Get to Know a Face of PESI - Alexandra Solomon, PhD

Get to know Dr. Alexandra Solomon, this month’s Face of PESI!

Alexandra is a celebrated and widely cited clinical psychologist and professor at Northwestern University specializing in couples and individual therapy. She is also the author of the new book “Love Every Day: 365 Relational Self-Awareness Practices to Help Your Relationship Heal, Grow, and Thrive.”

Why did you get into therapy?

I went to college hellbent on becoming a medical doctor. I really saw college as a means to an end – getting into medical school – until I took a women’s studies class during my sophomore year. I was blown away by the study of relationships and the intersection of gender and sexuality and race and looking at the macro systems of power and oppression and the space between people. That led me to pivot.

I knew I still wanted to be in a helping profession, so moving towards clinical psychology just made so much sense to me. It allowed me to still see myself as a provider and as a person of service, but also be able to sit in the complexities of human relationships.

What was your toughest couple and how did you overcome the challenge?

The toughest clients are a couple who can neither let go nor re-engage. Beginning therapists are often afraid of couples that are loud and yelling when the conflict is really heated. This is dysregulated for the therapist, but what’s harder than that is a couple where it’s really hard to find any bridge between the two of them. They’re having a hard time letting each other go with permission, grace, and gentleness. These cases are quite challenging for me.

How do you reset and maintain your wellness?

I reset and maintain my wellness through relationships. Even though I’m in a relationship all day with my therapy clients and my students, I do a really good job of taking off my therapist hat or my professor hat and just being a sister or a daughter or a wife or a mama or a friend and in those relationships, I really let myself receive.

Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Tea all the way. A Starbucks venti with one chai tea bag, one English breakfast tea bag, and one inch of steamed soy milk is my magic potion. I love tea and I have a great, great, great disdain for coffee.

What is your favorite therapy book?

I love all my therapy books. My shelves are full of them, but I’m going to go with the sixth edition of the Clinical Handbook of Couples Therapy, which is edited by Jay Lebow and Doug Snyder. It’s just an incredible collection of pieces from my most treasured mentors, teachers, and colleagues.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love working on craft projects. For many years, I have made quilts of all kinds. It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a full quilt, but I really enjoy getting the sewing machine out. By contrast to therapy, which is messy and you don’t always know where you’ve been or where you’re going, when you’re sitting in front of your sewing machine, everything is highly angular and linear. You’re going from here to there, and you end up with this beautiful, finished product.

Do you prefer dogs or cats?

I prefer dogs. We have a 12-year-old Schnoodle named Sawyer, who is just my therapy dog. She sits right next to me all day when I’m seeing clients. I love her and I love all dogs. I embarrass my family because I can’t walk past a dog without talking to the dog and petting it.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

I’m a little bit of both, which is why I’m so tired all the time. I enjoy late night productivity, but there is nothing that feels better than getting up early, getting a workout in first thing, and then just find of facing the day from there.

What is the next big thing to come out of the therapy world?

The next big thing that’s going to come out of the therapy world is continued fusions and integrations that are creative and that honor the way in which we’ve got to always be thinking about our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and our spirits. Therapy has been an awfully heady field that’s sort of our origin story, and we’re in this really powerful movement of returning to our bodies and the wisdom of our bodies. There’s going to be all kinds of exciting fusions of dance and therapy – and even martial arts – in which our bodies and our minds and our language all come together and I’m here for all of that.

Want more of Alexandra? Explore her variety of products with PESI
Alexandra Solomon Courses
Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD, is staff clinical psychologist, member of the teaching faculty in the marriage and family therapy graduate program, and clinical assistant professor of psychology at The Family Institute at Northwestern University.

Featuring topics like Healing in Couples Therapy, Loving Bravely, Loving You Without Losing Me, and more, browse through her catalog of courses, digital seminars, books, and more.

Topic: Faces of PESI

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