Hi, my name is Tiffani Clay (She/Her). I’m a Nationally Certified and Licensed Professional Counselor. I’m a Black, straight, cisgender woman, originally from the West Side of Chicago, near the suburbs. My specialties include anxiety, depression, life transitions, dating/relationships, self-esteem, and career development. I work best with clients who are seeking to better understand themselves and live authentic, rewarding lives. Many of my clients desire clarity in their romantic and/or family relationships, and want to increase supportive, caring connections in all aspects of their lives. I support my clients in increasing their self-worth and self-knowledge to reach these goals.
I have a passion for working with women, BIPOC, and queer individuals. I am committed to learning and practicing anti-oppression and social justice centered therapy. As part of that commitment, I actively take time to surround myself with opportunities to learn about various lived experiences that are different from my own. I believe this is paramount in my role as a therapist and ally.
I recognize that we each have unique backgrounds, and we can be impacted in different ways by our intersecting identities. That’s why I take a multicultural, holistic approach to my work. I truly listen and seek to understand my clients’ unique experiences, allowing the therapeutic journey to unfold authentically. For my BIPOC and queer clients especially, I recognize the impact systemic racism and prejudice can have in many aspects of life. I find it important to process this impact in the therapy space. As a Black woman, I have experienced the disheartening and negative effects of conversations around systemic racism and oppression being avoided and/or disregarded in both school and work settings. With me, my clients can feel free to process what they are experiencing without judgment or dismissal. I understand the importance of having a space where you can feel seen, heard, and truly understood — and I strive to provide this for my clients.
Since childhood, I have had a passion for understanding our inner worlds and capacity for healing and resilience. I have always been curious about what motivates us and how our backgrounds and experiences impact our lives. Therapy was not encouraged or easily accessible in my community growing up. This was due to many societal and systemic factors, including the therapy space often feeling unwelcoming, unsafe, and culturally biased. It is important to me that marginalized individuals have opportunities to safely explore their inner worlds. They should have space to be vulnerable and not just be accepted, but cherished. I work to increase spaces that feel restorative, rather than harmful, while being mindful of cultural and systemic factors relevant to my clients.
I believe our childhood experiences can have a lasting impact on us, affecting how we move through life as adults. This impact can be broadened to how we view ourselves, how we view others, and how we connect in relationships. Fortunately, our past experiences can be worked through in adulthood. We go through important stages in our development that allow us to learn and grow. As adults we can intentionally sift through what we have learned to determine what we can hold onto and what we can release. That means we can empower ourselves to continue to learn and heal. This may involve confronting past lessons and adjusting so our futures can be aligned with who we truly are and what we truly want.
When working with clients, I use a psychodynamic approach and incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), narrative, and mindfulness techniques when appropriate. While using these modalities, I tailor them to the individual client, affirming my client’s full story. I do not dismiss or pathologize my clients’ lived experiences, customs, or values.
I also incorporate mindfulness and a somatic focus in my work with clients. Sometimes, we are not able to verbalize what we are feeling. It can be helpful to stay in touch with our bodies and become aware of what we are feeling on a physical level. I encourage my clients to engage in activities with a mindful approach outside of our sessions. This might include taking walks or simply noticing present surroundings. I also utilize deep breathing, meditation, body scanning, and present awareness in sessions.
I understand how vulnerable this journey can be. As your therapist, I will walk alongside you on your journey in healing, allowing you a safe, open space to find and hone your authentic voice. My role is not to take the lead in your journey, but to support you in your own empowerment as you lead yourself to a present and future that feels right for you.
Outside of my therapy work, I advocate for social justice and collaborate with others who value similar work. I spend my free time reading young adult romance novels, listening to music (indie/alternative), painting, and hanging out with my beautiful cat, Matilda.