Hi, I'm Courtney.
Deciding to take the first step of entering therapy can be scary. It can feel like wading into murky water, not knowing what lurks beneath the surface. It makes sense that you want to make sure that person who is leading you into the water is capable to do so.
Like many of my clients, I find it a lot easier to think than to feel. I respect and know how difficult it is to wade into your feelings, especially the ones that aren't warm and fuzzy. It is much easier to intellectualize them, read a couple books about how to change them, and create a plan. I love plans! They make me feel in control and keep vulnerability at bay. I have learned that it is pretty darn difficult to process through emotions and events without feeling your feelings, as uncertain and difficult to control as they may be. While my story is not your story (and your therapy will be focused on your story), I know how scary it can be to finally feel those feelings. I also have felt what freedom it provides to finally move through feelings without getting stuck in fear or avoidance.
As a therapist, I love the science of the brain almost as much as I love helping people feel their feelings. My background is in neuroscience, and my more recent training is in compassion and mindfulness practices. This means we may talk about how trauma or anxiety changes your brain. And, we may consider how you can use certain practices to strengthen brain pathways that are associated with feeling more balanced or in control of your emotions.
Therapy is hard work and can feel unpleasant at times. I admire the people who work to lead more authentic, courageous lives. One of my favorite authors and researchers, Brené Brown, describes it best when she says
“If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
It is important to me that you are an equal partner in therapy. You are the expert on your life. When it comes to doing difficult work in therapy, you get to set the pace. You will be in control of what we work on and the speed at which we do it. At the same time, I am not the type of therapist who will just smile and nod along with what you say. Together, we will get curious (in compassionate and humorous ways) about why you are doing what you are doing and feeling what you are feeling.
For those looking for more information on my background:
I have been in the helping field for 13 years now, and I have been a therapist for 9 years. I have worked in a number of settings with people affected by violence, trauma and abuse. Previously, I have been a therapist at a community mental health agency, in a housing program for people with mental health and substance abuse issues, and at a clinic for survivors of domestic violence and childhood abuse. I am a trained teacher in the Mindful Self-Compassion and completed basic EMDR training. I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (license number LW60497049). I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and a Masters in Social Work, with a concentration in mental health, both from Washington University in St Louis.