Lara Liesma Wolff, LCPC

Who I am as a therapist?

I view therapy as an open experiment for clients to explore their inner worlds and present-moment experience in a safe, non-judgmental, compassionate, and collaborative healing relationship.

I believe we all possess intrinsic health – an internal source of wisdom that orients towards wellness – so we all have the ability to increase self-awareness and decrease maladaptive habitual patterns. I operate from a humanist-existential perspective, acknowledging that we all inevitably encounter difficulties in our lives, but how we work with them and make meaning is key. My personal Buddhist practice deeply informs my work, too – by exploring the nature of mind and how to relieve suffering, we can come to a deeper understanding of ourselves with more compassion.

Who do I work with?

I work primarily with adults – from emerging adults and college students to those in middle-life.

How I practice?

I draw from somatic, psychodynamic, and the contemplative wisdom of the Buddhist tradition to offer an approach to therapy that is gentle and respectful. I practice active and deep listening as well as authentic and engaged relationship. The foundation of my training was in mindfulness-based transpersonal psychology, which can be defined in many ways but essentially means that I hold a non-pathologizing, present-moment centered, and often, experiential approach to my practice. Intentional and focused efforts can help us tune in to ourselves to live more fully embodied and with more self-compassion, self-acceptance, and much less reactivity. I also enjoy providing clients with psychoeducation and tools for managing their life stressors.

Areas of Interest.

I enjoy working with creatives; the spiritual / spiritually-curious / spiritually-wounded; and clients working through grief and loss, life transitions, anxiety, depression, and trauma (PTSD and complex/developmental trauma). I also have special interests in neglect, intergenerational trauma, and dream work.

Background.

I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). I am also a career changer, and my previous professional life was in the arts – primarily community non-profits and higher education. I hold a master’s degree from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, a university that specializes in contemplative Buddhist psychology to understand and treat people holistically (mind, heart, body, soul). I have worked in private group practice, educational settings as a school-based counselor and a mindfulness instructor, and I have also worked in bereavement and grief support in Boulder, Colorado and a Chicago-based hospice program.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Lara, please contact Centered Therapy Chicago: (773) 569-1468 or CTC@centeredtherapychicago.com