A Conversation with Jimmy Barker: a Professional Creative Becomes a Therapist

by | May 30, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

He describes the transformation as a profound one.

Graduating from a British university in 2005, Jimmy Barker had been a theater arts major. He worked in advertising, as an actor and later as a music manager. During the pandemic, he launched a luxury fashion brand, introducing the designs with a show that debuted at New York Fashion Week and in Paris. In his mid-thirties amidst a busy, and professionally successful creative life, he nevertheless found his day-to-day work increasingly less satisfying. 

Working with his own therapist who had been a student from Phillips, he identified psychotherapy itself as a possible new career path, one that would allow him to serve the larger community and align himself more closely with the values he has accrued with his study of Eastern philosophy and spirituality.

Researching multiple graduate schools in the Los Angeles area, Jimmy visited Phillips Graduate Institute, sitting in on a class with Phillips professor  Bobbi Jankovich. He was impressed- and decided to apply.

Today, he reports he is incredibly satisfied with both Phillips and the new career he has chosen. It allows him, he says, to be a lifelong learner, as well as useful to others. With strong affinity with the psychotherapeutic approaches of Carl Rogers and Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing, Jimmy finds a “not knowing” stance is proving the most successful way of creating relationships with his clients. He currently works as a trainee with teens and young people, populations with whom he thought there would be a high level of countertransference.  Luckily, he says, he has found his professors and peers as extremely supportive and helpful as he navigates these new professional frontiers.

Jimmy also shares that Phillips Graduate Institute’s unique case conference technique has made a huge impact on him as a person and as a future psychotherapist. With a two-way mirror, the case conference program allows students to watch the lead therapist work with a client. Later, the students are allowed to meet with the client too– and provide therapy. Everyone who participates, whether as a client or student, describes this as an incredibly powerful and positive experience.

When asked if he have any advice for future students, Jimmy smiles. “Come to observe a class. Read books on psychotherapy. This is an incredibly creative, the most creative career you may ever have.”

 He looks forward to ultimately having a private practice. Given his obvious empathy and passion for learning, it is clear this too will be a successful career for Jimmy. We look forward to watching him thrive!