on feminist theory, the enneagram, and reality theory, although I change things up to fit each client that I’m working with.
2. How did you get started in your career?
When I was quite young, I saw the flaws in mine and my friends’ families. Don’t get me wrong; I love the hell outta my family. No way I would’ve ended up where I am without them propping me up constantly. However, I remember distinctly thinking after sleepovers with friends (and while living in my own house) thinking “adults seem so unhappy, and they don’t talk to each other the right way. I don’t get why anyone gets married, cause that seems miserable”. From a young age, I could feel tension when I walked into rooms, and I think I was sick to my stomach throughout my whole childhood because of it. It wasn’t until I was in the 6th grade, that a peer told me that my idea of, “telling grownups what to do so that they’re happier” was actually a real job; something she called “a shrink”. Mind. Blown. I had never heard of a therapist or counselor or treatment or psych meds before. I asked my mom to buy me a copy of ‘Psychology for Dummies’ immediately, and I’ve been studying human behavior and psychology ever since. I never once deviated from my plan to become a mental health therapist. 21 years later, here I am 🙂
3. What advice would you give to someone new to the field?
My advice to someone entering this field is 3-fold! (1) Niche, niche, niche! Don’t market yourself as being all things to all people, because you’re not. None of us are. Figure out what your ideal client is, and go after that population! (2) Get yourself to trainings/CEUs; especially if you’re interested in working with eating disorders, become a member of iaedp immediately and attend as many chapter meetings as you can. One of my professors once told me that, “If you ever wake up feeling like you know everything there is to know about your counseling niche, it’s time for you to quit the business”. There is always a different viewpoint in the eating disorder world, and you need to absorb all of them, in my opinion. (3) Self-Care. Working with clients that have body image and food issues is inevitably going to lead some self-discovery about how you’ve been impacted by diet culture over your own life. I lasted 7 months in the field before getting my own treatment team on board to support me. I know it sounds cliche, but you CANNOT pour from an empty cup. Get you a therapist, dietitian, PCP, psychiatrist, massage therapist; just whoever is needed to aid in taking care of you, because honey, you’re gonna need it.