How I help.....

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Art Therapist (ATR). Firstly, building a meaningful therapeutic relationship is at the heart of my approach. In the session with individuals, couples and adolescents, I integrate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) skills along with mindfulness to recognize and reevaluate how previous life experiences have possibly negatively impacted your beliefs, coping skills, cognitions, emotions and behaviors, which might be keeping you stuck in feelings of anxiety, depression or unhealthy ways of relating.  I also offer the possibility to use art therapy to access previous life experiences and/or unconscious material that might be keeping you stuck. My goal is to educate and create a greater sense of understanding about the purpose of our emotions. I will provide support in recognizing and replacing unhealthy patterns of relating and beliefs with more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behaviors. However, counseling can be pursued not only to handle problems, but also to find more meaning in life, to live with more energy and zest, to increase the joy of being alive!
  ~We teach people that they upset themselves. We can't change the past, so we change how people are thinking, feeling and behaving today.-Albert Ellis~

Cognitive Therapy
My therapy approach is as a cognitive-behavioral therapist. I practice early crisis intervention and brief solution-focused psychotherapy to resolve problems and reduce symptoms quickly. However, as a therapist I have found that my clients find the therapeutic relationship and safe space provided to be valuable even after the urgency of the initial presenting problem. That being said, I have experience working with individuals where more intense and/or long-term treatment is indicated. In cognitive-behavioral therapy we acknowledge that while we can't change the difficult situations of the past and present, we can work together to better understand our thoughts and reactions related to these situations that are making our lives less than satisfactory. Through series of structured sessions, I will guide you in learning how to shift your thinking to a more balanced and rational place.

Mindfulness Therapy
Mindfulness, or paying full attention to the present moment, can be very helpful in improving the cognitive symptoms of depression. The mindfulness component of the practice includes learning how to live your life fully in the present through the use of meditation, guided imagery, and numerous other techniques. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a therapy that combines mindfulness principles with cognitive therapy to facilitate awareness and mastery over distressed emotional states and finding balance.

A little about Art Therapy…..
Art therapy involves a combination of verbal therapy with art-making which allows for self-expression through a different avenue. The art process is thought to be the truest connection to the unconscious. Art Therapy focuses on artistic expression and response, not the final product. It is a common thought that you have to have experience of, or be a “good” artist to create art in a therapy session. Many people share with me previous negative art experiences, where they have been told such by an art teacher or our community at large. In an art therapy session, art is simply used as a medium to enable individuals to communicate and help with furthering to develop self-awareness and self-development. While using art therapy there is no pressure to create an aesthetically pleasing image. As an art therapist, I acknowledge the final product of the art process, but this is not emphasized. The process and content of the image, how you feel and how you connect to the art, and the symbolism and metaphors that are brought forth through the imagery, is where the value of art therapy unfolds.

~ Individual Therapy in Virginia Beach , VA~ Couples Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~ Adolescent Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~ Art Therapy in Virginia Beach, VA~

~ Tree of Life Counseling & Art Therapy, LLC ~
~913 First Colonial Road, Suite 201 Virginia Beach, VA 23454 ~757-679-5553~ 
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