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I am thrilled to welcome Jack Justin Dreher to my practice.

Jack Justin Dreher is a third year clinical mental health graduate student in Vanderbilt University’s Human Development Counseling Program. Jack’s special areas of interest include working with individuals managing anxiety and depression, individuals who have experienced trauma, and individuals living with chronic pain. Jack also enjoys working with geriatric clients, and their families, managing the aging process and end of life issues, as well as individuals and families going through the grief and loss process. Jack mainly works from a traditional talk therapy model, where he helps individuals explore their personal meaning making process and apply it to their situation, as well as teaches mindfulness and meditation techniques.

If you’d like to work with Jack and benefit from low-fee therapy sessions he offers on Saturdays and Sundays, please email us with interest and your contact info here.

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Welcome intern Courtney Peterson, PhD!

Courtney is a professor for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University where she teaches courses on mental illness and mentors undergraduate students.  It was through this mentoring that she felt called to therapy.  Helping others work through issues and transitions is a passion for her.

Courtney is doing an internship in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She sees a variety of clients, working with teenagers through adulthood.  She sees individuals, couples, and families.  Her goal is to be a collaborative partner who can help to identify strengths, tackle presenting issues, and guide clients toward healing.  She has particular experience with Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Stress, Life Transitions, Divorce, and Infidelity. But she is open to a wide range of issues facing clients. 

In her free time, Courtney likes to watch old movies or hike at Radnor Lake with her husband and two children.

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Wait, Sarah, what is this “drama therapy-based group supervision”? Why would I want to do it? It sounds weird and scary. Help me!

Good questions.

#1: It’s stuff from theater, but in your supervision.

Think role play, think sound and movement, think dynamic learning. We will explore cases, person of the therapist issues, clinical questions, and learn about various approaches and techniques. And while we are doing that we will pull from psychodrama, theater games, and more. I might coach you in putting the client in question in an empty chair and guide you and the group through a mock interview or mock intervention. We might add a few of your colleagues to the mix in the role of your guide or support, or as the “client”’s internal thoughts or feelings. We might build a client’s support system with our bodies throughout the room and explore it in action. We might explore trauma by each being a different part of the brain. The possibilities are endless.…

See? We will explore important clinical issues and aspects. Just in an embodied and creative way!

Note that you do not have to know anything at all about theater or acting to do this work. I PROMISE. Don’t limit yourself! It’s not performative, it’s just embodied.

#2: The dynamic learning offered in this approach is valuable to your growth as a clinician.

One of the most valuable aspects of embodied, creative supervision is the dynamic learning it provides. Through fun, engaging methods, you as the supervisee will engage with your clients, person of the therapist issues, clinical issues, and all aspects of the supervisee experience with more than just your logical, learning, very smart brain. You will engage with what it feels like to sit with a certain challenging client, you can explore from a first-person perspective what it might be like to inhabit your client’s shoes, and you will actively engage in supporting your fellow group members in doing the same.

I have sat through many a “staffing”, a “case presentation”, a “grand rounds”, whatever you want to call it. I have absolutely learned from hearing others present and discussing cases and form presenting my own, and I’ve also grown very bored over hours spent sitting and discussing cases with the same people week after week or month after month.

I also had the opportunity to be supervised in this embodied, drama therapy-based style, and I learned so much about myself as a clinician. I learned from embodied exploration what was really coming up for me in relation to the odd feeling I had sitting with a certain client. I learned more about what was easy and hard for me as a clinician to sit with in the room, and to recognize physical sensations and signs to give me good moment-to-moment information in my work. I learned what it felt like to be a therapist and what kind of therapist I wanted to be from participating in the exploration of the work my peers and I were doing. And I learned to push myself to really imagine (as best as I possibly could) what it feels like to be specific client who is in their unique suffering. Drama therapy offers ways, through pretend, role play, and imagination, to touch into the client experience. I was able to feel how awful a certain client’s anxiety felt from the inside, how scary and unending that anxiety felt from THEIR PERSPECTIVE, and therefore was more able to empathize and support that client.

This style of supervision builds your empathy muscle. I am in no way asserting that we can actually know what our clients are experiencing. I am asserting strongly and definitively that building your intuition and empathy as much as possible through this embodied work will absolutely make you a better clinician.

#3: It’s fun.

First, get over yourself. I mean that in the nicest way, I promise. I get that you are a professional and a clinician and this work is serious. But you know what? Life is also ridiculous, being a therapist is a wonderfully weird job, and getting licensed is hard. Having some time in your busy schedule that includes you trying new things, being silly or playful, moving your body, and joining more fully in our collective human experience with your peers sounds pretty important to me. Fun and play are good for our brains, our human connection, and our stress management, not to mention engaging and enjoyable. So come learn how to play with serious work and serious feelings.

I hope you’ll join me in this supervision experience! Contact me for more information (dates, cost, etc.)

Note: I am only able to supervise LMFT trainees/supervisees at this time (sorry LCSW/LPC folks!)

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I am happy to announce that, as of April 2018, Creative Counseling Nashville is offering low-fee counseling services with student intern Lauren Lewallen!

Welcome, Lauren!

Student Intern Therapist

Lauren holds a Bachelor in Business of Administration with a minor in Psychology from the University of Mississippi. She is currently in the process of getting her Master’s Degree for Clinical Mental Health Counseling through Northwestern University. She will be a student intern therapist with Creative Counseling Nashville. She is supervised in her clinical work by Sarah, as well as by her faculty at Northwestern, and will be available to see individual, adult clients starting in April, 2018.

Lauren’s passion for helping others led her to begin her studies in Psychology. Along the journey she even studied psychology abroad in Tanzania and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro! Lauren has a background volunteering at NMRC in Oxford, Mississippi and Nashville’s Parthenon Pavilion psychiatric hospital. She is originally from Georgia, but now calls Nashville her home. She enjoys hiking and sports, cooking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. 

Contact Sarah for more information on working with Lauren, or see the Fees page for details on rates for student intern services.

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