We had the good fortune of connecting with Corey Marshall, LMSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Corey, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
“The client ISN’T always right.”
Like all humans, the client, or the consumer, are imperfect beings. They have bad days. They may be ignorant or misinformed. In many ways, that doesn’t matter. I’m in the business of helping people. In order to do that well, it’s my responsibility to meet them where they are and help them get to somewhere better. Having that perspective has been one of the keys to connecting with others in a way that’s both effective and productive.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
18 years ago, I set off to college with one focus: graduate school and make a bunch of money. Once I got there, that all went out the window. I was in a new world with newfound freedom and took advantage of it. By the end of sophomore year, I looked up–having barely attended classes over the previous two years and with no real motivation to do better–and found myself uncertain about who I was and what I was working towards. From that point on, I found myself floating through life; I worked and goofed off thinking that I would eventually get the epiphany that would catapult me to my dream life. After some time, I chose to join the U.S. Navy. I figured that would at least get me some stability if I couldn’t get the clarity I needed. While there, I got more than I could ask for. Not only did I get that stability, I met some great mentors that woke me up from the daze that I was living in.
While on this path to self-discovery, I finally got the inspiration I was looking for. One simple conversation with the woman who is now my mother-in-law helped illuminate something that I didn’t recognize before: Psychotherapy was my calling. Armed with the new insight, my performance in school was a stark contrast to the first go-around. I had to pull my GPA out of the gutter and pay my way through part of the program to eventually graduate from Georgia State with both of my Bachelor’s degrees in 2017 (BA in Psychology and BA in Sociology). I completed my graduate school education at the University of Georgia, which brought a new set of challenges. I had to complete my coursework and some challenging internships, all while needing to work full-time, be a husband and help raise a toddler; I often tell people who ask that I didn’t sleep from 2017 to when I graduated in 2020.
The biggest lesson I learned on my journey to becoming a psychotherapist was that no one gets ANYWHERE alone. Even in this truncated version of my story, you can see that I had a bunch of people help me grow up and push forward (most importantly, my amazing wife). In living out my dream, I honor all of them and their contributions. I also learned first-hand that your greatest growth comes from vulnerability. The vulnerability of sharing all of you, the vulnerability of asking for help when needed, and the vulnerability of addressing your shortcomings and insecurities leads to maximizing your potential for becoming your best self.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite restaurant at the moment is Pijiu Belly on 10th St. in Atlanta. It’s a sports bar that serves Asian food! I can watch the Knicks or Atlanta United play, participate in trivia on certain nights, AND have a great bowl of Ramen; I couldn’t ask for much more from an establishment.
If I’m looking to take my wife on a date or simply lounge around while having a great meal, I’m either going to APT 4B (the energy, the music, the people, and the FOOD), Negril ATL (🇯🇲), Casi Cielo or Babette’s Cafe (do yourself a favor and try their Halibut!). My wife and I also recently discovered Ruby Chow’s and I can’t wait to go back. If the guys and I are hanging out, I’m suggesting Pour Taproom (all I’ll say is they have drinks coming out of the walls, TVs everywhere, and great pizza). If I’m with a group looking to have a good time, you can find me at The Painted Duck, Ormsbys, or Krog Street Market (shoutout to my guy Abasi over at Superica).
Yes, I love to go eat but my other two favorite places to go in GA are the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and Tybee Island (when we have the time).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I want to dedicate this shoutout to my wife, Alex. There is no way I’m who I am or where I am today without her. The support and guidance I’ve been able to get from my Mom and Mother-In-Law has been invaluable. To all my fellow sailors that helped whip me into shape personally and professionally—even when I was actively resisting it—I can’t thank you enough. To my Panther and Bulldog family, I appreciate the ongoing support and motivation. And I want to thank Dr. Alex Kohl, PhD, for giving me my first shot to living out my purpose.
I don’t have enough space to thank every single person that has helped get me to where I am today, but know that my success is your success. I appreciate and love you all wholeheartedly.
Russell Brown Photography