Jessica Fener LCSW-C
Co-Founder & Owner of the CoTenacious Collective
Clinical Level Therapist
Maryland Board Approved Supervisor for
Social Workers and Professional Counselors
My story begins in 2007 when I graduated from University of Maryland School of Social Work and became a licensed social worker. I decided to go this route because I wanted to help people but I actually had no idea what that really looked like. To me, I wanted to help solve everyone’s problems and for some reason I thought that was realistic. I quickly realized that this is not what this profession is about and had to figure out how I best fit in this world.
I started my career working in school settings with at-risk youth. I provided therapy as well as connected my clients to resources. I found this work equally rewarding and challenging, but after 6 years and having 3 small children I decided to take a leave of absence to focus on my family. When I returned to the field, I decided that I wanted to focus more on the adult population in a private practice setting. I have really enjoyed this change of pace and all of the challenges and learning experiences it has presented over the years.
This change of focus challenged me to yet again find my place in yet another area in this field. My work with at-risk youth was very much solution-focused and brief. As I said in the beginning, I became a psychotherapist because I wanted to help people but what does that mean when working with this new population? I quickly realized that helping people does not mean that I solve all their problems, it means that I help them gain the tools to work through their problems in a healthy, effective way, can advocate for their needs and have healthy boundaries in their relationships. My role is not to lead you through your journey, but to support you so you can pave your own path to your destination.
I have a great deal of experience working with anxiety, depression, bipolar, and trauma although I have worked with pretty much every diagnosis at this point in my career. I primarily use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy and have been sprinkling in some Internal Family Systems with my clients. My style is very client centered and I provide a safe space for my clients to take the lead in where they would like to go. As my clients’ sense of security with me increases I will often become a little more direct when needed. Most of my focus has been on individual clients but I do have experience and very much enjoy working with couples and families.
I have learned so much in the past 14 years when it comes to mental health and working with all different populations. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that this is not a one size fits all field. What works for some does not work for all but safety is my number one priority in my practice. I believe that clients feeling safe in their therapeutic relationship sets a strong foundation for them to begin growth and healing. I spend several sessions building rapport with my clients to establish a trusting relationship. I truly consider it a privilege to be a part of my clients’ growth and seeing them reach their goals.
Let’s get personal: Cis Woman, Born and raised on Long Island, Have lived in Maryland since graduating high school, Towson University for undergrad , University of Maryland School of Social Work for graduate school, Married with 3 children including a set of identical twins! Dog mom to an adorable mini-goldendoodle who might make guest appearances, Passion for all things fitness related