On Your Way to Wellness with Kiri Jarvis, LMHC - Handel Behavioral Health
Mental Health Blog

On Your Way to Wellness with Kiri Jarvis, LMHC

March 3, 2023

Amy Mauro

“I really love the moments when a client shares something with me that they’ve never shared with anyone else because of shame, hurt, or sadness. I have the chance to help them work through it for the first time.”

Kiri Jarvis, LMHC with HBH knew that she wanted to be a therapist since the 8th grade. 

While she can’t say exactly why she wanted to be a therapist, Kiri’s empathetic understanding of others’ experiences brings clients from all walks of life to a place of healing and growth. 

The overarching goal of Kiri’s work as a therapist is to make sure the client feels accepted and supported for who they are. 

Kiri earned her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from St. Fisher College in Rochester, New York. For several years, she provided mental health counseling for individuals in both intensive inpatient and specialized acute crisis settings. 

She draws on her many years of experience providing mental health therapy to individuals in multiple correctional facilities.

Kiri is a person-centered therapist who works with clients online across the state of  Massachusetts. 

She utilizes contemplative practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solutions-Focused Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy to help clients gain greater awareness of, and as a result become more intentional with their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. 

Throughout the natural flow of the therapy process, Kiri will safely guide the client through areas of life that are causing distress. 

She integrates mindfulness practices into sessions to help clients improve focus, regulate their emotions, and tap into their inner strengths. 

We sat down with Kiri to learn more about her background in the field, her therapeutic approach, and what clients can expect from working with Kiri online.

What inspired you to become a therapist?

I’ve known since the 8th grade that I want to be a therapist, and I couldn’t tell you exactly why. 

I was a pretty sensitive child growing up: picking up on other people’s emotions when they were struggling around me. I’ve always wanted to help people through their life challenges.

What experiences have you had in the field prior to working with HBH?

After earning my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from St. John Fisher College, I worked in an intensive outpatient program. I practiced individual and group therapy for individuals struggling with a major mental illness, and individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

For the past seven years, I’ve practiced mental health counseling in multiple correctional facilities. I supported individuals diagnosed with a mental illness, those with dual diagnosis concerns, and those who weren’t aware of their mental illness. 

After all of the crisis work, I was ready to branch out into outpatient therapy. As a mental health therapist in Massachusetts I’m working with people who choose to come see me and bring their own motives for personal growth.

How do you build therapeutic rapport with clients?

I don’t really follow a script when it comes to building relationships with clients.

I lean towards the side of introversion, and I really feel what the client brings into our session. I’ve always had a knack for making people feel comfortable. 

I love finding opportunities to explore all of the little things that make up a person. I think that’s reflected in my person-centered therapy style.

If a client is more reserved, I’ll create space for them to process their thoughts and emotions. Other times, a client might like more banter, laughter, and conversation to fill the space. I can be a chameleon that way.

How would you describe your therapeutic approach?

I typically leave it up to the client to direct which way they want the session to go, and I really pay close attention to the client’s story. 

I think that if the therapist over controls the process, it can interfere with the natural path that therapy takes. 

My main goal as a therapist is to make sure the client feels safe and accepted for who they are. I think a lot of people struggle with feeling like they can’t be their authentic self. 

I want the client to know that this is a safe and nonjudgmental space for them to express themselves freely.

Through reaching deeper levels of communication and understanding, we’ll dive into areas of life that are causing them distress. The client might be struggling with behaviors that are no longer serving them, or feeling anxious and depressed but unsure of the cause. 

Together, we’ll explore how present circumstances tie into the client’s past, to gain greater awareness of the self, and as a result, become more intentional with our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

What therapeutic modalities do you like to use?

I like to take an eclectic approach to therapeutic modalities. 

I’ll primarily use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help client’s identify how certain automatic thought patterns might be leading them to feeling and behaving in ways that no longer serve them. 

We’ll explore the client’s core beliefs behind their thought patterns, with curiosity and kindness. We’ll learn new thinking patterns which result in more satisfying, joyful, and authentic experiences.

I’ll use a psychodynamic approach to help the client better understand their core beliefs. We’ll dive into the client’s previous relationships, childhood experiences, and past selves to understand their current beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. 

I’ll also use a solutions-focused approach to help the client construct solutions to life challenges. It’s really exciting when the client realizes that they have the answer to their challenge within! 

I also integrate dialectical behavior therapy into my practice to help clients learn how to live more in the moment, develop new strategies to cope with stress, and regulate their emotions.

What coping strategies do you offer clients?

I like to hand out worksheets and activities for the client to explore when we’re not together. That way, the client develops their own toolkit of coping strategies to process challenging thoughts and feelings when they arise.  

I also love to bring mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises into sessions. When you slow down and focus on your breathing it allows you to process your experiences in the present moment without judgment. 

At times, our work together might feel smooth, and other times it might feel difficult. I hold space for the client to feel safe and accepted throughout.

What mental health conditions and situations do you address?

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love it when a client reaches an answer within themselves, and feels that sense of confidence and self efficacy. 

I also really love the moments when a client shares something with me that they’ve never shared with anyone else because of shame, hurt, or sadness. I have the chance to help them work through it for the first time.

What do you like most about living in Massachusetts?

I moved to Massachusetts about 6 years ago, and I love it. I always dreamt of living in Massachusetts. I loved the idea of being so close to the woods and ocean, and not far from Boston. 

It sounds funny, but I genuinely love hearing all of the different accents from all over the state.

Interested in Scheduling an Appointment with Kiri?

Through working with Kiri, you will find a welcoming and safe space to move toward your individual goals to wellness. Kiri will help you tap into your inner strengths, and develop nuanced strategies to live a more fulfilling and joyful life. 

As an online provider, Kiri supports clients from all over the state of Massachusetts. If you are interested in starting your mental health journey with Kiri, please contact us today at 413-343-4357 to schedule an appointment online.

About The Author

Nettie Hoagland Headshot

Nettie Hoagland is a writer with experience in local news reporting, nonprofit communications, and community development. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Nettie believes in the healing power of the arts to create connection and community. She is passionate about using writing as an instrument for personal and social growth in the field of mental health. She is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.

Kiri Jarvis Headshot

Kiri is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who utilizes an eclectic approach to therapy, which often includes the following: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy. Kiri aims to support and guide her clients as they move towards their individualized wellness goals. More About Author →