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Do I need counseling?

Human beings have an incredible capacity to adapt to a wide variety of life circumstances. Even so, we often find ourselves at a point where circumstances begin to significantly impact our ability to function mentally, emotionally, or relationally. Sometimes the expectations that we have of ourselves or that others may have for us can prevent us from reaching out for help. However, seeking therapy need not be seen as an admission of defeat, but rather as an act of resourcefulness. When life gets hard, there is no reason to go it alone. There is a common misconception about counseling that it is only appropriate for those struggling with particular mental disorders or diagnoses. While therapy is indeed helpful in those situations, it is designed to support people facing a variety of difficult experiences from trauma, to family issues, to self-esteem. If you have questions about whether or not counseling is the right path for you, feel free to contact Brieanna to set up a consultation, and you can decide together what works best for you.

What does counseling entail?

Counseling consists of a confidential, therapeutic alliance between you and your therapist. Working together, you come up with a treatment plan based on your concerns and goals. An initial intake session will last an hour to an hour and a half, and regular weekly sessions last 50 minutes. The number of sessions will depend on your presenting concerns, treatment plan, and ongoing progress.

What is attachment?

Attachment theory was formulated by John Bowlby in the 1950’s and is based on the idea that the way we relate to others (and navigate through life) is informed by experiences in our relationships with attachment figures such as parents, caregivers, and romantic partners. Difficult or negative attachment experiences can lead us to respond to relationships or difficulties with anxiety and/or avoidance rather than self-confidence and appropriate trust in others. Scientific advances in interpersonal neurobiology have proven the importance of attachment relationships and the impact of these relationships on mental health. Brieanna uses attachment theory to help conceptualize emotional and relational difficulties that her clients are facing. A video with a more in-depth explanation of attachment theory can be found here.

What is emotion-focused therapy?

Emotion-focused therapy for individuals and emotion-focused therapy for couples (spearheaded by Leslie Greenberg and Susan Johnson, respectively) are treatment modalities that focus on accessing and processing primary emotions to get at the heart of relational, mental, and emotional difficulties. Furthermore, emotion-focused therapy capitalizes on the healing nature of empathically-attuned relationships and aims for corrective emotional experiences with the therapist and/or family members in therapy to obtain healing. Emotion-focused therapy is Brieanna’s preferred modality of treatment for adolescents, adult individuals, and couples. Videos explaining emotion-focused therapy for individuals and couples can be found here.

What is play therapy?

Children process their world and their experiences through play, hence why we so often can observe them playing “house” or “school” or simply repeating what they have heard. In fact, play is a primary mode of communication for the child. The brain development of the child does not support the same type of talk therapy that adults typically engage in. However, in play therapy, a child is allowed to process life experiences in a developmentally appropriate manner through play while the therapist looks for themes and characteristics of play and tracks progress. Throughout this process, the child is provided with unconditional positive regard and acceptance by the therapist, and in the safety of that kind of therapeutic relationship, the child has the optimal environment for growth and healing. Sometimes, specific play activities are directed by the therapist to address specific concerns. For children 12 and under (and sometimes for adolescents or even adults), play therapy is Brieanna’s preferred modality of treatment. Parents are always included in the treatment process (if possible and appropriate) either through separate parent consultations and/or in family sessions to support their child’s progress. Brieanna currently holds a post-graduate Play Therapy Certification through MidAmerica Nazarene University. A video explaining how play therapy works can be found here.

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