1130902031Our work together is about YOU.

I realize there may be some butterflies in your stomach right now, and I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me better.

Meeting with me is meant to occur in a safe space to share what you want. But also know you can decide what you do not wish to share with me. I am pretty good at reading body language, including when someone is holding back.

I know that coming to counseling is to push you out of your comfort zone and be open to different perspectives. However, I am not an in-your-face person and will not call you out on things unless we have established that type of bond. Instead, I believe people are on their journey at their own pace.

I will respect your needs, encourage you at times, and give you the space to decide your most comfortable path forward.

We are in this together!

Continuing to work with me, you will get someone who hears you and understands what you are going through. Though it may sound cliché, ‘You are not alone.’ But I mean it.

We will partner to explore your challenges and help you find the strength to get past this chapter in your life. You will gain tools that will provide you the ability to overcome the difficulties from your past and present and the ability to apply them to any future challenges that come your way.

And it is okay to come back for refresher sessions when having those self-doubts, even when you have the tools.

About Mara, LMHC

HeadshotLet me tell you more about my journey.

It started with two movies that may age me – Little Giants (1994) and Any Given Sunday (1999). First, with Little Giants, I had one of those ah-ha moments that clicked for me, still to this day. “Just remember football is 80% mental, 40% physical.” I know the math does not add up, but that saying made me think a little more about my abilities and the many times I got in my way due to my thoughts. We lose track of time in our heads as we try to process our thoughts, but in real-time, we miss our shots.

Any Given Sunday provided my second ah-ha moment. As you might be able to tell, I enjoy football. But anyway, what got me in this movie was that the athletes received treatment as objects, and one wrong move meant that the athlete’s well-being would be over, but it didn’t matter because they were replaceable. But there was a doctor who stood up for the athlete, even when the athlete could not reason about his situation.

Thinking about those movies is when it clicked for me as to what I wanted to do with my life – to help support individuals to feel balanced as a whole person, mind and body working together harmoniously rather than a tornado seeing only chaos while trying to cope with life’s challenges. I am here to help athletes know they have a voice and can make decisions on and off the field that will set them up for success for the rest of their lives.

Connecting mind and body facilitates well-being.

While getting my undergraduate degree in psychobiology, I studied and worked as a student athletic trainer assigned to the girls’ volleyball team. I also worked with other athletes in baseball, soccer, track, and the swim team. I heard them talk about the stressors of being a student-athlete, navigating college life, and setting plans for after college.

With my degree, I wanted to focus on understanding the connections between the mind and body, which continued with my first job working at an eating disorder facility while gaining my master’s in Mental Health Counseling. While working to help treat athletes and nonathletes with eating disorders or at my practice, it was clear that our actions and behaviors respond to our thoughts, which is also true for clients needing treatment for trauma, anger management, anxiety, and depression.

That is why I connect to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing approaches. Together, we will look at our function of emotions, the purpose of physical reactions and behaviors, and how thoughts serve you. We will also look at values you want to be remembered for and learn ways to start living that life today.

Our work together will be a fantastic adventure and well worth the ride to start living the life meant for you to live today.

Feel free to stop reading, but here is a bit more.

I am an open book, happily married to a wonderful man with two incredible daughters and an energetic dog named Olive. We are human, and we, too, go through ups and downs.

However, a little secret to enjoying life is finding a way to let your guard down and be vulnerable, accessible, and open to infinite possibilities, by seeing further than our tunnel vision of fear tries to control.

In other words, one needs to have an advanced athletic mind. I know it’s corny, but you get the point of where the practice name comes from.