Understanding the Human Experience: Kelly Corrao-Fisher, LMHC - Handel Behavioral Health
Mental Health Blog

Understanding the Human Experience: Kelly Corrao-Fisher, LMHC

April 3, 2023

Amy Mauro

“I’ve always been interested in people: why people behave the way they do, why they think how they think, and why they feel how they feel.”

The first time Kelly Corrao-Fisher, LMHC watched The Silence of the Lambs, one of the most famous psychological thrillers of all time, she was enthralled. 

Underneath the surface of the film, Kelly wanted to understand the serial killer’s mind and psychological makeup. 

For as long as she can remember, Kelly’s asked the more probing questions about people: why people behave the way they do, why they think how they think, and why they feel how they feel. 

She thought she’d become a profiler, and work in the field of criminal justice. Instead, Kelly studied psychology. She went on to pursue her master’s degree in Psychology with a focus in Mental Health Counseling. 

For over 15 years, Kelly has worked with adults and adolescents in residential, collegiate, inpatient, outpatient, and crisis settings. Each experience has shaped Kelly’s understanding of human behavior, from a social, institutional, and individual level. 

Kelly is a person-centered therapist. She brings her curiosity to the client sitting across from her: what they think and feel, what they’re experiencing, and who they are. 

Through showing up for the client without judgment, Kelly encourages self-reflection, introspection, and self-realization. Kelly will help her clients build new skills and develop productive attitudes about the challenges they may face. 

At times, the therapeutic work can feel nurturing; at times it might feel difficult. Kelly will make sure that her clients feel supported throughout. 

To learn more about Kelly’s background in the field, and approach to working with clients online and in our Wilbraham office, please read on!

What inspired you to become a mental health counselor?

It sounds strange, but I got really into psychology after watching, The Silence of the Lambs. 

I was fascinated by the profiling system. From a psychological point of view, I thought the system was inaccurate.

So, I went away to college to study criminal justice and psychology. But, I wasn’t interested in going into law enforcement, so I thought, what’s the next best way to study human behavior?

I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology, and went on to work in a residential treatment center for children with behavioral and mental health conditions. Later, I worked in an inpatient psych unit. I loved it, but needed my Masters degree to do clinical psychology work with patients. 

I pursued my Master’s degree in Psychology with a focus in clinical mental health counseling at Westfield State University. My first graduate level internship, at Westfield State’s counseling center, showed me how much I love working with college students. It felt like an age group where identity and self-realization was being formed. 

I then worked in a crisis center, but found the work to be very constrictive. I wanted to provide the patients ongoing care, but you can’t do that in crisis.

When I received my license in mental health counseling, I created and managed a PACT program to support individuals with significant mental health challenges who were transitioning out of  inpatient care. I supervised and educated a team of clinicians, case managers, and nurses on how to support those individuals. 

Eventually, I made my way to HBH. 

It’s been a winding journey. My experiences have taught me how to understand and engage with so many different types of people and situations.

How would you describe your therapeutic approach?

I’m a person-centered and solutions-focused therapist. I like to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques. 

I believe that every client is their own person, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. If a technique isn’t working for the client, we’ll find something that better fits their needs. I’m a big fan of trial and error. I have a list of 99 coping strategies that I encourage clients to explore in session and at home.

My priority is to shine curiosity on the client that’s sitting across from me: attuned to what they’re experiencing, what’s going on in their lives, and listening to what they have to say. 

I love helping people uncover patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are causing them distress. And then, like solving a puzzle, we’ll find tools that improve their lives.

How do you build rapport with your clients?

It sounds weird, but I’m really good at reading the energy of the room. 

You know as a therapist, I’m trained in reading non-verbal communication cues. 

I can sense when a client is feeling relaxed or tense through reading their body language. I’ll ask questions that provoke reflection and self realization. Or, I’ll be quiet and hold space for the client to open up when they’re ready.

I find myself bringing humor to sessions. I think it’s necessary to have both clear boundaries, and show my personality. 

I’m really honest with my clients about the nature of therapy. There will be ups and downs along the way. Our work together isn’t always going to feel easy, at times it might feel difficult, but I’m always here to support the client throughout.

What conditions do you treat?

I work with individuals who want to address day to day stressors, work through periods of adjustment, and help those with more significant mental health challenges, such as:

I work with adolescents 13-17, adults 18-64, and adults over the age of 65. I also offer couples, marriage, and relationship counseling.

What is your favorite part of your job?

When I was growing up, my mom said to me, “Kelly, don’t ever get stuck at a job where you’re sitting in a cubicle all day, replaced by a computer.”

I’m the type of person who thrives in an environment where I can be curious and actively engaged everyday. As a therapist, I can see the same person every week and always learn something new about them. I’m constantly discovering new ways to connect with my clients, and helping them find solutions to meet their needs. 

It’s kind of like solving a puzzle of human behavior, and I love it.

Interested in working with Kelly?

Finding the right therapist who meets your needs can take time, but it’s worth the effort. 

Whether you’re seeking therapy as part of a routine self-care commitment, or have a particular mental or behavioral health challenge to address, Kelly is here to guide you through your journey. 

If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Kelly Corrao-Fisher online or in our Wilbraham office, contact us today at (413) 343-4357.

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.

Kelly  Corrao-Fisher Headshot

Kelly received her graduate degree from Westfield State University with her masters in Psychology focusing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has been in the counseling field for over 15 years working with adolescents and adults in a variety of settings ranging from residential, collegiate, inpatient, outpatient and crisis. More About Author →