Relationship Barometer Expert Series – Jennifer Fitzpatrick, LICSW

Blog Feature Q&A: Expert Series


NAME: Jennifer Fitzpatrick, LICSW




  1. Before we take a deep dive into your expertise, can you share with us at a high-level what your typical day looks like as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker? I see about 5-7 patients in a day, for either a 45 or 55-minute session. When needed, I may follow up with their providers in the community, such as psychiatry, primary care or nutrition. I also provide referrals to community resources.
  2. When did you know you wanted to get into your line of work? When I was in college, I realized how fortunate I was growing up, and all of the opportunities I had. I spent time throughout my adolescence and young adulthood interacting with people not as fortunate, which made me want to give back and help others seek out their potential.
  3. Given your focus on helping others build healthy relationships, what would you say is the #1 quality one should seek out in a new romantic partner? Willingness. This is a term from DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and is described as: a commitment to actively participate in your part of the cosmic process and allow the world to be what it is, no matter what happens and to bring the attitude of full participation to your life. It’s like saying, “Yes, let’s do this! We’re in this together and I’m ready to do this with you”. It’s being ready for action.
  4. In your opinion, how does relational self-awareness play a role in maintaining a romantic relationship? After willingness comes the need for relational self-awareness. Once you are open and ready to participate, you learn the tools to understand the relationship dynamic. That is, what’s going on within yourself and your partner, how that impacts you, your partner and the relationship, and then learning to shift and communicate in order to meet halfway, if possible. It’s both parties doing what it takes to understand each other and the relationship, and make adjustments as appropriate. I think it’s important to remember that not all partners are a great fit, even if they’re doing the work. Sometimes couples therapy leads to each party going their separate way because that’s what makes the most sense. We’re all incredibly unique. The idea is to bend, not to break.
  5. What’s the best way for an individual to gain more relational self-awareness on a day-to-day basis? Practice mindfulness. This is one of the most powerful tools there is. By gaining insight into your thoughts and actions through listening to yourself and your surroundings, without judgment, or quick reactions, you can move to making the best choices for yourself and your relationship.

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