ScreenshotSo, here’s a pet peeve.

It drives me crazy that TV shows therapy as this intense process. Everything we see in the media seems a few inches away from the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Frank Reynolds’ “You unzipped me” experience.

It can be like that, but therapy is, at its core, a conversation with a neutral party who’s learned some science about how the human machine works and is trying to help you build a safe place to process your life and maybe teach you some of that science (I try to teach the science, personally).

So, in day-to-day life, when do we talk to our friends and family? They’re just too close to our experiences to be objective. They’re essential for support, love, and giving feedback, but they will always have input from how they see things going down, up close and personal.

Therapy with me is different.

Therapy is an outside perspective from someone with no skin in your game because I don’t know you from Adam. But what I do have is an interest in your particular problems. I’ve seen them before, and I think they’re neat.

I love working with teens and adults who have ADHD and are Autistic, queer, and who suffer from depression. My shared personal experience makes those my favorite to dig into. What? A neurodivergent person with an intense and specific interest? Shocking, I know.

But this is great for you because I am returning to these populations repeatedly after all these years in the field. Now I’ve got a practice helping them.

And I’ve found that while everyone is unique, the problems people encounter are not that different. The problems that afflict teenagers and members of the queer folks experiencing AuDHD and depression are totally individual to the people who experience them, but patterns emerge. It’s in recognizing the patterns of problems that can arise and having training and experience handling the fallout that makes me uniquely suited to helping my patients manage them.

9q2a0960A direct, head-on approach seems to work best.

No BS, no lies; confronting things as they arise is what works for my clients. So does a heavy helping of humor because my clients are hilarious; they can’t help it. They’re awesome that way.

There’s no right way to do therapy, but the way to do therapy that is right for me involves a lot of looking at the stories we tell ourselves. How are we talking to ourselves? What words do we use? What are we choosing to say to ourselves? Does it help? Is it useful? Asking those questions are things that we ask to drill down and get to work.

Anyone willing to do that work sees changes.

And that’s where I get paid. There’s nothing better than when a client tells me, “I set this boundary with a family member and held it,” or “I’ve been using my skills, and my life is so much more peaceful.”

It’s fantastic when my patients gain an It-Is-What-It-Is attitude from doing radical acceptance work and can coast through what would have been a stressful interaction mere months ago.

It is all about the change we can create, and I’m living proof of that.

About Me

My goals in life changed over time.

When I graduated from college, I thought I would be a writer. I chased that dream with both hands and had some of my life’s most exciting experiences: getting to interview and spending time with incredible people like Samuel L Jackson, Rosario Dawson, and Antony Bourdain.

But a man has to eat, and eventually, I had to get practical, so I put my Creative Writing degree to work with my teaching certificate and took a position at a middle school to teach English. While there, I saw my students struggling with behavior and allowed them to take alternative roads to manage their stress with me if they could stay out of ISS or manage their impulses as a class for rewards. I saw actual results!


Rachael Kates, LMSW
(He, Him)

My students’ behavior improved with someone to talk to, a quiet place to go, and a reward to work toward that paid off. When the vice principal I worked under spoke with me about applying for the following year, I told her my strategies and how well they’d worked. When I finished my spiel, the vice principal nodded and said, “That’s great, but that’s not a teacher’s job.”

I asked, “Who’s job is it?” “A social worker,” she said.

After that conversation, I sought a different path.

I enrolled in The Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies School of Social Work Masters Program that fall. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, though two hundred bucks would have been nice for a grad student.

Since then, I’ve done all kinds of social work, from community mental health in rural Georgia to HIV support services to direct service in Atlanta’s FEMA shelter for the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, but at the end of the day, therapy’s my uncomplicated love and my favorite way to do it is through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Radically Open-DBT. I love the practical lens the skills provide to understand and tackle the world daily, minute by minute.

I have a life outside of being a therapist.

My free time is not unlike my professional schedule and is full of blissfully nerdy things. I love D&D and other tabletop games, reading, writing, and watching fiction with friends.

I’m an old emo and not afraid to admit it. (But you’ll have to go to my FAQ page to find out how many My Chemical Romance concerts I’ve been to, but it’s a lot. Whatever you’re thinking, probably more than that.)

I’m blessed to be close to my family, and my dog Trudy is not impressed with how much time I spend doing anything other than paying attention to her.