We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Calverley, Ph.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
‘Think positively’ is a piece of advice often provided to those in distress from loved ones with the most benevolent of intentions. This popular notion suggests that it’s easy to turn your mind toward a better perspective. If only it were that simple! Though some people swear by this method, it tends to work for only minor and everyday concerns. When we’re struggling with more distress or really stuck in our head over something then this advice can backfire as applying a positive perspective may be too far from the original thought, so not believable or only providing temporary relief. Instead, we’re better off aiming for more balanced, helpful, and realistic thinking.
As a psychologist, I help adults realize that the mind is not something we can learn to tame or get to cooperate on a whim. The paradox lies in that the more we try to think a certain way, the less likely it’ll be to stick, leaving us feeling more discouraged. When the focus is on controlling the mind to be a certain way, we often get caught in the struggle and lose sight of the present moment. It is absolutely normal to have a range of emotions and experiences in life, and even within a day; this is what makes us human
Ultimately, you can learn how to handle moments when you get stuck in your head, as we all will from time to time. Start by recognizing that your thoughts don’t define you, and they’re just thoughts nothing more. Get present and in your body. Take a deep breath and notice the room around you. Then, reflect on what really matters in your life, and take actions toward your values. Letting go of struggling with your mind is not at all easy, but it sure is worth it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Sure. I’m the founder and owner of Inner Balance Psychological Services, PLLC based in Houston, TX. I’m a licensed clinical and health psychologist who provides psychological therapy for adults. I truly love what I do as I get to see people transform every day into a better version of themselves. My practice is somewhat unique in that I have a few niche areas that are less common. I am highly specialized in the treatment of anxiety and related conditions, such as panic attacks, excessive worry, phobias, OCD, health anxiety (hypochondriasis), social fears, perfectionism, and trauma. This work tends to be pretty intensive and more structured than other forms of therapy, but results can be seen much faster than people realize. It’s not traditional talk-therapy, but evidence-based practices based on skill acquisition to provide lasting relief from distress and symptoms.
My practice also focuses on women’s health, mainly around struggles during pregnancy and the postpartum period. I created a psychology service in the NICU and within an OB/GYN department and truly love working with women in this stage of life. Nowadays, I mostly treat of postpartum anxiety, intrusive and scary thoughts (OCD), and birth trauma, given the overlap with the anxiety work I described earlier. Working with perinatal women became even more meaningful when I had my children and could truly relate to my clients in many ways. It’s such a huge life transition and many people are trying to navigate it on their own, or with minimal support which can be so challenging. I strongly believe that women struggling during this vulnerable time need therapists with specialized training and experience in the nuances of perinatal mental health concerns.
Lastly, I help people with chronic medical conditions, especially autoimmune diseases, navigate their illness. Our mind and bodies are inextricably linked, and optimum health requires paying attention to all aspects of ourselves. There are very few therapists who offer this specialization so I’m proud to be one of a handful of local providers.
I’ve worked in private practice for the past ten years, on and off, but I never expected to launch completely on my own last year. Once the pandemic hit though, it all came together for me. I started working virtually over telehealth and it’s a perfect fit for my life and my clients seem to appreciate that as well. I have young kids and a busy life, so I truly needed more flexibility that came with running my own business, setting my own hours, and working from home. In the past, I’d failed to set good boundaries at the expense of my own balance and family. I’ve been mindful to prioritize the things that really matter to me this time.
Being a therapist, I didn’t have a business background at all. It was humbling to learn so many new things, yet I was inspired by it and discovered an entirely new way of using my brain. At the end of the day, it’s all been worth it. I’ve learned that it’s possible to go after the things you really want in life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
That’s not easy to answer! Houston restaurants are incredible and the search for a new fave is endless. I adore the variety of what the Houston food-scene has to offer and feel you can never go wrong with the local Tex-mex. My dream day might be to start at Common Bond for coffee, bike around to local farmer’s market, shop at Bering’s, then finish off with dinner at Uchi or Turner’s.
Being from Canada originally, I miss the accessibility to natural areas. So, I’d say that Memorial park and the Arboretum are definitely highlights for me to have an escape within the city. I’m kind of nerding out here, but I love showing visitors the Texas Medical Center. It’s so grand and impressive.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In many ways, I owe much of my success to my parents. They taught me from a young age the value of hard work and resilience. Through their unconditional love and support, I learnt to trust my instincts and take risks. When things didn’t always work out the way I’d hoped for, they never fixed it for me. Instead, they taught me how to believe in myself and trust that I could figure things out. It wasn’t always easy but what felt like a hardship at times resulted in my developing qualities that contributed to the success of my business. By always believing in me, they truly have always been my biggest cheerleaders.
Sean Stratton Julia Ceasar Isaac Quesada Mattia Pavesi