Faces of Tia
Meet Julia Hunt, LCSW, Tia Therapist
Where did you grow up and what brought you to NYC?
I grew up in Madison, WI, a college town in the middle of the US. It’s a pretty city that happens to also be the capital. A unique feature that contributes to its beauty is that the downtown area is an isthmus, meaning it is surrounded by two relatively large lakes. Another fun fact: The Onion is from Madison. I have family in NYC and would visit a couple of times a year as a child. I was smitten with the energy, even back then, so as soon as I finished my undergraduate schooling I moved there.
What drew you to become a therapist?
I moved to NYC thinking that I wanted to go into educational policy or prison reform. My undergraduate degree is in Sociology, so my thinking was quite macro. In order to tackle policy, I quickly realized that I needed to get an on-the-ground understanding of what the needs were. A graduate degree had always been a goal, so I began to explore additional schooling. Social work seemed to be a great fit. It extends from the micro to macro levels, understanding the importance of relationships in promoting social growth, change, and empowerment. It’s continual learning where the knowledge base focuses on human development and behavior, as well as the complex interactions between social, economic, and cultural institutions. Once I started practicing, I fell hard, realizing what a privilege it was to be able to hear so many stories first-hand. Now I get to work alongside a diverse group of individuals, helping to enhance functioning and well-being.
What do you find most challenging about navigating behavioral healthcare?
Navigating behavioral healthcare is complicated. Difficulties arise in searching for and connecting with providers, costs, insurance, and billing, continuity of care, referrals, and more. The challenges seem almost endless, and the current system has not made it easy. The bright side is that despite challenges, many patients have been able to get connected and receive support.
Telehealth has been especially helpful in a time like this. Providers have been able to reach patients despite quarantines and social distancing. This is so important. One of the challenges is the limits of state licensure and its impact on the ability to deliver services long-term to patients who might have moved locations due to the pandemic.
What kind of behavioral health care do you specialize in?
I have worked extensively in both inpatient and outpatient settings with diverse populations including, young adults, adults, older adults, couples, and family systems. I specialize in working through familial and professional pressures and complicated dynamics, life transitions, motivation, depression, anxiety, general feelings of emotional distress, self-esteem, coping with new diagnoses, illness, and/or hospitalization, end-of-life care, and bereavement, racially/culturally complex stressors, and trauma.
What does “whole women’s health” mean to you?
Women have always been told what is important in terms of their health. To me, practicing with a “whole women’s health” means giving a woman the opportunity to identify what is important herself, empowering her to determine what “whole women’s health” might feel like for her, and being able to grow with, and understand, that her meaning may change over time.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself over the last decade?
Physical movement/exercise is incredibly important for me to feel my best. It drastically affects my overall wellness.
How do you practice self-care?
For me, self-care revolves around self-compassion. This is something that I have realized is increasingly important. I can be hard on myself. Part of easing up means carving out time for myself to just be instead of doing constantly. The trick is learning to feel okay with it.
This is me in travel-mode. Travel energizes me and leaves a healthy mark; I learn so much. I recognize it's a privilege to travel, and I try my best to express my gratitude for these experiences. It's something I've missed most these days.
Why did you decide to practice at Tia?
I worked in a hospital system for the majority of my career. Given its large and traditional structure, it was challenging to push the innovation button quickly. While I learned a lot and am grateful for the experience there, I began to recognize how much technology is changing how we all interact with the world and wanted to be a part of the momentum. Tia specifically spoke to me because I am passionate about women’s health and systemic equity. I am excited to be a part of a team and mission that is pushing the boundaries, integrating technology, and shaping quality care through the eyes of women and their needs.
The social work framework focuses on seeing people in their environments. We all have multiple layers and operate differently depending on the context. A collaborative care model, like Tia, supports this. Each provider or specialty has a different approach, asks different questions, sees patients in a different setting, and may obtain a different understanding. Working together, we can provide an incredibly rich level of support.
Do you have a health goal you are working towards?
Saying “no”. Boundaries are so important for health and wellbeing. I tend to overextend myself and am perpetually working on this.
What part does mental health play in being a “well-woman” mean to you?
I am the sum of all of my parts and believe mental health is as important as all of the others. As such, it plays an integral role in being a “well-woman” for me.