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BIO

It's my greatest pleasure to work with clients as they unpack complex feelings and beliefs about themselves and their lives. I have been working with children, youth, and adults for over 10 years, helping students and clients navigate troublesome experiences and states of mind. I come to this work with equal parts analytical rigor and sense of empathy.  My client-centered approach is informed by years of multi-disciplinary research and work in critical theory, anthropology, religious studies, and ethics & moral philosophy. When I began my academic career in Philosophy, I was first and foremost inspired by the existentialism and the beautiful, pained writings of authors and theorists tackling questions about life and suffering. Later, after years of study and training, I found myself again working within the domain of existential work but now doing interventions with clients.

I first learned about the practice of philosophical counseling in 2014. At that time, I was working as a crisis counselor and advocate in a women and children's crisis counseling center and emergency shelter. The clinical director of the program took interest in my distinct approach and positive outcomes with clients. After observing my methods, she helped me realize my approach to counseling was definitively philosophical- guided by Socratic inquiry, concerned with how interpretations and worldviews shape personal experiences, invested in sharing knowledge and discerning & creating meaning. This was not necessarily surprising since I am a philosopher, not a therapist. Our conversations prompted me to take a closer look at the vast, complicated historical relationship between therapy and philosophy as well as movements in contemporary Philosophy where philosophical inquiry is applied as life practice. I was excited to discover various networks of philosophical practitioners in the States and abroad.  After spending time investigating the different institutions, I endeavored to cultivate my own philosophical practice here in New Orleans. I have continued to train, study, and earn certifications in an array of counseling methods.

ABOUT

Eliza McDermott, MA

I was excited when I opened the doors to my practice in 2015. I started studying Philosophy in 2004 at DePaul University where I earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Philosophy (2008). While in Chicago, I worked in adult education teaching GED classes in a local homeless shelter. I studied critical theory & feminist ethics, I was greatly impacted by the wealth of knowledge about life, society, politics and history that women of color brought into philosophical and cultural dialogues. My understanding of how philosophy & philosophical inquiry could affect society changed. I felt I had to pursue an applied philosophy so took up work in ethics and moral philosophy with special emphasis on women, race, and reproductive health justice.

In 2010, after teaching for a couple years in Colorado, I moved to Washington DC to study ethics and moral philosophy at American University (Master's of Arts 2012). While working on my Master's, I continued to do direct services and teaching work in area reproductive health oriented non-profits doing direct services work along my academic work. I found being a moral philosopher helped me to understand my work and world better which helped me develop into apt and astute interventionist.

 

After moving to New Orleans in 2012, I began training as a crisis counselor. I studied CBT and other modalities through my work in a crisis center and other independent certification programs. After coming across Philosophical Counseling, I decided to pursue my certification in that field and worked with both national organizations, the American Philosophical Counseling Association and the National Philosophical Counseling Association, as they have distinct approaches and philosophies about counseling. I was certified in Rational Emotional Behavior Therapy from the latter.

 

Though I am certified and trained as a  philosophical practitioner, clients ought to be clear that I am not a clinically licensed psychotherapist. There can be some confusion since the interventions share the designation, 'counselor.'

 

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