MEET: Evi Pover, a licensed professional counselor

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First Posted: 5/4/2015

Evi Pover is a psychotherapist and licensed professional counselor working for two school districts, at five different schools, throughout the Lehigh Valley. She works with students from elementary through high school levels. Pover, 41, is a native of Arlington, Virginia, and is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, where she received a degree in psychology and Spanish literature. She received a master’s degree in clinical counseling from the New York Institute of Technology. She has a son, Dan, 14. They live in Tannersville.

What first drew you into the field of psychology? My mother had been reading books about Ted Bundy, the serial killer. As a child, I was an advanced reader, so I used to read the picture inserts in the books, and I remember thinking, “Why would someone do that?” That was always my question. I was only 7 or 8 years old, and I was always drawn to true crime. I’ve always said it was a good thing that I ended up doing this, because the only other thing I might want to do is make coffee for people. Working at Starbucks would be my other passion in life, so I was fortunate to be able to do this as a career.

What do you enjoy about it? I like the helping aspect. And I like that it’s a challenge. The client base that I work with is very challenging. This isn’t easy stuff that we’re dealing with. My specialty has always been children and teenagers. And don’t ask me why, but I get along really well with the angry ones or those that have family problems. I used to do court-ordered counseling with kids that were in the juvenile justice system. Kids that don’t trust easily, that’s my specialty – getting them to trust. It’s difficult, but in a way that I feel confident. The best part is that when I go to work each day, I don’t know what it’s going to bring. I could walk in and think I’m going to have a pretty routine day, and there’s a crisis, or maybe something unexpectedly good happens. I like that it’s unpredictable.

What do you do in your free time? When you’re self-employed, you don’t get a lot of free time. This time of year, I work an average of about 15 hours a day and I really only get one day off per week. But in the summer, I travel with my son. So that’s a really nice trade-off. There’s a high burnout rate in my profession, so you have to have that time. I like to travel, and I’m actively involved in dog rescue down in Mexico. I’m now running a non-profit with a friend that lives down there. My son is interested in being a veterinarian. He was 9 when we first went there, and it started out with him just liking to pet the animals, but it’s turned into something where he’s getting a lot of experience doing vet tech work at a very young age. We combine our vacations with service.

Any hobbies? Do you collect anything? I love old children’s series books, like “Nancy Drew.” I have every “Nancy Drew,” and that goes back to my love of reading when I was a kid.

Favorite music? I grew up in the ‘80s, so Duran Duran was what I really loved and still do.

Favorite color? Pink.

Favorite city? Zurich, Switzerland. My grandmother was Swiss, and we’d go there about every five years or so.

Favorite vacation spot? Mexico.

Favorite thing about NEPA? It’s been a great place to raise my son. He’s with a nice group of kids in a good school. And we’ve also got the proximity to New York and Philadelphia. When we want the city, we can go, but I can live in a place where I can find a parking place. And the cost of living is excellent.

Favorite food? Fried chicken. But I don’t eat it a lot. It’s not good for me.

All-time favorite movies? “Goodfellas” and “Shawshank Redemption.”

Favorite TV show? I really love television. I like “Secrets and Lies,” and my all-time favorites are probably the “Brady Bunch” and the “Golden Girls.”

Favorite holiday? Halloween.

First car? A Navy blue 1982 or 1983 Chrysler Le Baron convertible. It was my Dad’s. I loved that car.

Favorite quote or catchphrase? “No regrets.”

Biggest pet peeve? Negativity. I think our country has this Chicken Little syndrome that the sky is falling and it’s so horrible to live here. No, it’s a really great place to live. And if you travel, you know that.

Guilty pleasure? Probably just some of the bad television shows I watch, like “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” I have a job that requires that I think very hard all day, so when I’m being entertained, I don’t want to think hard about it.

Defining personal moment? Around 2008, I was feeling very sorry for myself for not getting a job that I should have gotten. It felt like a personal rejection, because it was people that I knew, who knew my work, and I knew the person they hired was less qualified. It was one of those jobs where I met every criteria, and I didn’t get it. I told myself, ‘You’ve got 48 hours to wallow and feel bad, and then you need a new plan.’ I always tell my students that failure is actually sometimes the best thing that can ever happen to you. It never feels like it in the moment and it’s not fun, but when I failed at that, it set me on the path to getting licensed. After my two days of wallowing, I just said, ‘I’m tired of asking people for things. I’m going to hire myself.’ I looked at my work experience and my education, and realized I was closer to getting licensed than I thought. It’s very hard to get licensed in Pennsylvania, but I thought, “Instead of trying to keep pursuing a goal that I was failing at, why not make a new goal?” After that, my confidence was always really good. That was a big learning experience.