I met Dr. Kathy Vilardi, PhD, in late October 2001. I wanted to get Jennifer started in therapy as soon as possible. Dr. Vilardi was the third therapist on a list of practitioners that I was meeting on Jen’s behalf. I had done therapy for 10 months in the second year of my marriage to Ted, and it had been an excellent experience.
When I met Dr. Vilardi, she asked me why I didn’t go back into New York to my previous therapist. I answered that I believed there were good people everywhere. Also, with three very small children, running into New York, even for a day, was difficult at best. She asked me why I was interviewing therapists, and I replied that I’d had a lot of bad dentistry. (Meaning: not everyone who hangs a shingle is good at what they do.) Analysis or therapy is a true relationship that requires chemistry. The patient and therapist must connect in order for the process to work. And true to my belief that there are good people everywhere, Dr. Vilardi proceeded to blow my mind with her depth of knowledge, her extensive education, and her vast experience. She effectively rooted out my situation with excellent questions. I had found someone who was an expert in her craft right here in Fair Haven. I went there for Jennifer and left with an appointment for myself. I had found my match. Thank you, Teddy.
For Jennifer I continued to look and found the perfect match in Stephanie Hagadorn, LCSW. Stephanie was a combination of Mama Cass meets Granny Goodwitch. She was warm, artistic, seasoned, and alternative using a therapeutic technique called Sand Tray Play. Dr. Vilardi and I managed Jennifer’s therapy with Stephanie, giving Jennifer the benefit of two therapists and one very caring mom. Jennifer is an anomaly. Since the age of 7, she has been given respectful consideration as the individual that she is. She has been given the straight story on every level all while being fully supported by intelligent, professional and genuinely caring practitioners.
I now know that I had spent the first 40 years of my life trying to fit ‘in the box,’ a box I never belonged in in the first place. 9/11 jettisoned me out of that box never to return again. This is one of my favorite silver linings from my 9/11 experiences.