Joni Mathias

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Joni Mathias, M.A. (They/Them) is a nonbinary therapist-in-training pursuing their doctorate in clinical psychology at Adler University. Joni believes in the healing power of relationships, and aims to create a warm and safe therapeutic environment through validation, collaboration, humor, and respect. Joni takes a holistic approach to therapy, integrating theories and techniques from Adlerian Psychology, Psychodynamic Theory, Positive Psychology, Feminist Theory, Play Therapy, Restorative Practices, and Strength-Based approaches. They are passionate about working with queer and trans youth in order to help them explore and grow into their truest selves. Joni has experience in treating individuals living with ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Sleep and Wake difficulties, and Relational Trauma.

Education and Credentials

  • B.A. in Psychology, Northwestern University
  • M.A. in Psychology, Adler University

What do you like about being a therapist?

I have the best job in the world. Grad school is too hard and too costly to not enjoy being a therapist, and I knew that long before I started. When I was a kid at summer camp, I wanted to be just like my camp counselors when I grew up. But when I worked my first summer as a camp counselor, it didn’t “click” the way I thought it would. It wasn’t fun at all! I had no idea how much hard work it would be.

But when I did the hard work, something happened. Somehow, despite working for $0.40/hr (someone did the math once and we never forgave him), I was having more fun than I ever had before! What happened? I stopped doing what a child thought a camp counselor did, and started doing what camp counselors actually do: forge strong, positive relationships, build community, teach useful skills, and validate, validate, validate. I didn’t know it then, but these are the most simple and fundamental skills necessary for therapy. And as I learned more from Adlerian psychology, Play Therapy theories, Restorative Practices, and experience, I found more and more parallels between the two fields.

Being a therapist makes me feel like I’m finally Home again. The same way I felt every summer for a long time. There’s nothing else like it for me.

What do you like to do when you are not working? What do you do for fun?

When I’m not working, I like to write music, short fiction, and choose-your-own-adventure stories. I also love playing music (an hour in the drum practice studio adds a day to my life), playing video games, and cooking delicious meals for my loved ones.

What are you excited about? What is your passion? What do you want to learn more about?

Nothing gets me excited like self-care! Whether it’s doing intentional “nothing,” getting organized for the week, trying a new recipe, or spending quality time with my friends, I love spending time resting and relaxing. I’m passionate about living, laughing, and loving, and I’m not afraid to sound cliché. Something I want to learn more about is the relationship and interaction between trauma and neurodivergence.

I work with

  • Children (6-10)
  • Adolescents (11-17)
  • Emerging Adults (18-24)
  • Adults
  • LGBTQIA+ Individuals

Therapeutic Modalities

  • Client-Centered
  • Relational
  • Contemporary Psychodynamic
  • Adlerian Therapy
  • Play Therapy techniques
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Strength-Based

Areas of Interest

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and Mood
  • LGBTQIA+ Identity Exploration
  • Sleep Difficulties
  • Stress
  • Relational Trauma

What do you do for self-care?

  • Listen to or play music
  • Cooking
  • Mindfulness
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Board, video, and tabletop roleplaying games
  • Low-impact stretching + deep breathing

Favorite books

  • This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
  • Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • The Broken Earth Series, by N.K. Jemisin

Individuals / Authors / Theorists who have influenced my work

  • Alfred Adler
  • Hannah Levinson
  • Karl Rohnke

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