what is client centered therapy, why does it matter?

What is client centered therapy, and why does it matter?

Therapy that allows the client to be in control of the healing process is a basic premise of Client Centered Therapy. (It is also called Person Centered Therapy)

This approach has been found helpful in addressing depression, dPTSD, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders and addictions. It is known to have a significant impact on self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-reliance.

Let’s break down the three terms: Client, Client Centered, and Client Centered Therapy

  • First of all, why do we call the person seeking therapy a client rather than a patient? A client is a person who is purposefully seeking to better themselves. Clients have agency, respect, and are not coming because they are “sick” or in some way “less than”.
  • Next, why do we use client centered? Client Centered means to focus on the client’s needs and desires for healing rather than the therapist’s needs to be an “expert” or to direct therapy.
  • Finally, why use Client Centered Therapy: Therapy that is centered in the client’s unique needs does not follow a certain prescribed formula that may not fit. It is based in relationship built on mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality that responds to the client’s needs.

Growth and Healing

Client centered therapy starts with the premise that people tend to move towards growth and healing. It is a term that comes from Carl Rogers. Carl Rogers pioneered a non-directive style of therapy based on three primary outlooks for the therapist to embody.

  1. Empathic understanding
  2. Unconditional positive regard
  3. Congruence/Genuineness

Empathic understanding requires the therapist to reflect the client’s feelings and thoughts. This shows an understanding and concern for the client.

Unconditional positive regard is felt when the therapist is able to acknowledge and accept the choices the client makes without judgment. The client is the able to freely explore options without fear of being rejected or judged.

Congruence/Genuineness is the therapist’s ability to show who they are as a person, to be in relationship without a mask, and to truly interact with the client on a human to human level.

Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers ~ Client Centered Therapy

What happens when these three elements are in place and how does this benefit the person seeking therapy?

Very often when someone seeks therapy, they are looking to find answers and healing. They might feel inadequate, in pain, lonely, depressed, anxious, a client wonders what they can do to feel better. The choice is made to come to counseling because they’ve lost a sense of their own ability to make sense of their world and feel like no one understands them. They might feel that others are judging them.

The therapist who uses client centered therapy starts with the attitude of respect; respect that the client is doing the best they knew how to do up till that point, respect that the client has the right to self-determination, belief that the client is worthy of trust, and a desire to support the client to make personal choices based on their desires, needs, and values.

This is important for anyone, but especially for someone who is feeling unsure and is in emotional pain due to life circumstances. The idea that someone could hear them, believe their struggle, and enter into relationship with them to heal can be the most empowering part of the therapy.

As Carl Rogers suggests : Of utmost importance, however, is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist.

When a person has been traumatized by whatever method, either through domestic violence, natural disasters, childhood abuse, etc. one of the most important things is to be understood and “heard”. This requires being “present” and communicating on a deeper level. Empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence connects beyond the thinking part of the brain and reaches the traumatized part.

Healing and finding personal empowerment comes by reaching the trauma as it manifests in the present moment through trust, empathy, and respect. With these elements in place, the barriers of fear and anxiety to healing come down. This leads to growth and personal empowerment.

We can see that client centered therapy matters; it supports the individual healing and finding a sense of self empowerment.

TESS~Flute player

Music and Your Inner Wisdom

Music and Your Inner Wisdom

What does your inner wisdom, or intuition, have to say to you and why is this important? Listening to your inner wisdom can bring clarity and healing to issues that are bothering you. Your intuition can bring insight and understanding to heal from emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, ptsd, etc to resolve childhood issues, work related issues, relationship issues, and more.

But sometimes we don’t listen to our intuition, or gut knowledge. People frequently tell me things like, “my gut told me not to do it, but I did it anyway, and now look at what’s happened”, or “I knew I should have…”, as they explain something they wish hadn’t happened.

  • What if you had more confidence in your intuition?
  • What if you realized you could trust what your body and inner wisdom have to say to you?
  • What if you experienced relief from feeling anxious and depressed because you listened to your intuition?

You can develop personal insight (inner wisdom).

Using music and guided meditation, you can access your intuition. you can read more about the therapeutic aspect of music in this article. The article shows how music has been used since early civilization as a force for healing.

In modern times, Helen Bonny pioneered the use of music and guided meditation for healing emotional trauma. You can read more about her particular method at the Association for Music Imagery.

I received a certificate in this method and provide sessions as well as conduct workshops. Sign up for my email list to learn when the next workshop will be.

TESS~Flute player
TESS~Flute player


what does online counseling look like?

What does online counseling look like? Online counseling has several benefits such as:

  • Flexibility to schedule sessions at a time that are convenient for you.
  • You control the environment
  • Using HIPAA compliant video ensures confidentiality.
  • video conferencing allows for tone of voice and body language to be experienced

What does dancing have to do with the brain?


From 25-years-old on, it’s just one long downward spiral toward Age Related Cognitive Decline (ARCD). As Dr. Jack Lewis writes at The Independent, ARCD is an inevitable part of aging. As quoted in this article by Big Think,

Dr. Lewis offers solace by suggesting several strategies you can employ to stall the process by which your brain shrinks toward ineffectuality. The first is to exercise regularly. The brain thrives when steady streams of blood pump oxygen through it. Sitting at your desk 40 hours every week isn’t doing your brain any favors. Go for a long walk after work in order to feed it what it likes.

Something else you can do to keep your brain fit is to take advantage of neuroplasticity. Just as the muscles in your body get stronger when you exercise them, our brains benefit from activities that cause it to change and adapt.

“By consistently challenging it with fresh mental activities, your brain will be continually forced to restructure, rewire and build new connections to cope with the new demands placed on it.”

There are four activities Dr. Lewis cites as delayers of ARCD: learning a musical instrument, playing chess, dancing, and reading.

Moral of the story? Dancing keeps your brain healthy and strong!

Look for more articles on neuroplasticity and how we can keep our brains functioning the best we can.

11 Sleep hacks from SleepyPeople

What does it mean to “be with” someone, either a client, your children, family and friends?

“Being with” is to be in relationship with others. this involves being able to make emotional connection with another person.

One thing is certain, to be in relationship with others you need to be comfortably in your own body. One of the methods to be aware, present, and attentive is to get enough sleep. Right, we’ve all heard it before, but oftentimes we push through, get up earlier, stay up later, trying to do all the tasks of work and daily living.

Here are 11 tips to getting better sleep found on sleepypeople.com site. Though they gear this info-graph to entrepreneurs, we are all entrepreneurs and designers of our own lives!

BTW – go to the site for some lovely duvets and pillows!!

As an entrepreneur, it can be all too tempting to burn the candle at both ends and late night’s and early mornings are something which most are more than familiar with.

Whilst the duration of sleep which many entrepreneurs get each night may often be less than the widely recommended eight hours, it’s important that during the night, the quality of sleep achieved is as great as possible.

There’s a multitude of simple things, known as sleep hacks, which entrepreneurs can try both to help them get to sleep and to help them stay asleep and below we’ve outlined 11 sleep hacks which every entrepreneur needs to know:

Care to share?

Finding Jenn’s Voice

Last night I had the opportunity to go to the Albuquerque Film Fest’s screening of ‘Finding Jenn’s Voice‘.

film maker Tracy Schott at the Abq Film Festival
film maker Tracy Schott at the Abq Film Festival

The movie highlights the fact that homicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy! Did you know that?

Please take the time to watch the movie, watch the trailer, go the the website, and add your voice to make societal changes in your community! Support your local shelters, SANE nurses, crisis hotlines: find out how you can help create and be the change in your community by adding your voice.

Your voice is important!

The screening was followed by a round table discussion with the film maker and several prominent activists against domestic violence and sexual assault in the state of New Mexico.

 The panel discussion following the film included:

  • Lynn GentryWood – Executive Director, DVRC (Domestic Violence Resource Center)
  • Gail Starr – Clinical Coordinator, Albuquerque SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners)
  • Antoinette Sedillo Lopez – Executive Director, Enlace
  • Kay Bounkeua, MPH – Executive Director, New Mexico Asian Family Center
  • Alexandria Taylor, MPA – Executive Director, Valencia Shelter Services
  • Rosemary Traub, JD – Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center

Lending their support to the movie, several prominent experts in the field contributed their knowledge to the film. From the website:

Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, MSN – Professor of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University. Dr.Campbell is a national leader in research and advocacy in the field of intimate partner violence. Her studies paved the way for a growing body of interdisciplinary investigations by researchers in the disciplines of nursing, medicine, and public health. She is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for the Futures without Violence. She was also a member of the congressionally appointed U.S. Department of Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence

Diana Cheng, MD – Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Director of Women’s Health, Maryland Dept. of Health and Medical Hygiene. Dr. Cheng and Dr. Isabelle Horon’s 2001 landmark study found homicide to be the leading cause of death among pregnant women. Dr. Cheng is the former vice-chair of  the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Healthcare for Underserved Women, and is a leader in the movement to encourage IPV screening by physicians.

Rae Taylor, PhD – Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Loyola University – New Orleans. Dr. Taylor dissertation examined pregnancy as a risk factor for intimate partner violence, and has researched the media’s coverage of intimate partner violence. Dr. Taylor is also a trained advocate for victims in the criminal justice system.

Linda Burke-Galloway, MD – Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Social Worker, Author – “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Pregnancy”. Dr. Burke-Galloway is a board certified OB/Gyn and public health advocate working with underserved populations.

Marcus Kondkar, PhD – Chair, Associate Professor-Sociology, Loyola University – New Orleans. Dr. Kondkar has researched Intimate Partner Homicide, Gender Violence, and Sexual Coercion.

David Adams, PhD – CoFounder/CoDirector EMERGE – the first counseling program for men who abuse women, founded in 1977. He is the author of “Why do they Kill? Men who murder their intimate partners”.

Evan Stark, PhD, MSW –Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University – sociologist, forensic social worker and author of “Coercive Control: How men entrap women in personal life”, and “Women at Risk: Domestic violence and women’s health” (co-author – Anne Flitcraft).d Professor of Public Health, Rutgers University. Dr. Stark is a forensic soc

Marilee Strong – An award-winning journalist who specializes in reporting on psychological and social issues. She is the author of “Erased: Missing Women, Murdered Wives”, and followed the Scott and Laci Peterson case for five years.

Janine Latus – A freelance writer, radio commentator and speaker, Janie is the author of “If I am Missing or Dead”, a book which describes the murder of her sister, and the culture of abuse in which she grew up. The book has been on the New York Times Bestseller and republished in half a dozen languages.

here is a photo of the amazing, intelligent, activist women who attended:

Roundtable discussion Finding Jenn's Voice
Roundtable discussion Finding Jenn’s Voice




Have you been cheated on?

erica may randolph MA LPC NCCI help women who have been cheated on, lied to, and told they were lucky to have someone to love them. I help them to find their own self-worth and rediscover joy in knowing they aren’t crazy but are genuine, loving, and creative women!

As they say, “The spouse is the last person to know about an affair”. Beginning to open your eyes to see that your partner is cheating is difficult. It is hard to believe that the person you’re in a relationship with is actually not that loving person you thought they were.

They’ve peppered you with lies, they’ve made jokes at your expense (because they know they’re lying to you and think you’re stupid for believing them so they lose whatever respect they might have had for you), and they’ve accused you – suggesting that you are crazy, stupid, confused or even blame you for what they’ve done!

~~This is crazy making! How could someone, that special someone who says he loves you, possibly treat you like this?

I get it because I’ve been there. I was in a 20-year marriage with a cheater. When my eyes were finally opened, I realized he had been cheating on me since we started dating! I found a bag of mementos from his exploits – locks of hair, cigar ring, phone numbers, etc, hidden away in his studio. Then I started to remember little inconsistencies, read entries in my journal about unexplained visits to his parents, when they said he hadn’t been there, and so forth.

The final straw that opened my eyes, happened when I found out about an affair that had been going on for over a year. In his truck he had a whole folder of romantic tchotchkes – tapes of romantic solo piano music, photos from trips, a receipt for a private mailbox, love letters and cards and receipts to upscale romantic restaurants, and of course, the ubiquitous lock of hair. (Though I haven’t looked at them for a while, I have kept both these boxes of mementos).

I know what it feels like to be told you must be crazy for having what turns out to be normal questions.

Feeling crazy in this type of situation is normal! Getting help and support as you begin the healing process is necessary. Support looks like this:

  • Being able to tell you story without judgment
  • Recognizing red flags that point to cheating
  • Reconnecting with your inner wisdom and intuition
  • Regaining a sense of being in your body
  • Taking care of yourself and giving yourself space to heal
  • Learning techniques to reduce self judgment and self-criticism

Call me, 314-651-8290, if you want to set up an appointment to talk, we can meet at my office, or via phone or video chat.

Are you lonely tonight? 5 healing steps to take after a relationship with a Narcissist

When you break up with a narcissist, you suddenly have so much time. What do you do with all this time? You have been longing for time to yourself, you’ve been thinking about how your days and hours have been eaten up with this person’s unreasonable demands, with being afraid of when they’ll get mad again, you’ve been walking on eggshells forever, but now it seems that time just stretches out for eternity.

red dragonfly loneliness
red dragonfly loneliness

What are you going to do?

The problem is that you’re emotions are still tangled up in the emotionally and/or physically abusive relationship. All these days, months, and even years of walking on eggshells have reprogrammed your heart and mind to be anticipating every need, every demand from your partner. You’ve been emotionally dragged into their craziness. This has the effect of making you feel guilty and responsible for how they feel. It’s like you can never get anything right, yet sometimes you get lucky and they might be “nice” to you. It’s like gambling.

Gambling can become very addicting. You pull the arm of the gambling machine down over and over and sometimes you hit the jackpot – in this case, instead of hitting the jackpot, sometimes he/she is nice to you, but you didn’t actually do anything differently, it was the mood they were in and they decided to throw you a bone.

You see, when the abusive person changes from being loving to cruel, as you feel the tension building up to another abusive event, and then it happens, our hearts and brains just can’t put the two sides of this together. On the one hand, this person says they love you, they sometimes treat you so lovingly, then on the other hand, they become so mean and vindictive, they abuse you verbally, emotionally manipulate, or even hit, kick, shove, or otherwise physically attack you.

This just doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t add up to being in love with you and our hearts become broken. When our hearts are broken, the abuser returns to being charming and acts loving again. This senseless, confusing behavior twists your thinking, twists your heart into believing it must be something you’ve done to deserve this. These are brainwashing techniques.

In psychology they call this the “Stockholm effect” or “trauma-bonding”. In popular parlance, we call it brainwashing, some compare it to being addicted.

But now you’ve made the break, you’ve been waiting to have your life back, but now, for some reason all you can do is think of him/her. Not only that, but you feel all alone and lonely. You wonder if you really are in love with them.

NO, you are not! You are trauma-bonded. It is natural to feel lonely after getting out of an abusive relationship. This is the beginning of healing, the beginning of getting back into a more normal life, the beginning of developing a natural balance in your relationships – ones that have a natural give and take, ones that have respect, love, and trust.

Here are 5 healing steps can you take to get your heart and mind back into balance and heal from the loneliness after the trauma-bonding, or the brainwashing that you’ve gone through.

  1. Do not call, text, email, or contact this person in any way – EVER!!
  2. Do something every day that you like to do – you can’t think of anything? Make something up, take a bath, read a book, watch a movie you choose, go for a walk, get a coffee at a different coffee shop.
  3. Reconnect with family and friends. You’ve probably lost contact with them. You may have broken bridges due to the controlling partner’s demands and may need to make-up with them.
  4. Find someone who gets it, who understands how hard it is to leave an abusive relationship, and who will support you no matter what. Others who have gone through the craziness of a narcissistic or sociopathic relationship will understand what you have gone through and the struggles of loneliness as you begin healing.
  5. Be kind to yourself. This is hard to go through. It is hard to recover and heal from an abusive relationship. Let yourself cry and grieve the loss of your hopes and dreams.

He called you What?!? the Cycle of Power and Control

Do you doubt yourself or think you’re going crazy? Sometimes he’s so nice and loving, but then yells at you, blames you, maybe even shoves you around a bit! Are you embarrassed that you, somebody who “knows better” got into a relationship with a jerk.

It happens to the best of us! It happens in any gender, race, income bracket, or home. Abuse is not just being hit, slapped, or shoved around, it is all about Power and Control. It’s about being manipulated, lied to, cheated on, taken advantage of, shamed and blamed for everything!

The cycle of Power and Control is all about who is able to “call the shots”, who is “on top”, who “wins” in an argument. The person who uses manipulation, lies, shame and blame to keep that sense of control in a relationship is being abusive.

The cycle of Power and Control goes like this:

  1. the Honeymoon stage: this is the lovey dovey time, when everything you do is good and perfect, when your lover seems to anticipate all your needs, loves on you, and you feel wonderful.
  2. the Tension Buildup stage: things seem to be going south and you can’t figure it out. Now you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, you wonder what’s going on, what are you doing to make your lover act like this. You read books on relationships but nothing you do seems to change things for the better.
  3. the Explosion: This can take several forms, you get yelled at, cursed at, blamed for everything, shamed and emotionally battered or it can go all the way to physical abuse, beating, and worse.
  4. the Remorse stage: the apologies, the “I’ll never do that again”, the “I don’t know what came over me”. This is the stage where you will get a gift, flowers, groceries, do an errand for you, pick up the kids, make or take you out for dinner, whatever it takes to get back into your good graces.

This cycle is not your fault!!!!  Let me repeat this, this cycle is Not Your Fault!!

If you find yourself stuck in a cycle like this you are experiencing life with an abuser, an angry and controlling person, someone who really thinks it’s okay to act like this towards another person and most importantly, you cannot change them.

You can get out! Your heart has the answers for you. You have the inner knowledge and wisdom to make your own decisions to create the life you want. Your intuition holds the key to reduce your stress, to find your meaning, and to live more fully in the present moment.

Cycle of Power and Control
Cycle of Power and Control

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