Get to Know Meghan Semler

by | Therapists

Tell us a little about you.

I was born and raised near Philadelphia and attended undergrad at Kenyon College where I played soccer, studied Chinese Religions, and spent a semester abroad in Taiwan. After college I worked at a brokerage firm in DC and then for the conservation branch of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I took a ten-year break from the workforce to raise my kids before deciding to get my master’s degree at USD in marriage and family therapy.

What inspired you to work as a therapist?

I’ve always been very curious about human behavior: how individuals think, what motivates them, how people can experience the same event in wildly different ways, but my interest in counseling became clear after working with a truly wonderful therapist. She helped me to cope with anxiety about my son’s chronic health issues, and to realize this experience was compounded by unprocessed grief from the loss of my father over a decade earlier. Healing that pain through therapy transformed my life, and I decided to become a therapist so that I could facilitate that process for others.

What’s one personal value you hold dear as a therapist and why is it important to you?

Humor 🙂 The therapeutic process can be challenging and heavy. Finding moments to laugh with my clients often leads to deeper connection, and encourages creativity and authenticity. Humor can soften us to other perspectives, increase our self-awareness, bring levity, and promote healing. Laughter also stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, so humor can physically relax and ground us.

What is your approach to making change in therapy?

I believe that change begins with a deeper understanding of the connection between the past and the present, and therapy provides a safe place to explore this connection with openness and self-compassion. Along with a deeper understanding, learning new coping tools and skills allows us to approach our relationships in new ways that are healthier and more productive.

After a long work week, how do you de-stress and unwind?

I love to spend time enjoying nature. Mountains, desert, or coast, I feel most grounded when camping, hiking or swimming. Listening to music also helps me to de-stress, and I have a playlist for almost any occasion or mood. My favorite way to unwind is by dancing, whether out with friends or in the kitchen with my family. I also love to read and watch movies, but most of my free time is spent exploring with my kids or cheering loudly and proudly for them at their games!

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