Dr. Jennice Vilhauer: clinical psychologist, author & Creator, Future Directed Therapy

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Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the developer of Future Directed Therapy. She is the author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind's Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life, and a featured expert for Psychology Today where her blog Living Forward is published. She is a clinical faculty member in the School of Medicine at Emory University and most recently served for several years as the director of the outpatient psychotherapy program at Emory Healthcare. She was formerly the director of psychology training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her undergraduate training in psychology at UCLA and her graduate training at Fordham University, followed by postdoctoral training at Columbia University.

What do I do best?

I always try to communicate in the clearest and simplest way possible. If people can’t understand what you are saying there is no point saying it. I believe truth is simple and present everywhere. If something seems overly complicated you should probably question it.

What makes me the best version of myself?

I question everything and always think for myself. No matter what anyone else tells me, I must see it or understand it through my own mental lens before I accept it as my own truth. I think it is dangerous when people form opinions without truly understanding.  

What are my aspirations?

a.    Personal: Be kind whenever possible and always try to see the best in people. I believe the ripple effects of even a small kindness can be profound.

b.    Professionally: I want to continue teaching and writing books that help provide people with insights to learn about themselves so they can feel empowered in their lives.

My Biggest Success?

Every time I’ve helped someone to see the positive in themselves and find something to be optimistic about in their own life that is a success I feel good about and there really isn’t anything better than that. On a personal note, when I faced my fear of public speaking and was able to give a Tedx talk without passing out, I knew that I could pretty much do anything.

My Most Challenging Moment?

One of my most difficult personal decisions was walking away from the safety and the constraints of an academic job and deciding to work for myself. It is safe to have the legitimacy of a big institution behind you and your work, but at some point it will confine and limit your ability to express your ideas and it takes a lot of self-confidence and courage to stand on your own. I’ve always been the person who needs to figure out how to do it my own way. We’ll see how that turns out…

(Click to watch Ted Talk)

My Motto?

Always be kind.

Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Barack and Michelle Obama. They are role models for being strong, intelligent, respectful, and dignified.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

London and Phukett, Thailand are my favorite places I’ve been so far.  On my bucket list, I still plan to go on a safari in Kenya and to one day travel all through India.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Google is my most favorite invention ever. I probably use it a hundred times a day.  Anytime I have a question about anything at all, it is instantly answered. I always say Google is like talking to an all knowing God except you actually get a response.

My Current Passions?

I tend to be passionate about a lot of things, cooking, exercise, travel, books, nature…if I don’t feel passionate about something I am probably not doing it. Right now, I am investing my time in learning to write dramatic fiction. It is a new challenge for me and I think you can teach people a lot by telling very compelling stories. I am also obsessed with Orange Theory classes, best work out ever!