Is that your real name? This question is often the first one that people ask me, and the answer is yes! My first name (rhymes with 'arrow') comes from a song my dad liked, called "My Saro Jane." My last name comes from a village in Germany named Helpenstell. A few generations ago, my great-grandfather put a twist on the vowels.
From the time I was a young kid and I learned what a therapist was, I knew that is what I wanted to be when I grew up. Although getting to the destination was a long journey, all the life experiences along the way served to make me stronger and enhance my work.
I finally got into the field of counseling through eight years of service to the American Cancer Society. I absolutely loved helping people, and I was inspired to return to my dream of becoming a therapist in order to work with folks on deeper and more expansive levels.
I received my Master of Arts in Counseling from St. Edwards University, and I completed a year of practicum at Capital Area Counseling. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor. I am also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
I have undergone basic training to become qualified to practice EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and I have undergone additional training and consultation as well. While I still do EMDR, I have also studied a spin-off of it called Brainspotting, which I use extensively.
In addition, I have completed a program by Elaine Aron on psychotherapy with Highly Sensitive People.
An exciting full-circle for me - I had the opportunity to become an Adjunct Professor in the MAC program at St. Ed's, teaching "Professional Orientation," which is an introduction to the counseling world for our future therapists.
I believe that having a good therapeutic relationship is one of the most important factors in how helpful therapy will be for you.
I also believe that in order to best serve my clients, it is essential that I take part in my own therapy on a regular basis. One of my goals in life is to help take the stigma out of seeking therapy - it does not mean you are "weak" or "crazy" - it means you have the courage to find ways make your life better.
My approach in sessions is collaborative, interactive, and client-centered. In other words, I am not here to tell you what to do, but I am also not here to sit passively. We can work together to set your goals, and I can guide you as you hone your strengths. Because having a good fit between client and therapist is so important, I am happy to provide you with referrals if we decide that I'm not the best person for you after our initial consultation.
One of my primary interests is helping people recover from trauma. "Trauma" can occur from a wide range of events, from violence, emotional abuse, car accidents, loss, rejection, and more. Symptoms can vary greatly as well: anger, a feeling of "stuckness," negative beliefs about oneself, flashbacks. I use traditional talk therapy as well as EMDR to help people recover.
I am also interested in attachment theory, which is about how our relationships with our early primary caregivers (usually our parents) influence us to repeat patterns that are not always helpful to us in adulthood. Sometimes problems are easily resolved on a surface or behavioral level. At other times, it is more helpful to go deeper and uncover and understand these patterns so that they no longer have the same hold on you.
In addition to the deeply fulfilling work I do as a psychotherapist, I also enjoy teaching in the classroom and giving presentations on the topics that are dear to my heart.
I saw, in a flash, where those women started
and where they ended up...
they would go from being invisible
to being too big for their world to contain,
because they'd stopped cooperating with things
that were absolutely preposterous,
and just became themselves.