Therapists can refer clients to psychiatry on UpLift. Psychiatric providers are available to answer questions about medication, changing treatment plans, side effects, and more.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.


Through a collaborative approach, harm reduction works within the realities of our world and addresses those truths, rather than deny them.

Headshot of Heather Bowden, LCSW
Provider Spotlight

Get to Know Heather Bowden, LCSW

Heather Bowden, LCSW is a therapist on UpLift. She shares reminders to just be present, humble, and honest with clients as they find autonomy.

Get to Know Heather Bowden, LCSW
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist


min read


table of contents

UpLift’s “Get to Know” series features our providers—so other providers can get to know them, learn from each other, and connect. 

This month’s featured provider is Heather Bowden, LCSW.

What are you passionate about when it comes to therapy?

Some people say therapy is for everybody. Therapy, at its best, is for people who want therapy. For some people, therapy is healing, but for others healing is hiking or writing or traveling or animal rescue. 

I'm not here to define what’s healing for somebody but when people show up for therapy, I respect that they’re giving themselves permission to become the person they want to be. At times, that means trudging through a certain amount of messiness. 

My passion around therapy is choice, quality of life—supporting people in terms of finding their own self-compassion, love, their relationship with themselves. I want to help people expand and contract the lens of their life. It’s about being able to expand into the past and into the future, and then contract back to the present moment to create fluidity in their own life and relationship with themselves.

Hopefully, the process can be healing and empowering. They can have autonomy and choice over the life they want and the person they want to be based on the deck of cards they have. I feel honored to be part of it. 

What type of clients or areas do you specialize in working with?

I love working with a diversity of life experiences. Being a female therapist, most of my clients are female. There are many clients around my age, some who are older or younger. I’ve also enjoyed working with men, a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, rural and urban parts of the state, and unique cultural or ethnic diversity. I get a fuller experience by working with a variety of clients.

I’ve done a lot of work with teenagers. They’re funny, smart, and it's a really fascinating developmental period. It’s fundamental in terms of creating foundations of self-compassion and love, encouragement, removing shame or embarrassment, trial-and-error. It’s being a safe adult who cares about them. I think young people need that: Somebody who is interested in their life, who thinks seriously about what their dreams and their fears are. 

How do you believe change happens for a client? 

It can be spontaneous and it can be a lifelong process—often both at the same time. Sometimes, there is an instant change, and those moments can feel pretty profound but they don’t happen all the time. 

Even if they happen, there might be a regression back to old patterns, a moment of clarity that might be followed by a moment of fogginess again. I think people by nature tend to search for the silver bullet. That can mean searching for something instantaneous in a way that isn't always helpful. 

What works for one person might not work for someone else. Medication might work for one person but it doesn’t for some people, or it’s not what they’re looking for. Sometimes immediate change is about sleep or focusing on lifestyle. Eat enough calories, drink enough water, get enough sleep, move your body, stretch in the morning time. 

And then there's the lifelong journey stuff. That takes time. I try to encourage a mindset with a deep level of self-compassion. Maybe a little bit of existentialism, not the doom and gloom part. We're not here for very long. Our lives go quickly. It's important to have intention, and there are things that will just be a part of our journey. Some things come and circle back around over and over, and some things don't. Embrace the journey, the waves of it, the grief of it, the celebrations of it. That's the long view versus the immediate. We need both.

Are there any modalities or approaches you feel attached to?

A lot of therapists now are pretty eclectic and broad in their approaches. I would consider myself like that, too. I love to learn but I don't have to know everything. I don’t have to be the therapist for everyone. And I don't have to know everything as a therapist. 

That's important to remind myself because it can be easy to gravitate towards being the archetypal rescuer. I need to pull back from that and remember I just need to be here. Different models are a part of just being here. 

With families, I tend to use a Gestalt lens, though it can be difficult in telehealth. It’s about seeing the whole as more than the sum of its parts and emphasizing communication through people understanding themselves.

I really love imagery and visualizations. YouTube videos have guided imagery but I have found some people don’t enjoy it. It’s important for them to have a voice that feels familiar, so I’ve been doing some guided meditations in therapy. I’ve started playing around with writing my own guided imagery when I can’t find one that fits. 

What inspired you to get into therapy?

I never thought I would be a therapist. When I went back to school for social work, I didn’t think therapy was on the table. I've volunteered a lot in my life. I love volunteering but it’s not a living. I wanted a career where I could feel heart-driven while being able to pay my bills. Social work checked all of those boxes, and then I got a job working with teenagers and their families that was a therapy job. 

I just want to show up. When in doubt, people need people to show up. Just be consistent. If you say you're there to be an undistracted active listener, be that. I try to be that. 

What is your favorite resource to share with clients?

In terms of online resources, I send an email to my clients. I include resources about psychoeducation like cognitive distortions and guidance on how to do your personal value set. I have worksheets on values and some worksheets on coping skills and self-care

Values are a good starting point for therapy. It’s what grounds you and guides you. We go over learned values, and people can point out values that are taught to them and values that are core to them. 

What is the best therapy-related article or resource you’ve seen recently? 

The University College London did a study on serotonin levels. It was interesting and a reminder to be humble. We always need to update our software about what we think we know. 

The study said that this idea of a chemical imbalance being related to depression isn’t exactly true. It was an analysis that was made over decades. I was like, “Wow, we thought for so long that depression is related to serotonin but they’re saying no.”

I enjoyed reading that article because it's a reminder to not be too rigid and to maintain mental flexibility. The models are a practice of a theory, and theories are theories. We have to take things with a grain of salt. We have to trust that a certain theory and a certain practice of that theory is going to resonate with some people and not other people. 

It's always important to have humility and be able to say, “I don't know the answers, but let's just do the best we can with what we do know.” 

What is your favorite way to practice self-care that you’d recommend to other therapists? 

Animals have always been a central component in my life. My mom says that the first time I laughed was at our dogs playing. A big part of my self-care is being there for my animals.

My partner and I got married recently. We have a house that we’re working on. Remodeling a house is a great balance of being physical, a sort of yin-and-yang to therapy, where I’m sitting a lot. I took a class at a trade school to learn electrical wiring. I’d encourage people to take a class at a trade school. There are night classes for adults, and it's very fun. 

Walking—being in nature is really important to me. Also, I value cooking with my husband at night. Honestly, creating a life that feels simple and has the elements that are important to me—that to me is self-care. 

What’s the last book you read or what book did you read recently that you would recommend to anyone?

I tend to like stories, so maybe that’s why I gravitate towards guided imagery, symbols, metaphor. It resonates with me more, to be able to weave that through therapy. 

I enjoy the Jacob the Baker series by Noah Benshea. They’re small and lovely, with a certain amount of spiritual components but not Christian faith.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk—it looks dense but has great information. 

The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. It’s also short and simple for people to read. 

I also love The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. 

Why did you choose to use UpLift?

It's really just what I've looked for. I don't like dealing with insurance companies. If I have to, I have to but I don't want to. UpLift has been really awesome that way. 

Part of what I value about my work is getting to show up with a truly positive regard for somebody, without judgment, recognize my own stuff, and just be present. But I need balance because I can’t do that 40 hours a week. Autonomy was a pull for me in becoming a therapist. 

I care a lot about being trusted and having autonomy. I am focused on being ethical. I am aware when the laws change. I keep up with stuff. I want to be trusted as a professional—and UpLift does that. I feel supported and receive responses quickly whenever I need it. 

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About the author
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist

Eliana Reyes is a content strategist and writer at UpLift.

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