Meet Sydney Tomita!
Sydney is an associate marriage and family therapist who has been a part of the Family Guidance and Therapy team for 2 years. She has a passion for working with teenagers. Sydney enjoys being able to be a part of this transitional period in her client's lives, and feels that she is able to connect to their youthful and evolving spirits. At the Family Guidance and Therapy Center of Southern California, each team member works from a set of personal values that drive client care. In the interview below, learn why Sydney decided to become a clinician, the values that she brings to the FGTC team, and what challenges her on a personal level.
Kindness represents the age old saying of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's about trying to have compassion and understanding for everyone we encounter throughout our day-to-day lives because everyone is struggling with something, even if we are unaware.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
California native. Youngest of 3 girls. Newly married. Dog mom. Netflix obsessed. Wine enthusiast.
What inspired you to work as a therapist?
I found myself being curious about human behavior from a young age, mainly from observing my own family's dynamics. I later took a psychology course in high school and nothing in that class ever felt like work...it was all so interesting that it propelled me to major in psychology in college. Every step along the way has led me to be in this helping profession and although it often feels incredibly challenging...at the end of the day, I feel grateful that I am in a position to exact change, no matter how small.
Explain your personal value words and why they are important to you.
Kindness: To me, kindness represents the age old saying of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It's about trying to have compassion and understanding for everyone we encounter throughout our day-to-day lives because everyone is struggling with something, even if we are unaware. It's important to me because I know when I am met with kindness from strangers, it either keeps me on my path of happiness for that day or it makes me feel a little bit better if I'm not feeling so great. It's about pushing good into the world and hoping that any act of kindness, no matter how small, will influence someone else to act kindly as well.
Growth: I think that we should be growing everyday, if we're doing life right. I don't think growth necessarily means huge changes...for me, it means really small, gradual steps but always towards the overall goal. This is really important to me, especially as a clinician, because I always want to be learning...so as long as I'm learning, I think I'm growing.
Gratitude: This value has gotten me to see many of the peaks in my life because it has gotten me up and out of many of my valleys. There are so many things that could (and do) go wrong throughout our lives...so many unexpected obstacles that pop up...but for me, stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture (aka all of the wonderful things I have to be grateful for in my life...IE: my loving I think what is incredibly unique is the fact that I get to see my clients for long periods of time, multiple times a week, in their homes!!!! It creates a fast-track for getting to know them, their routines, and their family dynamics. It gives me a lot of insight as a clinician and I really value it. can. family and friends, my husband, my health, my dog, etc) always brings me this feeling of peace that no other tool in my psychology belt.
What is unique about your work with clients?
I think what is incredibly unique is the fact that I get to see my clients for long periods of time, multiple times a week, in their homes!!!! It creates a fast-track for getting to know them, their routines, and their family dynamics. It gives me a lot of insight as a clinician and I really value it.
What’s the most challenging and rewarding part of your work?
Currently, the most challenging part is often feeling like I am not having any effect on my clients. It really wears on me sometimes to reflect on my work week and feel like all I did was hang out with a bunch of kids that didn't want to hang out with me.
The most rewarding part is those times where I see a glimmer of change or a sign that my kids do care...they feel so few and far between but they are enough to keep me going. I love and care for my kids so incredibly much...even when they make me want to rip my hair out. I have developed quite an attachment to each of them that I find myself thinking about them incessantly whenever I have some time away from them.
After a long work week, how do you de-stress or unwind?
Date nights with husband, day trips to the beach with my dog, catch up on tv shows, cuddles in bed with the family, go for runs.
Tell us a funny story about yourself!
I have a real fear of authority (possibly created from my parents...who knows) but it started when I was real young. I was on a car ride somewhere with my mom and I had tied my shoelaces together in the back seat. When we parked...we were late, so my mom was yelling at me to hurry...I was too afraid to tell her what I had done so I pretended that I wanted to hop all the way there. She thought I was ridiculous so I tried to run, then I fell (because obviously....my shoes were tied together) and scraped my knee. The scar is still visible to this day.