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Am I the right counselor for you?

  • Work with me from anywhere in the world over Skype or Zoom video
  • See me in person in Corvallis, Oregon.

Who I am

I’m a counselor who receives on-going training in how to help clients get out of their heads and into their hearts and their bodies. I participate in a weekly consultation/supervision group. I’m also about to return to school to go for my master’s degree in counseling. What you will get with me are the strategies I continue to hone from my ongoing training and supervision. What you won’t get is diagnosis or treatment of mental illness. (There are a lot of practitioners who will provide diagnosis and treatment, and I’m happy to help with referrals!)

I help high functioning clients who get to work or school okay, and who would like a bit of support with sadness, overwhelm, and sorting through relationship struggles. If you see me, we’ll talk regularly about how our work is going to make sure we’re on the right track and to help ensure I’m the right counselor for you.

Your consultation will help us to find out if we’re a fit, too. A consultation is not the same thing as entering into a counseling relationship/contract — you can schedule one to see if we’re a fit and to discuss referrals.

Does this sound like you?

Most of my successful clients have things in common. If you’re like them, I may be the right counselor for you:

  • You are highly sensitive.
  • You feel a lot of shame.
  • You have talked your way through therapy before, without deep change happening.
  • You have a lot of compassion for others, but are much harder on yourself.
  • You were abandoned or betrayed.
  • You have sometimes doubted your own worth or your own take on things.
  • You dream of doing really cool things, but you have difficulty either taking on new projects or finishing them.
  • Your close relationships are difficult.
  • You are the rock for others in your life, but no one is your rock.

Did you answer yes to more than three of these questions? (Or answer a very strong yes to even one or two?) If so, I’d love to meet you. I like working with people like you!

Would you like to meet me? Read these testimonials, all from actual clients in their actual words. Then email me at michaela@michaelas-counseling.com to schedule a consultation.

What my counseling clients say:

“I can’t believe how much easier it is for me now. I can get through the day without crying. I can go to work. I can talk to people. I haven’t felt this good in a long, long time!”

“I was beyond burnt out on therapy before I met you, and never would have come to see you if we hadn’t met by chance. But I’m so glad I did meet with you, because you changed my idea of therapy, and showed me that I’m not just a ‘set of symptoms,’ and that there are things that can help me. I finally know how to keep my peace instead of going into a rage. I never would have thought this was possible before we met!”

“It’s like there was this sense of being blocked — like concrete in my heart somehow. I can feel the concrete melting now. I’m crying, but with relief this time.”

“I used to feel like I needed other people to take care of me, and I felt so desperate. It was a need that never felt like it eased up, and I had parts inside that wouldn’t work together. Now, it’s like the parts are along with me, and we’re working together. I feel like I can take care of myself now, like I have support from inside.”

“At the end of our work together, I know I’ve come a long way. And I enjoyed our work, too! And I love how many approaches you use, and how you’re always learning new things and bringing them to our work. It kept the work so fluid and dynamic. We did hypnosis, and I had big breakthroughs.   The therapy that worked with my body helped me to feel a sense of boundaries and  solidity in myself. And your empathy helped me to feel what I was feeling, to stop suppressing my emotions.
My relationships are better. I know what I want, and I can say it. I’m taking care of myself, and all the parts of me are working together.

I know I’m ready to move forward. I was stuck, and you helped me to get unstuck!”

I feel like you ‘get me’, and you know ways to help me to move through and past things that have been holding me back for a long time. I finally know how to keep my peace instead of going into a rage. I never would have thought this was possible before we met!”

“I know it’s safe in here because your words, your posture, your laugh — they all tell me it’s really okay to bring all of me here. It’s a sense of safety I’ve needed for a long time.”

“I suddenly had this epiphany — this realization — that most people are safe. Most people mean well. I hadn’t felt that before. I’d always been on guard without even knowing it.

I used to be so hard on myself. Now, I can catch myself starting to do that, and I imagine your compassion. Your compassion for me is helping me to be compassionate toward myself, and that changes things for me.”

“My energy is coming back, and I can focus now. With the things I’ve learned, I can settle myself and focus. I’m so much calmer at work, and that’s making my time there much more productive!”

“My boss gave me a piece of feedback, and before, I would have just shut down and felt angry at her — and like a failure inside. This time, I saw her feedback as a true gift, and I was able to take it in and make real improvements. She noticed the difference!”

“My partner and I got into an argument again, but I was able to calm down so much more quickly and speak so that he could hear me. He said this is the first time he’s seen me so at ease, and it’s so much easier for us to talk!”

All these words above are from clients of mine, folks who started out feeling unsure of themselves. Some of them had to work hard to get themselves to therapy! But they did schedule to see me, and they followed through. For some clients, coming to counseling is a leap of faith, or an act of honoring themselves even when they’re not sure yet that they can get better.

See Me in Face-to-Face or Over Internet Video

My counseling office is in downtown Corvallis, Oregon, so I am also within easy reach of Philomath, Albany, Lebanon, Monroe, Monmouth, and the surrounding areas.

And I see clients from around the world via Skype or Zoom video. See my online counseling page.

I'm ready for practical, interactive counseling!

 

Get more tips and information

To learn more, keep looking around! If what you’ve read and seen has connected with  you,  follow me on social media and/or subscribe to my newsletter! I put videos regularly on YouTube, and you can also find my latest stuff on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus — just use the social media icons you see on the screen to pick how you’d like to get your information!

Michaela Lonning
260 SW Madison Ave, Suite 104-5
Corvallis Oregon 97333

(541)224-6732

michaela@michaelas-counseling.com

Join my Weekly DBT-Informed Skills Group in Corvallis

Looking for a DBT-informed skills group in Corvallis, Oregon? I have one! Give me a call at (541)224-6732 to sign up!

First, the details:

  • When: Saturdays, from 3-5 pm.
  • Where: 260 SW Madison Ave, Ste 104-5, Corvallis OR 97333.
  • How much: $60 per session, with a sliding scale that goes down to $30/session. You pay by check or credit card for 4 sessions at a time.
  • Starting date: You can join anytime! I’ll offer you the worksheets that will help you to understand what we’re about from the start, and our group is supportive and will help you to start to understand and use these skills right away.
  • Prerequisites: A working knowledge of English! And a willingness to use the skills between classes (that’s your homework). You do not have to be in individual therapy (Though I’ll advise it if you have needs beyond the scope of our skills group’s objectives,  so you’re well-supported.) . You don’t have to “believe in” DBT or be prepared for “deep” work in group. This is more of an interactive classroom experience.
  • Duration: 6 months to get through all the skills. As long as you like to keep getting support, seeing how others use the skills, and getting to understand more and more deeply how these skills can apply to your life.

What is My DBT-Informed Skills Group?

DBT lays out four sets of skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal skills. When you join my group, you’ll learn all four sets.

  1. Mindfulness. Ever been angry and curious at the same time? It’s hard to do! Mindfulness is getting big these days. When we’re curious, when we’re living in the moment, it’s hard to be freaked out. You can bring gentle focused awareness to any feeling, and it will change in some way. Mindfulness is now a core piece of many therapies. “Let’s get curious together” is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness, as Linehan teaches it, is learned through structured practice. Her worksheets offer you tons of different ways to practice it so you can find lots of ways that work for you.
  2. Distress Tolerance: I word this, “how to get through the difficult moments without accidentally making them worse.” Because when we’re really upset or mad or scared, we can tend to do things that do make it worse! We’ve all snapped at someone in anger and wish later that we hadn’t said something so hurtful. Some of us have shut down when we’re hurt rather than talking about it. The people Marsha started out working with would sometimes do dangerous things, sometimes to contain their distress, and sometimes to communicate it in the best way they knew how. Distress tolerance offers lots of ways for you to bring the most intense feelings down fast. When we can do this, we can keep things from blowing up in our faces!
  3. Emotional Regulation: Often, people with lots of distress who do things impulsively have emotions that come to the surface very quickly. They suddenly feel despair, or anger, or cycle between angry and numb. Marsha offers tools to identify your emotions, name them (which helps all by itself!), and also offers very specific ways to help you to sort them out. So that emotions can be mined for information about what you need or want, and so you can start to take a step back from emotions that are overwhelming. And gain skills to work with them – to notice them with compassion and curiosity, and to try different skills for reducing the ones that are getting too much and making it hard to think or act.
  4. Interpersonal Skills: Lots of people LOVE these skills! Marsha has training in behavior modification, which is basically how to help people want to do what we want them to do. She gives concrete ways to make friends, ways to discuss conflicts, ways to make requests assertively but kindly — ways to get more of what you want in your relationships. And less of what you don’t want!

These are skills that we can all use! I won’t be just teaching these: I’ll be practicing them right along with you. We’ll have time and space to discuss our successes, our failures, and to brainstorm together about how to use skills in various situations.

There’s homework! Which lots of clients come to like, because it gives them reminders on what to DO in moments where they used to flounder or kinda react on auto-pilot.

I also endeavor to keep the group compassionate toward your experiences.  I bring in ways to use mindfulness to help you to identify and jump out of a memory, or how to have compassionate curiosity toward your moments where you’re feeling things from the past. We don’t process past trauma in the group, but if you have tough memories (like we all do!), I’ll help you to use these skills in ways that are self-validating and that honor the reality of the past’s impact on your current life. And that help you back into the present moment.

“Should I Join?”

You’re likely to be a great fit for my DBT-informed skills group if:

  1. A professional you trust has recommended that you take a DBT skills group. (What’s the difference between “DBT” and “DBT-Informed?” According to a recent course I took offered by Marsha Linehan, Dbt-certified therapists prefer to call these more loosely structured skills groups “DBT-informed” rather than “DBT”. We go through the same worksheets a full DBT program has, but a full program  offers comprehensive individual DBT therapy, certified DBT therapists, and skills training phone calls.  The closest one I know of is in Portland. It’s more extensive and more intensive to be in a full DBT program. I hear that my group is very welcoming, and that we get through the worksheets but in a more conversational manner. I don’t teach from a whiteboard; we sit together and talk through each skill together.
  2. You’d like to be with others with similar struggles, providing brainstorming, support, community, and examples.

“Sign Me Up!”

Ready to join my DBT-informed skills group? You’re welcome to join us after we talk to make sure this is a good fit for you. Give me a call at (541)224-6732 and we’ll take it from there.

Even More about DBT: How it came to be

DBT stands for dialectical behavior therapy. Here’s how it came about: Marsha Linehan, a psychologist, decided to do a research study and show how effective CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) was.

Then, she made a discovery: Not all clients benefit from  CBT. Some don’t benefit at all. Some people, when they’re talking about their pain, feel really invalidated if they’re simply taught to “think differently about it” or to “behave differently to feel better.”

She’d tell them to change their thoughts and behaviors, and they’d say, “I can’t! Don’t you see how much pain I’m in?”

So she tried the opposite. She validated their pain.She was warm. She was empathic. She was reflective. That didn’t work either! Or it was a half-step forward. Clients started saying, “That’s great that you understand my pain. But now what are we going to DO about it?”

Marsha developed a treatment that does both: Validates the depth of the struggle, really grasping how very scary those hard moments are. A treatment that “gets” how hard it is to think straight when your heart is racing, your hands are shaking, and you’re freaking out.

But also an approach that gives you things to DO in those hard, hard moments. Specific things. Simple things. Things you can remember and do when you’re really struggling. And ways to make your life better in between, so those moments happen less and less often, with less and less intensity.

And more skills to make good moments happen more and more often.

Skills broken down into categories. Into simple, doable things. Lots and lots of things. Things to do, to try. Lots of coaching on how to get through the hard moments. And also, lots and lots of coaching to build more good moments.

This strategy worked. It works by combining validation with specific skills.

Its success has been repeated. Many times by many therapists.

I see it working with my group too, and it’s fun to watch and hear! Clients talk about these skills with excitement, and share new successes and realizations every week. When things don’t go quite as planned, we brainstorm together about other skills that might be useful or what may have kept the person from using the skills.

I hear that, as a group, we’re compassionate, fun, and that the setting is warm and welcoming.

We have fun and playful moments in every group.

Want to join us? Call me at (541)224-6732. We’ll welcome you!