Therapy with Jessica Adam, LMFT

Jessica Adam is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Somerville, MA specializing in working with young adults in their 20s and 30s. Utilizing her background in yoga and mindfulness as well as her Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) knowledge, Jessica helps her clients navigate anxiety, life transitions (such as adjusting to college or post-graduation life), relationship issues, perfectionism, and/or self-esteem challenges.

We asked Jessica about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.

Jessica's background and personal life

1. How did you decide to become a therapist?

It wasn’t one specific moment that I knew I wanted to become a therapist.  Looking back, it makes complete sense I’m a therapist – based off moments and some of the different experiences I had.  For example, before I went back to school for psychology I played sports and then coached.  I loved the aspect of being a part of a team and the skills I used as a team captain and as a coach, are ones that I use as a therapist- facilitating conversations, identifying peoples’ strengths, and working together.  I also was drawn to becoming a therapist from my experience working with a therapist throughout college and after college.  I remember thinking how cool it was that people got to have conversations with people and really support people, for their job.

2. What was your previous work before going into private practice?

I worked at several community health centers- one in Southern California and then one in Boston when I moved here.  I worked with families, couples, individuals, and got involved with facilitating groups.  I also had the opportunity to run groups at a day program for young adults up against drug and alcohol addiction.

3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy spending time outside, being around animals, traveling, and doing things with friends and family.

Jessica's specialties and therapy philosophies

4. What guiding principles inform your work?

Social justice, positive psychology, community, relationships, language, mindfulness and the mind-body connection, radical acceptance, and maintaining a "judgment-free-zone" all inform my practice.

5. What clientele do you work with most frequently?

Most frequently I work with college students, young adults transitioning to life after college, and couples.

6. Can you tell us more about your work with individuals with struggling with perfectionism?

I’ve gotten to know the ideas of perfectionism and productivity very well from my work with college students and young adults.  

Whether it be “do more, sleep less,” or “You didn’t do enough,” or “you are too much,” Perfectionism can set strict rules.  

Productivity’s mandates of evaluating a person’s self-worth based on how much they get done in one day can really suck the joy out of life. I help people separate themselves from perfectionism and productivity’s mandates to give them more space and connection to what they value in their lives, rather than it being decided for them.

7. Can you tell us more about your work with couples struggling with communication?

I have worked with a lot of couples who come in wanting to work on communication their relationship.  Either there is a lack of communication or their communication includes too much arguing or blaming each other.  

I’ve observed the commitment couples have to communication and that sometimes it is collaborating and having the space to talk through how they want to communicate- rather than decade old patterns dictating the way for them.  

What I’ve observed in working with communication in couples is that sometimes it can be a matter of having the space to ask each other questions and questions of themselves, that there didn’t feel like time for in their lives.

8. Can you tell us more about your work with individuals with anxiety?

Anxiety is a word that is used in every other sentence these days.  It can give us information and at the same time saying “I’m anxious” or “I have anxiety,” doesn’t tell us much.  It doesn’t let me get to know someone, and it also doesn’t let me get to know how anxiety is helping the person in their lives.  

With any emotion – anxiety included – we get to have a relationship to it. I like to get to know anxiety, and then support people in coming into a relationship with it where it doesn’t take the steering wheel.

9. What do you find most rewarding about your work?

There are so many things I find rewarding about my work.  To start, my job doesn’t feel like work to me.  I get to have conversations with people about the things they care about and value in their lives.  I get to work with couples as they navigate the challenges of being in a relationship.  I get to collaborate with other clinicians in the community locally and nationally to discuss ideas around mental health and connected fields.  These are just some of many.

Therapy sessions with Jessica

10. What will our first session together be like? What happens in ongoing sessions?

In the initial meeting, we’ll discuss what brings you into therapy and what your hopes are for our work together.  Sessions feel more like conversations- where you will feel that I am right there in it, with you.  Sometimes people will say, “Oh, I haven’t been asked that before,” or “I hadn’t thought about that.”  In ongoing sessions we build on the hopes and discuss from the initial meeting.

11. How can I prepare for our first session?

Just yourself!

12. Are there any books you often recommend to clients?

13. Do you assign “homework” between sessions?

I like to discuss this option with clients.  I like to see ‘homework’ as ‘gathering data’ in between sessions to try something differently or make a change that someone is trying to make.

14. How do you help ensure I'm making progress in therapy?

I am constantly checking in with my clients around how we are doing in the therapy room and what the client is noticing in his, her, their life to let us know we are on track and going in the direction the client wants to be going.

I am tracking what is important to the people I work with and making sure that we are moving towards your hopes, commitments, and goals for yourself or your relationship.

15. How long do clients typically see you for?

This varies. I’ve worked with people for several years and I’ve also worked with people for several months.  This is something that we can continue to check in about.  I don’t have a set number of sessions that I recommend to people.

Visit Jessica's profile to watch her introductory video, read more, and book an initial call!