Jennifer Fang Brehm
Licensed Clinical, Marriage and Family Therapist
Owner and Principal Psychotherapist
Master of Science in Family Science
University of Maryland, College Park
Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies
with Honors, Magna Cum Laude
Pennsylvania State University, University Park
Additional Language Spoken: Mandarin
Mondays - Thursdays 10am-7pm
About half of the clients I see are couples or family members and half are individuals.
Presenting problems most often include:
- conflict resolution
- decision making
- trust/ infidelity
- ADD/ ADHD
- life transitions:
life transitions may include career transition, retirement, empty nesting, new baby or adopted child, launching into adulthood, preparing for marriage, divorce, remarriage, or preparing for a romantic relationship. What I love about my work is I get to learn about and learn from and see positive growth in a variety of people across all different ages, life stages, relationship/ family compositions, ethnicities and spiritual affiliations.
Intercultural couples and families, Work and family stress, Parenting, Play therapy with children, Grief and loss, Self Confidence, Men's Communication, Therapy in Mandarin
What happens in a typical therapy session?
While therapy is tailored to meet the unique needs of my clients for each particular session, there are a few common phases. At the beginning, I use qualitative interview get-to-know-you questions and sometimes quantitative assessments to get a clear picture of each person, the problem history and present state of circumstances. At the first session, I will ask my clients about what they do with their time, what recharges/ energizes them, a history leading up to the problem(s), what their contribution and attempts to resolving those problems have been, and what’s worked and what has not. Then I summarize my understanding of the people and issues involved, explain a working hypothesis and discuss a plan for our work together. In early sessions, I will usually map out clients’ family structure and any salient patterns by drawing an intergenerational family map, called a genogram. In the middle phase, we do the “hard work” which includes check ins about any out of session work, updates on the attempted actions, reinforcements for what works, instruction and practice of relevant coping skills, dives into deeper layers of meaning. In the end phase of therapy, we consolidate the growth and gains so clients continue to do what works, remember why and how it does, work on acceptance of what cannot be or has not yet changed, and express any hopes and wishes that remain for the future.
What do you think allows change to happen?
Information, insight, perspective coupled with desire and willingness to try something new, or to remember what used to work but was forgotten, then doing it. Noticing what works now and reinforcement to continue doing those things. Being open and flexible to adjust when new circumstances arise.
What do you think gets in the way of change?
A lack of self awareness or at least lack of willingness to take personal responsibility. When we assign responsibility to others more than ourselves, we fail to see our agency or power in the situation and thus we give away our power and leave ourselves powerless.
How can you tell if therapy is effective?
When my clients tell me so. Also, when they are done with one topic and move onto a new topic, need sessions less and less frequently, and let me know they are ready to terminate therapy. I have been a therapy client myself and feel most grateful to my therapist when I have internalized the questions coping abilities and am empowered to be independent.
What made you interested in becoming a psychotherapist?
Consciously, having had very rewarding personal relationships, experiencing the empowering impacts of deep, intimate communication and human connection. Subconsciously, I would suspect family of origin conflict I wished I could help resolve and my parents’ divorce has something to do with it too.
How do you like to spend time outside of work?
I enjoy quality time with my husband, our daughter, and fur-baby Labrador Retriever, as well as the rest of our family and friends. My most frequent pastimes include cooking, journaling, ballroom dancing, running, being out in nature, travelling, reading, napping and binging on a good Netflix series.
Married Female, age 40s
Silver Spring, MD
“Jen is such a calming, clarifying influence! She helped us move past a crisis in our marriage and reach a point to rebuild. We not only improved trust and communication, we improved the strength and depth of our team- a much stronger unit now! We haven't been this excited about our marriage and lives together since we were newlyweds 15+ years ago."
Single Female, age 20s
Silver Spring, MD
"She really focused on the positive. (I mean all therapists do!) But with Jennifer, she helped me alter my way of thinking and seeing positive outcomes of difficult situations."
Married Male, 40s
Silver Spring, MD
Jen is great at validating feelings that I had that I felt guilty for having. She really helped me to open up through understanding what I was feeling was not somehow wrong. Jen is also great at tying in and contextualizing relevant psychological theory into her sessions. This has been my first experience with therapy and it greatly exceeded every expectation I had as well as countered any stigma I had associated with therapy