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Welcome, Lionheart.

Life is often not as easy or enjoyable as advertised.  In fact, sometimes it can feel like walking through a field of landmines blindfolded.  We suspect life isn't supposed to feel this hard, and we have tried to make things better, but the struggle stubbornly remains or is replaced with new struggle.  Even worse, when we talk about our suffering, some people minimize the problem, dismiss our emotions, tell us we're nuts, or give us pat answers - it can feel like people just want us and our problems to go away.  Ouch.    
 

We was me once.  I had to carry heavy problems and overwhelming feelings all by myself for too long.  My relationships with partners, family, and even some friends, were shockingly painful at times.  I couldn't concentrate on what I wanted to, thought too much about painful things I didn't want to think about.  I often felt frustrated, lonely, and desperate for change.  Then I found a counselor who hung in there with me as I learned how to handle all that heavy and big stuff.  I found relief and hope for my future.  Joy and ease became more frequent experiences.

Grateful for my continual healing, my life's passion is to be that support for others.  Now I have the honor of empowering people on their courageous journeys to find ease and joy in living again.  The word "Lionheart" in my practice name is a tribute to the incredible bravery it takes to be vulnerable, and to explore the depths of one's heart and mind.  My therapeutic style is affirming, interactive, and with a focus on finding creative ways to practice new skills outside the therapy room via guided life "experiments."  I also work with a smaller number of clients than most clinicians, so I can be more available to the clients I work with, and so I can best tailor a bespoke treatment plan.

A bit about me: I grew up a third generation San Franciscan, and have since lived in CO, AZ, VA, and OR.  I proudly call the St. Louis, Missouri area my home now and, while I haven't made friends with provel cheese yet (sorry Imo's), I do love just about everything else about living in this wonderful place, especially the people.  When I'm not working, you'll probably find me hiking with my kids along the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers, reading books, volunteering with the National Weather Service as a Severe Storm Spotter, or listening to live jazz wherever I can find it.

Welcome, Lionheart.  I'm glad you're here and I hope for the chance to meet you soon!    

- Deb -

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  • How do I get started?
    Book your free 15-minute consultation by clicking here. Once I confirm your appointment, I will email you a mini-questionnaire (less than 1 minute to complete online) to help us make the most of our 15 minutes together. My primary goal in this phase is to ensure you are routed as quickly as possible to the best therapist for you! If our consultation reveals we are a good fit clinically, and you wish to schedule therapy with me, then I will send you a link to your patient portal, where you can complete the required new patient forms online. If we are not the ideal fit clinically, or you wish to meet with additional therapists before making a choice, I would be happy to email you referrals to other qualified clinicians who can help.
  • How long are sessions?
    The vast majority of sessions are scheduled for 50 minutes in length. If longer sessions are required, that is an option, but is relatively rare in my office.
  • Do you offer in-person sessions?
    I offer in-person sessions in my O'Fallon, Missouri office, as well as walk-and-talk therapy at nearby Fort Zumwalt Park. I also offer sessions online via my secure telehealth platform.
  • What is online therapy like?
    Online therapy is a convenient alternative to travelling to a therapist visit in-person. Research has shown that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy, including sessions that require online EMDR. All online sessions happen on my secure telehealth platform. It is necessary for online therapy clients to ensure they have a strong enough internet connection to stream our video conference, and a private location where they won't be overheard, seen, or distracted by others. It can be helpful to attend sessions from a laptop or desktop computer (rather than a tablet or smartphone), in order to use the monitor for my advanced technology EMDR therapy platform. It also can be helpful to create an environment that mirrors the therapy office by making sure you have access to kleenex, a glass of water, and a comfortable seat while we meet. Also, multi-tasking during sessions can be a major impediment to the value of therapy, so please schedule sessions at a time when you are not also working, driving, nor responsible for small children. Well-behaved pets are welcome.
  • Do you work with teens or kids?
    Although I have extensive training and experience in working with children, I no longer work with clients under the age of 18, but I can refer you to qualified children's therapists. As a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, I continue to work with parents. If you are a parent, please consider whether you need support, would like to enjoy a warm connection with your kid(s), and desire feeling empowered with proven techniques to foster wellness in your child(ren) and harmony in your household.
  • How long does therapy take?
    Length of treatment depends on many factors: severity of symptoms, environment, biology, social factors, and so much more. I cannot estimate how long treatment would take for you, and my professional code of ethics even bars making such estimates, but I can give you a very general idea of what I have experienced working well in the past. I work with each of my clients to determine a frequency and duration that will provide effective treatment for them, while also being sensitive to schedule/financial/other constraints whenever possible. My goal is to develop treatment goals in collaboration with each client and to ensure the client moves through the therapy process effectively, with an eye toward attaining the capacity to function well independent of therapy again. 1. Some clients who come in with acute symptoms have been seen weekly until symptoms become more manageable. Then they reduced frequency of visits as needed, moving to bi-weekly, then monthly, then even quarterly if needed. We always decide this together. 2. Some clients who don't present with acute symptoms preferred to come in every other week from the start. This can make the cost and scheduling easier. We always decide this together. 3. Some clients view therapy as part of their regular self-care and stress management strategy, and stay on as clients for longer periods of time, and at a frequency we determine together (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly), while others prefer to "get in and out" of therapy as quickly as possible. 4. EMDR treatment length varies widely. Please discuss expectations and guidelines with the therapist. 5. Most EAP plans only cover 3 sessions. This has rarely been enough to see full resolution of symptoms, so most clients convert to my private pay rate after their EAP benefit runs out. However, in the past, when a client couldn't afford to continue therapy after the benefit ran out, I always do my best to provide every client with additional resources and referrals to continue their work, if desired. 6. Sometimes, during the process of treatment, an issue is uncovered that another clinician is better qualified to treat. In these cases, I have referred clients elsewhere to finish treatment, or for adjunctive treatment (with the intent to continue with me or work later on with me). We always decide this together. 7. Groups are the only treatment where I can tell you EXACTLY how long the treatment is. Groups in my office typically run for a set number of weeks, somewhere between 6 and 12 weeks in length. Some clients prefer group therapy, which is typically a lower cost alternative to individual therapy that has the added benefit of social support. Some clients even enjoy participating in group therapy while continuing with individual therapy. I frequently offer groups related to topics that I specialize in. Check out my Groups page for more information. 8. Some clients are forced to "pause" therapy for a time, due to unforeseen circumstances, or just a desire to "take a break" from the work. It is normal for "life to happen" or fatigue to set in with certain types of difficult therapy work. We work together to figure out a plan, and I try to be available for returning clients, whenever possible. This can be a natural and healthy part of the therapy process! 9. Some clients prefer to "do the work" of therapy in-session only, while others are willing to do homework or engage in "at-home" experiments during treatment. I often offer homework or experiments to clients, but it is never mandatory. Doing work outside of session in the form of homework or experiments does seem beneficial to treatment outcomes.

Training & Experience

Education & Licensure:

  • Masters in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health
    from Adams State University

  • Chi Sigma Iota - Honors Society

  • National Certified Counselor

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (State of Missouri 2023007976)

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (State of Colorado LPC.0017424)

Training & Certifications:

  • EMDR Advanced Training - EMDR Refresher Course (Rebecca Kate & Co.)

  • EMDR Basic Training (EMDR Training Academy)

  • Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) (PESI, Inc.)

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Certificate (PESI, Inc.)

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Certificate (PESI, Inc.)

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

  • Certified Crisis Counselor (Crisis Text Line)

  • Emotionally-Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT-C) Certificate (PESI, Inc.)

  • Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Therapy Certificate (PESI, Inc.)

  • LGBTQ+ & Sexuality Counseling (Adams State University, PESI, Inc., Trans Affirming Therapists Academy)

  • Sexual Issues in Therapy (PESI, Inc.)

  • Certified Digital Wellness Educator (Digital Wellness Institute)

  • Certified Meditation Teacher (Meditation Alliance International)

  • Synergetic Play Therapy Trained (Synergetic Play Therapy Institute)

  • Certificate in Neuroscience and Self-Regulation Techniques for Kids with Autism, ADHD & Sensory Disorders (PESI, Inc.)

  • Positive Discipline Parent Educator (Positive Discipline Association)

  • Rewiring the Brain: Treatment Techniques for Obsessive Compulsive, Narcissistic, Antisocial and Borderline Personality Disorders (PESI, Inc.)

  • Psychological First Aid

  • Certified Clinical Telemental Health Provider (Evergreen)

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