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Meet Oliver Drakeford and Kylie Kolb of morethanOK.la in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oliver Drakeford and Kylie Kolb.

Oliver and Kylie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We met the first day of grad school in our Clinical Psychology program in a class that was aimed at encouraging vulnerability and empathy in new psychotherapy clinicians. It was a powerful ten-week course that pushed us on a journey inwards; we connected in a very tearful session about personal pain and have been friends ever since. After that experience, took classes together every semester until we graduated, and at that point, we realized we were not quite ready to end our ride together and started talking about building a Private Practice together.

The idea for morethanOK.la, our joint venture, was born from this shared experience of self-discovery we were part of in school. We were given so many valuable gifts while we were students at Antioch University in the form of tools and knowledge, but we realized that it helped us discover each other, and ourselves: which are priceless treasures. Our school was such a transformative experience, that we decided to base our values as psychotherapists around our journey, in order to create a similar experience of self-discovery for others.

Our Instagram page developed out of a discussion on how we might engage an online audience and challenge them to start thinking about a similar, inward journey. Kylie has always been interested in quotes and memes and would always find the most perfect one to send to our group of grad school friends. One rainy morning after we graduated, we sat at Starbucks and reflected on how quotes and digital memes helped us over the years. We still feel that when the right words hit you at the right time, you get these incredible moments of clarity and insight.

Our workshop program, the private practice we are building, and the Instagram page is all about creating more moments like this – we want to encourage people to take a second, reflect and grow.

Has it been a smooth road?
The hardest part about becoming psychotherapists is the personal insight it demands that you gain; we have to know ourselves, our biases, and do a fair amount of healing before we can sit down and attempt to help another person. That journey inwards are staggeringly difficult; confronting our demons is sometimes that hardest thing about this career. The path we are on is so difficult, and it’s not uncommon for new therapists to trip up…. remind each other constantly that we are not alone, and we keep our arms outstretched to catch each other if either of us falls.

As well as studying, and working, the Behavioral Board of Sciences requires us to have 3000 hours of internship experience, which we undertook, at community clinics across Los Angeles. These are mainly unpaid, so we’ve had to balance the demands of two jobs while studying, growing and attempting to maintain a social life.

We both value the role of empathy in our work with clients. We think there’s great value in behavioral work, which is the more cognitive approach to therapy, but we’ve both been drawn to a psychodynamic orientation, which looks at underlying emotions and the relationships that inform who we are. This takes a great amount of emotional work on our parts and we’re often exhausted by the toll it takes. When our clients are deeply depressed, or disturbed, it can be overwhelming to sit with the feelings it brings up, while having to hold it all together for our clients. Nobody really warns you about this part of the job, so we’ve had to learn to help each other through that steep learning curve.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
morethanOK.la is the private practice we are building together as we reach the final stages in training to become psychotherapists. We are launching a series of workshops and trainings in 2018, loosely based around the quotes on our Instagram page. The workshops will delve deeper into the online experience we provide.

In our work with clients over the past few years, it became glaringly obvious that there are no classes in high school about spirituality, values or intimacy – while there are many books on how to communicate effectively with your partner or children, we saw that there are few classes on it. The reality is that we had to go to grad school to get these basic tools! So, distilling our experiences, and the knowledge we’ve gained from school, supervisors and trainings across the country, is what we hope to give to our clients in our workshops.

When we work privately with clients as therapists, we take this one step further, and do deep therapeutic work that is not possible online or in classes.

No matter how we are connecting with people, there is always a focus in our work on insight, empathy and connection.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a terrific town for psychotherapists however; this career can also be quite lonely, so we’ve sought therapist communities, which have been so helpful in connecting us to other clinicians. Our on-going learning has involved meeting incredible teams at LAISPS (Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies) and GPALA (Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles), and we have been lucky enough to attend trainings across the US and in the United Kingdom.

We both love living here, we come from New York and London and have made this town our home. Actually, we’re lucky enough to live within walking distance of each other. But what has struck us both about Los Angeles, is how atomized we all are… We can easily live in separate homes in the hills, and drive alone in our separate cars – we can lead these very isolated lives -if we chose. It sometimes feels there is a lack of community experiences that is more easily found in London or Manhattan – even in something as simple as sharing subways and busses together.

One of the things we want to provide in the workshops we are launching is a sense of belonging. Given the recent political climate, we believe that the mental health community needs to provide a safe, supportive arena for conversations and connection. Los Angeles could greatly benefit from any opportunity where people can come together and talk and just be, and creating a hub for like-minded people is one of our dreams.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
#morethanOKla

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