Aaron Testard, LMFT, LPCC
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (CA; 45320, IL: 166.001539)
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (CA: 1379)
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When you begin with me, I will take time to get to know you, gather information, and assess for clarity around what you are seeking. I am interested in whether you want brief, targeted treatment for a particular issue (or issues); or a more exploratory and longer-term process of uncovering layers. From there, we will visit your progress regularly with the understanding that your needs may change as you change.
I start with the idea that your current experience and choices are tied to early relationships--especially with parental figures--and environment. That said, repair and change happen by focusing on the present. So I use a multi-layered approach to keep us in the "here and now", and to access different routes to consciousness and healing via mind, emotions, body, and spirit.
Therapeutic tools I incorporate have been researched and proven to be effective. They include:
Sensorimotor Therapy: The integration of the body and movement to deepen awareness of self and how one relates, and to transform the experience of one's body, especially in relationship to others.
Mindfulness: The process of bringing attention to one's inner and outer experience in the present moment, usually through meditation, breath work, visualization, and guided directives.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): The use of eye movement, tapping, and/or sound to process trauma by stimulating the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
Expressive Arts Therapy: Using creativity and art in all its forms to connect more deeply to one's experience, process feelings, and change personal narratives.
Psycho-Neuro Education: Educating you about how the brain and nervous system work to help you understand your situation, and to give context to our work together.
Gottman Couples Work: Identifies 9 components of a lasting relationship, and helps you to develop the ones most relevant to you using assessment, communication tools and exercises.
The approaches and methods I use depend on who you are, what works for you, and what you need at a given moment. From our first meeting on, I assess your needs to determine how best to work with you step by step. I will suggest a method if I think it might be helpful, or you can ask me about one.
My Influential Orientations
For those who are interested, I have included brief descriptions of the schools of thought that influence my work below:
The work we do together is anchored in the relationship between you and I. You may find that I reference our relationship often. This is because it is an immediate sample of how you relate to others at different times. Moments between us can be rich opportunities for exploration and transformation.
Creativity, narrative, and imagery are powerful vessels to dive deeply into your own story and the next paths before you. This can be done through dream work, expresive arts, and the exploration of art that we are drawn to including music, film, tv shows, poetry, and prose.
How you think and act as a matter of habit can keep you locked in patterns that no longer work for you. Identifying maladaptive thought schemas and behaviors, and intentionally shifting them, can lay a foundation for relief and change. This often involves out-of-session "homework" and follow-up.
We are shaped by a culture and social structure that defines our abilities, limitations, and general sense of what is possible for us. I might invite time to explore how social expectations have influenced you and how to uncover strength and empowerment within this system.