The Marriage and Family Therapist
Meredith McGarvey, Meredith McGarvey, LMFT
MEREDITH MCGARVEY TOOK A different path back into the professional world,
one that involved a lot of education and trying something new. Before having
kids, she worked as a corporate sales manager for Hyatt hotels. “I had always
imagined myself continuing to work after I had children, but the challenge
was finding something in my field that I could do part time,” she says.
When her first child was 9 months old, the family relocated to London for her
husband’s job. They were there for eight years, and McGarvey could not work
because she didn’t have a work visa. She took this opportunity to take a few
classes and look at options for a second career.
“At the time I had no idea what that career would look like, but taking classes
certainly kept my brain stimulated,” she says. “After my second psychology class,
I was hooked.”
McGarvey started talking to professionals and professors about careers in
psychology and did some volunteer work as a phone counselor with a help line
for children. “I realized that if it took me several years to complete my master’s
in counseling, my kids would be at a more independent age and I could start my
new full-time career,” she says.
After seven years — four at San Francisco State earning a master’s degree in
counseling and three doing fieldwork — McGarvey is now a licensed marriage
and family therapist with a private practice in Larkspur.
“I work with adults, couples and adolescents, with a specialty in helping families transition through divorce and helping teens with anxiety and stress,” she
says. “I also work in Marin County high schools as the program coordinator of
TeenScreen, which identifies teens at risk for emotional and social difficulties.”
But she feels the benefits of going back to school and work far outweigh the
costs. “I am so happy that I have a fulfilling career now that my kids are in high
school and busy with their own lives. Along the way, they’ve learned some really
valuable skills like cooking, cleaning and feeling a sense of competency,” she
adds. “Overall, going back to work has made me a better mom, a role model for
my kids and a much happier person.”
• Stay connected and keep learning while out of work. Take
classes to get back up to speed or to see what interests you.
• Maintain contacts with your old career network if you might
go back to your prior line of work.
• Make contacts in your new line of work if you are thinking of