Who am I as a therapist?
I want to provide my clients a respite from navigating all of life’s challenges on their own. Life is hard and at times we may not fully understand our inner experience and seek therapy to untangle our thoughts and emotions, so we may move forward with greater clarity and ease. As a therapist, I meet my clients right where they are in their journey- without judgment and with a curiosity about the experiences that have shaped them. I am empathic to my clients’ losses and suffering and happy for their progress and success. I work collaboratively with clients to help them achieve greater satisfaction in relationships to family, friends, co-workers and to themselves. As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), I believe our bodies are a resource that provides wisdom and protection on our life’s journey. I combine this knowledge with cognitive behavioral and emotion focused approaches that best fit my client. I enjoy helping clients create a clearer and stronger sense of themselves and develop a range of mindfulness skills to address and resolve problems as they arise. I enjoy working with clients of diverse backgrounds and all walks of life.
Who do I work with?
I have provided therapeutic services for over ten years in a variety of settings with individuals across the lifespan. I have worked with children and teens in a school setting who have emotional and social challenges, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder and Emotional Disabilities. I have co-led overnight therapeutic wilderness trips with at risk teens. Additionally, I have worked with severely mentally ill teens and adults in residential settings and in a juvenile detention facility. I have also worked with individuals and couples in private practice who struggle with unresolved trauma from abuse, neglect or abandonment and the effect those experiences may have on them currently.
My areas of interest: My interest is building a strong therapeutic relationship with my clients that will serve as a solid foundation for openly exploring the challenges they face. My approach is strength based and trauma-informed, while acknowledging the innate connection between mind and body. I apply my training in body and mind-oriented therapies to explore how developmental trauma, (a lack of nurturing, healthy boundaries, and consistency from early caregivers) can limit our sense of self, relationships, and health. I also incorporate the latest research to understand and manage chronic pain. When working with children and teens, I enjoy play and art therapy to help kids express themselves, learn how to cope with emotions, peers, and school pressures. I enjoy supporting children and their parents to improve their communication and understanding of one another.
I am passionate about social justice for underserved and minority populations. I consider the significant role that racial injustice, societal norms, cultural expectations, and family systems have upon the individual. I believe our community is stronger and more beautiful because of individual differences and diverse experiences. I desire to build an inclusive community that celebrates the unique character and abilities of all people.
How I practice:
I create a caring and supportive environment in which to explore life’s meanings, opportunities, and challenges. My practice is a balance of using cognitive and bodily focused awareness to understand the root of my client’s difficulties, process through emotional experiences, and find coping skills to address and resolve problems.
I am nurturing and direct with my clients. I encourage my clients to provide feedback and direct the session to topics that they feel need attention at that time. We will collaborate and work together as a team to ensure the client’s goals are addressed.
I am a master’s level clinician completing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I have completed my clinical research project (dissertation equivalent), Internalized Sexism in Female Psychologists. I am currently learning American Sign Language (ASL) from Gallaudet University. I have worked with individuals across the lifespan in multiple settings, including LGBTQ+ individuals and enjoy helping others process through their emotions, gain new perspectives of difficult life experiences and achieve their goals.
I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become. ~Carl Jung.
Pioneer Women-Voices from the Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L Stratton
Favorite Self-Care Practice or Tip:
To quiet my mind I retreat to nature, as I know our bodies were meant to be in the natural world and move in it. I will find an area with trees to sit under or walk through the neighborhood and look at people’s gardens. Calming music and hot baths are also my favorite.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Ellen, please contact Centered Therapy Chicago: (773) 569-1468 or firstname.lastname@example.org