About UsThe University of Kentucky Family Center is a community mental health facility serviced by therapy interns who are in their Family Sciences master's program at UK. Our interns are supervised weekly by their clinical supervisors who are licensed Marriage and Family therapists within UK's Family Sciences faculty. The Family Center has contributed its efforts to the community for more than 25 years. As a non-profit, the Family Center's first priority is to provide a place of genuine personal growth for therapy interns and their clients. Meet the Supervisors
Clinical Supervisor, Family Center Director
Tracey has always enjoyed children and the wonder and excitement that they bring to life. She Started her career in early childhood education thinking that she would be a teacher or daycare center director.
Life paths took her away from the school environment and towards working with individuals and families. She became interested in Family Therapy during her seminary years and after graduation working in a local mental health agency. There she expected to work with couples and families but found herself with a caseload of children. At a workshop about therapy and children she rediscovered her passion for working with children again. Since then she has studied with Drs. Byron and Carol Norton, learning their model of Experiential Play Therapy, for treating children and families dealing with abuse. She is constantly amazed at the strength and desire for healing that children and adults have within themselves.
Tracey has working in several mental health agencies and in private practice as a therapist working with children and families since 1990.
As a clinician, Tracey saw the importance of research for best practices in therapy. She is excited to be working in a research and teaching environment and wants to help facilitate research on families and children through the UK Family Center. Trent Parker
Having a long time interest in working with people, Trent eventually studied psychology as a first step to obtaining degrees in marriage and family therapy. As a doctoral student, he worked as an instructor and as an assistant editor for the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
Being a researcher, instructor, and clinician is important to Trent and he has worked in a variety of clinical settings. These include, a juvenile justice center, a residential treatment center for adolescent sexual offenders, a women's shelter, and various community mental health centers. Trent also brings in over six years of teaching experience.
Trent believes it is important to be balanced in all of life's activities and appreciate the journey in life. In the words of Milton H. Erickson, "Life isn't something you can give an answer to today. You should enjoy the process of waiting, the process of becoming what you are. There is nothing more delightful than planting flower seeds and not knowing what kind of flowers are going to come up."
In his own words, Trent shares his philosophy for training the therapist here at the UK Family Center:
Through my clinical experience, I have come to learn that the most important part of being a therapist is being human. The person sitting across from you in the room shouldn't have to have all the answers and least of all tell you what to do. No one can fully know and understand your situation and what it has been like to be you throughout your life. To me, being human recognizes that as a therapist (and supervisor) I am not perfect, and we shouldn't expect perfection from the people we are working with.
Instead, I see therapy as a way to have someone understand your situation as best they can, to connect with you, and to experience with you through areas in your life that cause you pain, shame, and sadness. But to be balanced, I think it is also important to walk through times of happiness, excitement, and celebration. My Experience has taught me that in doing this, growth happens, connections are made, and life becomes more balanced.
As I work with your therapist, I emphasize acceptance, connection, being human, and deeply listening to the experiences that you share. It is when we relate to each other as human that the setting for personal growth is set. Nate Wood
Nate grew up in rural southern Idaho the youngest son of an entrepreneur and a renaissance woman. It was in this environment that his curiosity grew and he developed a love of learning, responsibility, integrity, and a deep respect for others regardless of background or station. These values and attributes have been a rudder and foundation in his life.
Dr. Wood's curiosity led him to study engineering and then ultimately psychology and sociology at Utah State University. It was during these years that he started to be involved in basic behavioral research, intensive literature reviews, and research on marital interactions leading him to choose a path in marriage and family therapy. Dr. Wood continued his study of marriages through master and doctoral degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy at Brigham Young University which he returned to as an adjunct faculty member.
Dr. Wood has a love for variety in his personal and professional life. He thrives when he is able to practice therapy, supervise and teach students, and engage in scholarly research. His therapy work includes extensive experience with marriages, adult survivors of childhood abuse, domestic violence, divorce adjustment, and residential treatment of severe eating disorders. He has also been active in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy being a legislative chair, president-elect, and president of the Utah Division for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Nate's greatest achievement is marrying his high-school sweetheart and spending time with their three kids playing in the woods, water, or wherever the adventure takes them. You may also find Nate hanging out at the golf course or fly-fishing (even in Kentucky). He is thrilled to be here at the University of Kentucky!
I make a distinction between being "therapeutic" and "performing therapy." When most beginning therapists, and seasoned professionals at times, think about therapy, they think of "performing therapy." They are thinking of theoretical models, designing an intervention, or coming up with the "right" or "perfect" thing to say to a client at the "right," or "perfect" moment. I attempt to share and teach as much theory and interventions as I can with young professionals so they can have tools and language that can give a different perspective on people, "problems," and the therapy process. That being said, theories and interventions are simply tools that may or may not be therapeutic to the person sitting in front you.
Who you are as a person, how you treat and think of others, and how you respond in meaningful relationships will often be what is actually therapeutic for another person and yourself. Being therapeutic means opening new understanding, a sense of safety, openness, and care for everyone in the room that brings about change. I believe that it is only in the context of warm, responsive, and safe relationships that anyone is able to experience a fulfilling life. It is in safe relationships that allow us to navigate the inevitable pains and fears of life. It is also in those same relationships that we have someone to share the inevitable joy and peace with.
The most amazing, exciting, and simultaneously painful times are when a young professional's, or client's journey takes them out of our offices. Hopefully, they are more prepared for their life and relationships then when we first met them. I am left with the realization that my life will never be the same for having been with those people. I wouldn't want it any other way.