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Meet the Therapist - Tatiana Ellerbe

Join Tatiana as she shares her insights about the influence social media has on therapy, her unstructured-structured approach in sessions, and some of the challenges she faces as a new therapist.

Click here to learn more about Tatiana's experience and connect with her for a consultation.

B'well Counseling serves Baltimore and the surrounding areas. Clinicians offer in-person counseling in our Towson office, with telehealth and hybrid services available. Feel free to explore our website, or learn more about our therapists and philosophy on our YouTube channel.


Jake Jackson-Wolf, LCPC: Alright. We are back with another one of our wonderful therapists. I am Jake Jackson Wolf, one of the co-owners, clinical supervisors, and therapists here at B’well Counseling Services.

Katie Cashin, LCPC: And I'm Katie Cashin also don't know why I feel on the spot with that. I am also one of the co-owners, clinical supervisors and clinical therapists here at B’well.

Jake: I could have handed it off to you.

Katie: I think you did. I think you did. I just didn't catch it.

Jake: We are joined today by Tatiana Ellerbe, who's a license graduate, professional counselor, one of our therapists who's been with us for just over a year now. And we are so excited to be having this conversation with her today. Tatiana, before we launch into our questions. Is there anything that you wanna say? By way of introduction.

Tatiana Ellerbe, LGPC: Yeah, no, I am just very excited to be in this space with you all. It's something that I have continuously said, and it will continue to do so is just how the community that B’well has created for me. I’ve just learned so much from you all, and I'm just super excited to be here super excited to share this space with you, and share a little bit more about myself and my approach.

Jake: Cool. So you know what's coming your way? Our first question is our favorite, which is - What's your client Venn diagram?

Tatiana: Yes, so this is something I've been giving some thought to. I would say, I typically work with people who are in their early twenties through about their mid-forties. It's something about the angst of like early adulthood that really pulls me in. I think it's just like a point that I can really connect to but I would say the bulk of my work really involves examining interpersonal relationships. And so if I were to draw out a Venn diagram. The most inner portion of it would include attachment, abandonment wounds, and just nervous system dysregulation.

And so, if anyone who knows anything about attachment theory, right? Like, we know that the quality of our relationships and the ways in which we form attachments are influenced by early interactions with caregivers.

But I think we live in such a unique time. And so if you know, we're to add a bit more to it. We also exist in the age of social media and instant gratification. And so relationships and dating are quite complicated. And they're not traditional anymore. People are dating very differently. And so in my work I've really seen a lot of past abandonment wounds, and how they influence the ways in which we show up, they often push us into a place where it literally feels like we're grasping at straws to regulate ourselves and the ways that we best know how, and spoiler alert, right? A lot of the ways that we've learned to regulate ourselves and sort of ease those anxious feelings, they're counterproductive. And so I'd say, the core of my work is assisting people in recognizing when their attachment system is activated, helping them explore the ways in which they respond and ultimately just create a sense of safety and security within themselves.

Katie: Want to clap. I just wanna clap.

Tatiana: I had to put a lot of thought into this question. This one was the heavy hitter.

Katie: Seriously. It’s like, from what you say, it's one of those you go into a room, and it's like. Raise your hand if this resonates with you, and, like all hands, go up. And it's a room full of demographics and humans. And yeah.

Tatiana: Absolutely.

Katie: I think you're starting to hint at our next question a bit, which is about, what is it that brings people in to see you?

Tatiana: Yeah. Well, in a nutshell, life is hard. It's not getting any easier. And I think we're all doing the best that we can with what we have. And more times than not right like, we need a little bit more than that. And so I will say, people are coming to see me because they want to be kept company in the hard parts of being a person. They're wanting to explore like alternative ways of thinking and I think they are looking for a little extra push and stepping out of their comfort zone.

Jake: You put something pretty profound there very succinctly, which it it's still still hitting me, as I think through. Each of those words carried a lot of weight. Yeah.

Katie: Yeah.

Jake: Yeah. Well, I take a minute to recover from that. What's your why, in this work? I think you've alluded to it a little bit. But what gets you excited about being a therapist?

Tatiana: Yeah, so little bit like personal background story. I always knew that I wanted to work in mental health, and as I was going through undergrad, I wasn't really sure in what capacity. And so I work in like a residential setting. I was assisting people who were in active crisis. And I'm very appreciative for that role, because it taught me a lot about myself in the mental health system as a whole. It's a very flawed system. And it often prioritizes the wrong things. And so at the time I found myself reflecting on the ways that I have and can continue to make an impact. And I think what I saw pretty immediately was right, like just being able to connect with people right like you might not have an answer or a solution. But like sitting with them in the hard parts, it really had an impact. And so something that I've been saying a lot recently that I feel really resonates with me is the magic is in the connection, right? Like therapy works when you are able to connect. And so that's what I do. I try to create like a very safe space for my people, and I hope in doing so right like they feel empowered to be vulnerable to remain curious. And to just, you know, do the best of it they can. And so I would say, my why is really just the connection right? Like being that person who they feel that they can turn to because, as we don't always have the support we're not always as fortunate to have the support. And so, if I can be that for someone that's enough to keep me showing up every day.

Katie: Hmm! We, you know, got to have this awesome group supervision meeting yesterday. Jake and I were just talking about it earlier. How great that felt. And we you talked so much about this, and again to hear you share it here. To be newer to the private practice setting like you were saying, transitioning into really this one-on-one work that allows you to go deeper with clients that you have had, I'm going to say the confidence, to really trust that magic and that isn't a given when you're in a new work environment and when you're doing this in a new way. It's such a gift of yours that you've been willing to trust it from go in your work here, at least I can say.

Tatiana: Yeah, I have to say, I've been really fortunate to cross paths and work with the people that I do work with. I think they also make it easy in terms of showing up every day. And I'm just, I'm very appreciative. I think that's something else that just comes to mind a lot. I truly have been so fortunate and so lucky.

Katie: Yeah. Yeah. And it is like, when we get to talk with you, when I get to talk with you, don't know. We can get used to there being a like, complaining being the culture as therapist, just like oh, how hard this is, or like what a burden in some ways. And you're real proof of an alternative framework for that. You really do show that appreciation. And it seems really generative in your work. Let's get down into it. I want to know what it would be like to sit in a session with you. What do sessions with you look like? How do they go?

Tatiana: Okay, I tell people this in every consult call, and they're kind of looking at me like, so.

Katie Cashin: Okay.

Tatiana: Bare bones, right? Sessions are very conversational and collaborative. I describe them as structurally unstructured. That's because I do not lead sessions, but I do make a point to show up intentionally. It's important for me to empower my people to take up space because I think we are often taught to make ourselves small, and I don't subscribe to that. As we warm up to the therapy space, typically, I ask people to share what's on top for them or just brain dump their thoughts. It doesn't have to make sense; it just has to make sense to you. Or even if it doesn't, that's fine—just put it out there. From there, we can really go anywhere, which I think is the fun and super cool part of it all. Sometimes sessions are a bit more serious, and they look like us exploring the scary, difficult thing that happened. Sometimes we're talking about our wins or just things that are going on in the world. And then sometimes it's just us laughing about that funny video we saw as we were scrolling. It's a lot of different things, and I like that I have that variety. I think it shows me different versions of my people. I think it shows them a different version of me. That's something that I truly value and incorporate into the sessions. Like any other therapist, I have my interventions and the skills that I like to pass along, but more importantly, creating a space that feels safe is at the very top of the list. In having conversation and making it feel like something we can collaborate on, I think it helps with that whole entire process. You know.

Jake: I'm going to say your phrase: the magic is in the connection.

Tatiana: Magic is in the connection. Yes, indeed.

Katie: Hmm.

Jake: That comes through loud and clear in what you're describing about how your sessions look.

Tatiana: Absolutely. It's a human-to-human thing. When we're in these roles, there are inherent power dynamics, and that's something that, although it may be there, I don't want it to ever feel like it's there. I don't want it to ever feel like a space where someone can't say something because they're worried about what their therapist will think. There's no room for that. Say the thing. I really just try to be very authentic. That's something that I try to model for my people so that they can also be authentic. At the end of the day, we are all humans. Let's connect human to human.

Jake: In this world that can be so clouded by the hot new intervention or the thing that makes these promises, there's healing in connection. This is not woo-woo; this is evidence-based. The oldest evidence we have about psychotherapy is that there's healing in connection. I love hearing how much you center that and give that voice.

Tatiana: Yeah, I think as a new therapist, trying these interventions and skills didn't always land the way I hoped. In those moments where I felt awkward or exposed or anxious, it was the connection I fell back on. Where I can go, oh okay, we can move forward from this or we can try this again next time. Without that connection, I don't think I would have felt so empowered to try again, I think I would have been a little bit scared. It's the connective component that makes a world of difference.

Katie: When you're newer in doing this work one-on-one with folks, you can really cling to these modalities and techniques, thinking that if you do them, connection will follow. But Tatiana, what you're bringing in here is connection, and then we'll find what's really going to work here, whether it's something we use explicitly in session or the client’s gonna use.

Jake: Tatiana, what keeps you inspired to come into work every day, whether that's logging on to a session or coming up here for group supervision yesterday?

Tatiana: I love this question, this is probably one of my favorite questions you guys are asking. There are a few things actually. As I mentioned when I first started, being a part of B’well has been very transformative. Very appreciative in starting my career as therapist, I am starting here. My colleagues, you all, inspire me professionally. You all are very insightful, and I constantly learn something new or even just gaining a different perspective. Being here has been integral to my growth as a newer therapist. I've always felt allowed to take the space I need to explore what the work means for me and to try and figure out the areas in which I feel most energized. It’s something that if we looked at a year ago to now has changed in a lot of ways, and that's the part that is so exciting about it all. And so I'm really thankful to be here with all of you.

In terms of work with clients, I feel inspired by their resiliency, their tenacity. Most recently, I would say a driving force for me has been assisting them with unlearning the ways in which society has programmed us. We are very much so programmed in a lot of different ways, programmed in the way we think, the way we feel, the way we live, and this programming is unhelpful. Being able to transition out of it and into a space where we are open. I found that is one of the key things in helping us create the changes we are looking for, and also getting us out of those places where we feel stuck.

If you ask any therapist, something I image they probably all think or say is that it is an honor to do this work. I'm truly humbled when I'm sitting in a session with a person, and they go, “I’ve never told anyone this before but…” Right, we are now entering sacred territory, and I am honored to be able to be with them and be a part of the journey. I'm grateful that I get to join in and help them along as we talk about the obstacles and the successes. It's not something I take lightly. It really is an honor to share the space with them.

Katie: You said a word I love in there, and you applied it in a way that just put something in a new perspective for me—this unlearning, the process of unlearning. A lot of what folks have learned about going to therapy, whether it's through how they see therapy portrayed, pop psychology, or just talking about problems for a while, that phase where folks are coming in and we are talking, where you are building that connection with them. Sometimes people can feel like, what's the point of talking about this thing that happened in the past? You know, you're saying that's a part of unlearning. Before you can learn something new, before we go on to the growth and the new behavior, and living your, you know, coming out as this new version of yourself, right? It's a process of unlearning.

Tatiana: Yeah, there's so much discourse around therapists, therapy, what it all looks like, and what it can do. I think a lot of it is misinformation. I don't know if it's something that is just rooted in how things were many years ago. But I think today, right, therapy can look like a lot of different things. And so yeah, it certainly takes some unlearning in order to be able to welcome new information and do something different.

Jake: I think you're speaking a little bit to, in the age of constant information flowing towards us, it's like drinking out of a fire hose. You know, someone goes on to Instagram or TikTok, and some therapist who they've never met and will never meet says, here's the secret that your therapist is keeping from you. And people just run with that. I'm all for demystifying this process. I think that's an important part of this work. And there's a lot of things that can get lost in this information overload and hearing things that are meant to apply to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people and taking it as personal psychological advice or a personal intervention feels like it's lacking in some nuance for me.

Tatiana: For sure. So I think if you were to ask any one of my clients this, they will tell you that I blame social media for everything, right? Like the root of all evil. But no, right? I can acknowledge the pros of social media, and I do think it has made information more accessible. I think information is often presented in a way that is easier to digest. And I think when we are talking about raising awareness around mental health, I think all of these things are positive. And there is still a lot of misinformation. It's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Frequently, people are coming in and they're saying, oh, I saw this TikTok, oh, I think I have XYZ diagnosis. And it's like, okay, let's talk about it. Why do you think that? Sometimes people may be following a lead and sometimes it's like, okay, no, you do not have this thing. But yeah, I think, right, like, in being a therapist on social media, there's a lot of responsibility that comes with it. I think there are certainly some great pages and profiles out there that provide information in a very responsible way, and there are also profiles out there that could use some work around that. So yeah, I think it's just something that I'm happy that we have social media as a resource in that way. And also, right, like that does not constitute actual therapeutic services, right?

Jake: It's really great at eliciting more questions for people, right? Like, there's a really great—I'm so aware that we're going to post this on social media. It's great as a tool to elicit more questions and curiosities and get people access to information that historically, they wouldn't have access to. And I think you're exactly right that between this overwhelming side and the not knowing how to sort through things because there's not a great filter for this is good, empirically based information, and this is my opinion.

Tatiana: Yeah, it all kind of blurs sometimes.

Katie: It feels like a full-time, it would be a full-time job with continuing education needed to be able to do that filtering. That's something I always feel when my clients come in with something from social media, when I have something in my head going from social media. This sounds like, I don't know, I think I'm taking this in and I'm like, this is a challenge to our work at times. This is where we have to do some of the unlearning. But, Tatiana, for you, what are some of the challenges along with this that you face in your work?

Tatiana: Yeah, so this very thing, right? I'm challenged by the misconceptions placed on therapists, placed on the field of therapy. I think we all have had a person at some point in our career, right? Like they come in, and they are looking to be fixed, and they want to identify solutions to their problems, right? And so, the identifying the solutions part is not inherently right or wrong. I think of it as it just is, but I don't view my role as a problem solver. People who are looking to be fixed, when I hear that, it is insinuating that something is broken. I don't think people are broken. I don't think we can be broken. I think we all heal on our own individual timeline.

I think the misconception that coming to therapy, if you come weekly for X amount of time, you're going to be healed and all is gonna well. It doesn't typically follow that pattern. Sometimes things may feel worse before they start to feel better. I try to remind my people, let’s trust in the process. You may have five sessions back-to-back where we are talking about that hard thing, and it feels heavy. And then that sixth session, maybe we’re moving toward a place of acceptance. Maybe we are moving towards a place where we feel like we can get past it, right? It's not something that is a linear process by any means. Kind of battling against the misconceptions around therapy as a whole has been really challenging.

Something that I know you both probably assum I’m gonna say and I am gonna say it, another thing that has been really, that has been difficult for me when it has come up is this idea of therapeutic fit. It's particularly difficult because I am so honored that people contact me for support, and I'm eager to help in the ways that I know how. But the reality of it is is that sometimes a client and a therapist are not aligned in the ways that are important for them to be aligned. That has been difficult, right? Having those conversations can be difficult. What I try to fall back on, right, is what I know about myself and how I approach this work. I approach it in a very relational way. I spend a lot of time getting to know my people, that is having conversations, it may be having a conversation where you are thinking, "How is this related to anything?" And I promise there's a method to it. I absolutely enjoy going back to childhood, talking about all the things—what was school like for you? How was middle school? No one gets out of middle school without something happening; it's just hard for everyone. But's very important for me to explore past events because they influence our present. I place heavy emphasis on talking and processing. What I know is this is not the ideal approach for everyone, and that's okay. The challenge in all of that is naming it, for one, and just embracing, I guess, the discomfort that comes with referring someone out. I know that discomfort is there, right, because we're all in the helping field, helping professionals field for a reason. It feels icky, but what I remind myself is that there's no place for my ego in this.

I really try to make it a goal to be transparent about the ways in which I am able to help and if someone and I are misaligned, it's my duty to get them connected with someone who may be a better fit. But more importantly, I'm never here to boost my ego or to take on more than what might be appropriate. I think that’s the challenge, right? Sitting in those difficult moments where you really want to help and also, right, like maybe I’m not the right person to help.

Katie: I want you to walk down the road from our offices. Within ten minutes of walking, you can get to at least two colleges, both of which, I believe, have counseling programs, ungrad at least. I want you to go in and say that to some classes. I want you to normalize that we are not a fit for everybody. That's the quiet undertone of so much of our training and it is important for us to stretch and go beyond the places where we think we are only effective and all of that. Some of our training is based off of, you should be able to meet with anybody and make it work. And that's so damaging.

Tatiana: Very. There are certain things they don't teach you in grad school. I'll just say that I am happy to have learned this in my first year as a therapist and not later on in my career because it's damaging, for sure. I think it's a very quick and easy way to get to burnout and trying to be that thing for everything for everyone.

Jake: It goes back to unlearning. Katie and I were talking about this this morning, whether it’s with food, or with sex, or with money, and all the things we talk about with our clients about. It's learning to listen to yourself and trust that piece that's in there for a reason that says, "Okay, everybody around me is telling me they know better than I do." They tell me, "I have this supervisor or teacher telling me, 'What is it in you that makes you think you can’t work with this client? You can.'" Sometimes it's the piece about being pushed or expanding your perspective, but other times it's about boundaries and or it’s about recognizing we're not limitless individuals.

Tatiana: Yeah. Boundaries. We live in a world that I don't think we honor boundaries the way that we like to believe we do.

Katie: She said it, she said it.

Tatiana: Yes.

Katie: I was kind of watching the clock over here for how long it took us to get into this conversation before someone said the B word. Way to go, Jake.

Jake: I was primed because we were singing the boundaries song in my house this morning.

Katie: How does it go?

Jake: Oh, I won't sing it here again because that’s a boundary.

Tatiana: Maybe not here, but maybe in a different setting. I've never heard the boundaries song.

Jake: Oh, it’s a bop.

Katie: Of course, of course we found our way… Three therapists get together, of course we’ll find out way to talking about boundaries. I'm glad we did it before time ran out here.

I think it goes without saying, if it's not clear, Tatiana, this has been lovely. Thank you so much. I'm clocking all the times in this where you, in sharing who you are, said, "Nope, that's not it. Nope, we don't do that." I'm so glad and appreciative one, that you’re here, I think Jake and I would give that right back to you and say we appreciate getting to work with you and we’re so glad you could feel authentic and comfortable enough to share some truth with us today. Thank you.

Tatiana: Thank you. I truly appreciate you all.

Jake: Tatiana, I don't need my second cup of coffee this morning because I'm just energized by spending time with you this morning.

Tatiana: The conversation, right?

Jake: Yeah.

Katie: And if you'd like to have that feeling, folks who are listening in, and if you want to be energized, Tatiana meets with clients virtually and has openings and you can reach out to her through our website,, or contact her directly at Thanks so much for listening in. Thanks, Tatiana, again for joining us. Until next time, be well.

B'well Counseling Services offers counseling in Baltimore and surrounding areas. Clinicians offer both in-person, telehealth, or hybrid sessions. Click here to learn more about our philosophy and clinicians.


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