Introduction to Counseling with Jenn
When choosing a counselor it is important to have
the right fit in personality and style. I believe that the therapeutic
relationship is the foundation to the work being explored. I offer a free 30 minute phone consultation to explore a potential fit for both of us.
When getting to know each other we
will decide together what kind of modalities and interventions will be most helpful for you. I would say that the core skill sets I use in my work are art based interventions, teaching mindfulness and meditation, using methods from DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and techniques from body-centered psychotherapy. It is important to understand that while my office is an art studio and I am an art therapist, not everyone makes art in my office.
Key to my work with people of all ages is exploring self-compassion and acceptance along with a greater tolerance of frustration and the unknown. I focus on the ability to care for and soothe ourselves in new and healthy ways and to learn new ways of identifying needs and feelings and communicating that in the world.
Children and Teens
Working with children often looks different than adults. I also use sand tray therapy and play therapy techniques in my practice that compliment the art making. Often I explain my approach as a "back door" therapy which can be great for teens and youth that are not comfortable with just sitting and talking. For many when the hands are busy they feel more calm and open which creates an open window for the work to happen.
Because children live in various systems at home, school and with friends I also work with parents on learning new strategies and communication styles at home. I try to give resources and education as much as possible on development and the issues at hand. Part of my goal is to give tangible suggestions to create change.
I also feel dedicated to making therapy a positive experience for children especially so asking for professional help is something that they have a good association with in life.
You don't have to be an artist or feel like you have any kind of particular artistic talent to do art therapy or benefit from it. Art is inherently therapeutic in that the creative process is a way to express aspects of ourselves that sometimes words alone cannot encompass. In this way it often easily breaks down our defenses in a gentle way for a more honest look at our lives.
Art therapy is for all ages and I believe that all people are inherently creative. Part of the process is being taught new art skills and mediums which can be fun as well as inspirational, insightful and helpful. It's also extremely therapeutic to go outside of your comfort zone with art and practice making mistakes or not meeting expectations.
Art is also an integrative therapy: you are experiencing your mind and cognition, your body, and your emotions all at once while you create. In this way art and creative process can unblock, integrate, regulate and heal us in ways that talk therapy alone cannot. I find that if we follow our own personal symbology we can open ourselves in ways we never knew were possible, but always somehow knew we needed.
I invite you to explore you own voice and creativity in my big yellow art studio with me.
NOTE: For some examples of how I personally use art therapy and examples of client art please see the Art Gallery tab. Please keep in mind that everyone explores the creative process differently. It is not about how it looks, but more the process of making it.
Simplified, I look at this as a strengths based
approach. I look for the inherent health and resiliencies that a person has and
build upon that. This does not mean that problems and issues are not deeply
explored, but that they are balanced in a way that also acknowledges what is
going well and how to live with the totality of our experience.
psychology also addresses a more holistic view of the person incorporating mind,
body and spiritual aspects of being. It advocates various mindfulness practices
and meditation as a cornerstone to insight and healing. More and more research
shows the strength of the mind-body connection and how stress impacts us and how
mindfulness based and body based somatic-integrative approaches can help to
regulate our nervous systems, release strong emotions, gain insight and heal.
Finally, this theory also takes into account the many world wisdom traditions
and different states of consciousness and explores all possibilities of the human
experience for transformation and even transcendence of the ego. I look at this
and practice it as a celebration and exploration of diversity and have a very
open mind when it comes to perspectives on the human condition.
I do not believe in completely objective therapy
as there are two (or more) people in the room. I understand my own subjective
viewpoint and personality impacts the therapeutic process. With that in mind, I
take great care in continuing my own personal and professional growth outside
of my work in order to be as present, authentic and available as possible with
the people I work with.
I believe in taking a here and now approach to the
therapeutic relationship and try to demystify the process of therapy as much as
possible in order for people to not only be informed but also have as much
choice as possible in their journey.
I strongly believe that I am not here to
"fix" anything, I am not looking directly for "pathology", I do not know you
better than you know yourself. I am here to listen deeply, to care about your
well being, to be a support, a guide, and a mirror so you can know yourself
better and find your own path of health and growth.
Part of my relational style
is that I listen very carefully in order to understand and learn your unique
language, symbology, and patterns and suggest whatever clinical modalities that
might work best for you. In this way I am eclectic and use techniques from
attachment theory, psychoanalysis, jungian dream work, evidence based
practices like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical-behavioral therapy,
as well as sand tray and play therapy, existential therapy, body-centered
somatic techniques, expressive arts modalities and more. I am constantly
learning new therapeutic techniques to add to my understanding and
implementation of this amazing work we call psychotherapy.