About Michelle

I am a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years experience counseling adults, teens and families in a variety of settings. I have worked for not-for-profit family service agencies, employee assistance programs and physician offices. Places of employment include Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Personal Assistance Services,  and Provident Counseling.

I graduated with honors from Washington University with a Masters of Social Work degree with an emphasis in behavioral and family therapy. I earned a Bachelors of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia,  graduating Magna Cum Laude. I earned academic scholarships for both my undergraduate and graduate studies. I was a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society. I was also on the National Deans List.

Problem Areas and Clients Addressed

I have treated a variety of problem areas through the course of my career, along with counseling clients of all ages. At my first employment as a professional clinical social worker at Jewish Family and Children’s Services, I was hired in the unique position to counsel clients from all three departments: elderly, adult and children. I next worked at Personal Assistance Services, where I primarily counseled adults seeking help from their Employee Assistance Programs for problems that could be resolved through a brief solution focused therapy approach. Next I worked at Provident Counseling where I have counseled both children and adults with varied problems, utilizing insurance companies, EAPs and community supports to cover counseling costs. I have been successful in counseling an extremely varied clientelle of all ages through the course of my career.

I have addressed the following problem areas with clients: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, developmental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, marital and couples issues, divorce adjustment, sexual orientation issues, job stress, bereavement and grief adjustment, family conflict and alcohol/drug abuse.

My primary treatment areas include treating mood disorders, relationship issues, grief and job stress. I now focus on treating adults, but also relate well with teenagers.

If a problem falls outside of my area of expertise or could better be addressed by another therapist, I will make appropriate referrals. Ultimately, the primary goal is for clients to receive the most helpful and therapeutic treatment that is possible. Some problem areas such as eating disorders and active chemical dependency are best addressed by specialists.

Treatment Approaches

I utilize a combination of several counseling techniques that fit each individual and their needs. I have a strong background in cognitive-behavioral therapy and use this approach when beneficial. Research supports that there is a strong connection between thoughts and feelings. Negative thinking or what is called distortions in thinking can create negative emotions which can lead to depression or anxiety. Role-playing, use of hand outs and other reading material, and writing assignments are used when relevant. I routinely use objective measures such as the brief mood survey to measure our success in treatment.

I also have a strong background utilizing brief solution focused therapy strategies, by focusing on what behavior has been beneficial to one in the past.

Family therapy is another counseling strategy which is useful. I often draw a family geneogram  to help me keep track of key family members and relationships, while also exploring significant family of origin and other past/current relationships to understand one’s present challenges.

For others having a therapist provide objective, realistic feedback and support in a trusted, therapeutic relationship is extremely healing. I view the therapeutic relationship as an important key to all of my counseling success, regardless of the specifics counseling strategies employed.

Together, my clients and I develop a treatment plan with goals for therapy and decide how to proceed. I tend to be very active in the counseling process and always provide my honest feedback. Ultimately, I feel that the counseling experience belongs to you and let you be an active guide on what you desire from your therapy. My role is often that of an educated, professional cheerleader, working as part of your team to help you reach your goals and dreams for your life.

Holistic Health

I have become passionate about holistic medicine and health the last several years. This is an additional area of expertise that I offer to my clients.  Research demonstrates that nutrition and environmental toxins have a huge impact on health, both mental and physical. I enthusiastically share information in this area with those client who are interested.

Holistic Mental Health Treatments

Life stressors deplete one’s nutritional stores. Nutritional deficiencies have been shown to be one underlying cause of mood disorders and health problems, so addressing and reducing causes of stress through counseling is vital for both physical and mental health. The common occurence of stressful life events preceeding the onset of mood disorders can partly be explained by this phenomenon.

Safe, effective nutritional approaches exist to treat mood disorders caused by nutritional deficiencies. Research demonstrates that nutritional supplements such as 5-HTP and Omega 3 have successfully treated depression. Niacin has treated schizophrenia for thousands of patients with a 90% success rate. Bipolar, ADHD and other mood disorders can be addressed through powerful nutritional formulas containing B vitamins.

Implementing traditional, real food diets with non-processed foods has also been reported to be extremely beneficial to mental and physical health. Following the nutrient dense dietary principles of Weston Price has helped to bring healing to many. Other helpful dietary approaches for particular conditions include the GAP’s, Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Paleo raw diet.

Hidden causes of mental illness can include dental infections (root canals and cavitations), mercury and other metal poisoning, parasites, viruses and bacteria. Diagnosing and treating these hidden causes can often bring full recovery to debilitating cases of mental illness. I can make professional referrals to skilled practitioners to treat hidden causes, when this need is indicated or powerful nutritional treatments, combined with therapy fail to bring relief.

My Publications

Beginning in February of 2013, I began regularly publishing my articles on health related subjects for the #1 rated holistic health website Natural News. I have been delighted by the enthusiastic response that my published articles have received from the international community and the opportunity to help others in a far reaching manner with my writing. I also contribute in-depth articles to the important website Vactruth and have written articles for other health news sites.

Therapy Style

I highly respect the value of self determination of my clients. I maintain a non judgemental attitude and accept clients where they are. I respect individuals’ health and lifestyle choices and focus on assisting clients to resolve the problems presented. At the same time I am always honest in providing objective, professional and active feedback to assist my clients in making changes needed for their self development and growth. The therapeutic relationship is key to counseling and I have worked with an extremely varied clientelle over my professional career. I believe that underneath the outer differences that individuals present,  humans beings share the common goals for connection and meaningfulness in life. I look forward to the opportunity to help you achieve your goals.

See my listing as a mental health care provider at the following sites:

Psychology Today Therapists: Psychology Today Therapists

Missouri Society for Clinical Social Work: Missouri Society for Clinical Social Work

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