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 Paul Eaton
Provider Spotlight

Get to Know Paul Eaton, LCSW

Paul Eaton, LCSW is a therapist on UpLift. He celebrates the process of getting to know and to support people’s progress—giving back the support he experienced.

Get to Know Paul Eaton, LCSW
Eliana Reyes, Content Strategist


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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 Paul Eaton, LCSW.

What are you passionate about when it comes to therapy?

There will always be some stigma related to therapy and people who are in therapy. It's amazing the amount of people I work with who have never tried therapy before, which is a good thing that they’re trying it. I talk to them about people who are close to them and how reluctant those people are to try therapy because they're nervous or scared or don't want to be seen a certain way. I cannot emphasize enough how rewarding therapy has been on both sides of the encounter—both as a client and as a practitioner. Anything I can do to help overcome that stigma, I will be glad to do so.

I love being able to help people explore their emotions and move from a point in their lives. Watching a client’s progression to someone who's more sure and confident in their emotions and their abilities: It's really wonderful. 

Also, just the sheer variety of people that you work with and how it humanizes them: To see people who share significantly different beliefs—I see them as human beings. Therapy connects me to and connects other people to who they really are and their humanity.

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

OCD is a big thing that I specialize in, mostly because it's something that I carry myself as a diagnosis. So I've become very familiar with it. I also specialize in treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s been a broad spectrum of clients over the past 15 to 20 years. 

I’m working on becoming more familiar with dialectical behavioral therapy to work with people with borderline personality disorder. I find it fascinating that it’s the only therapy that works for borderline. 

I have found that I work with a lot of people who have been in abusive relationships at some point in their lives, whether it be as children or as adults. 

How do you believe change happens for a client? 

They have to want it. I can't talk someone into doing or being something that they're not: I can only help them find what they're looking for already. 

Sometimes you’ll have someone come in because a person in their lives encouraged them to get therapy. The more they explore one thing, maybe a relationship, the more we’ll get into other things, like childhood issues. 

It can take people a while to get to that point. You start sessions wondering, “Where are we going with everything today?” and they’ll put themselves on the path. I just help guide them there. You can go in for one thing, and then end up getting to the root cause of a great many things. As paths appear, we keep walking down and exploring them. 

That's how therapy helped me personally, and I like to give that back to people.

Are there any modalities or approaches you feel attached to?

I'll throw in CBT when it comes to OCD, but I always start with motivational interviewing, and then strengths-based therapy. They’re ones that really worked for me as a client myself. 

I like to build people up and identify, “What are the positives of a situation?” as opposed to “What are the negatives?”

How can we use those positives to really push ourselves forward, and to ask ourselves questions? Motivational interviewing is good in guiding the therapist along that direction. Some self-divulgences—especially as you move forward with the therapeutic rapport—can be really beneficial and useful. It really depends on what the individual person needs. 

What inspired you to get into therapy?

It was my therapist, actually. In middle school, I had a lot of trouble with anger. I remember going into the guidance counselor's office, and they did not know how to work with me. I had said something in seventh grade that had upset them enough where they required me to see a therapist before I went back to school. 

I remember talking to the therapist who I happened to go to. He was wonderful. He talked to me like a human being and not like some angry freak. And I realized that I liked the way I feel when I talked with him.

I went to undergrad for psychology, and I had a professor tell me, “Paul, if you really want to help people, psychology is not the direction you should go in. It’s social work.” And I got really upset with him at the time but he was right. 

I saw social work as a negative profession until I started getting into social work itself. I took positions at community services boards, working in elementary schools, as a therapeutic day treatment specialist. I really got to explore what social work was and blossomed from there. My brain does not work in a scientific way. I'm much more of a human interaction-type person.

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

I love running. I can go for long distances and find it really soothing. 

When I go running, I talk through things—sometimes even out loud. It's a chance for me to process emotions and it's kind of a form of meditation for me. But it does give me that time to myself. When I try to run as often as I can without hurting myself, it's something that I enjoy. 

Between work and being a parent, I find that I have to recharge in the car ride to and from work. But it’s still enough. I listen to a lot of music or podcasts—not about anything heavy but about stuff like movies and sports. I'm giving my mind a chance to rest before I work with people on significant issues, like housing instability. They're dealing with a lot. I can't afford to be overwhelmed for them. 

People are surprised when I tell them I'm an introvert. But I definitely have to take that time to recharge.

What is your favorite local resource to share with clients?

Comfort Zone Camp all day. It’s basically a grief camp for children who are aged 7 to 18. The groups are made up of kids coming together talking about feelings, getting to the root of their grief. If you're looking to volunteer and be around people and help out, it is one of the best things you could ever hope to do. 

There's a Richmond running group that's run by one of my good friends, Anthony Clary, and is called We Off The Couch. They work to engage the African American community, specifically with running, but it's open to everybody. They are a wonderful support. Anthony is incredible, and it’s just great to do activities where you’re with a group of positive people. 

Then for housing-related issues: Some of the folks I work with are kind of rural and far away from catchment areas. Virginia Supportive Housing is a great option for helping people who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. 

For veterans, there's Liberation Veteran Services, which is a good men's shelter, whereas women would go to Safe Haven

What is the best therapy-related article or resource that you've read recently?

A client told me about a program called Save a Warrior. It's for veterans who have significant suicidal ideations. It's an intensive program, and they provide a lot of literature to veterans about mental health, that they have passed along to me.

Because of my clients, there’s also a couple of things I’m in the process of learning more about, like how to deal with someone who’s narcissistic and what tools you can utilize. 

Something else that I enjoy talking about with people, and if any clients are interested in doing it, are the Myers-Briggs and Enneagram tests. Myers-Briggs is wonderful in terms of internal motivations, whereas Enneagram tests help identify external motivations. Combined, I think they do an immersive job of helping people understand how they operate—not who you are. 

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

I would recommend three books: The first is called Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, which really opened my eyes about the state of the world. 

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir by Cupcake Brown is another book I recommend. She was born in a difficult situation and got herself to success in her field. Her description of what it was like to use cocaine for the first time has always stuck with me and helps me understand people who have had addictions. 

And then a really off-the-wall book that's getting a little bit dated: World War Z by Max Brooks. It's an incredible socio-political view of the globe in the midst of a catastrophe. It’s fascinating how it describes the way different countries would react and interact in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. And yeah, it's hard sci-fi, but it's got a lot to say that you would not expect from it. 

Why did you choose to use UpLift?

It was recommended by a coworker who said she used it, and that it was very successful and easy for her to use. UpLift is very user-friendly. I'm not tech savvy, so for me to say that, it has to be good. I've also recommended it to other people. 

In my other job, I don’t always get to be as clinical. UpLift lets me use that part of my skill set as a practitioner. I did always really want to be a therapist.

It's been a really great career choice for me. I have found it to be very rewarding. And I really do love what I get to do with UpLift. It's easily one of my favorite jobs I've ever had.

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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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