I return to Gretchen, not just because she knows my story, but because she’s attuned to what I need. She challenges without pushing, encourages me to take risks while being supported, and gently shines light on old patterns and beliefs that no longer serve me. She is deeply present, and can sit and hold a space where I can lean into my own vulnerabilities and imperfections while feeling seen, heard, and validated. Her kindness and compassion that I experience in session will continue to echo throughout my life.
Over my time in therapy with Gretchen, I always traveled over one bridge or another to arrive at her office. It’s strongly symbolic, as I have crossed so many personal bridges with her guidance. She’s been my sounding board, my cheerleader, and my safest of spaces. Therapy with Gretchen has been playful, and heartbreaking, and at times profound. All of it has been one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.”
Gretchen, so much of the good that presently fills my life flows from the time I have spent with you. In the course of our working together, you have listened, informed, educated, encouraged, consoled, comforted, challenged, supported, guided, affirmed, inspired- and much more! You take counseling to a new level by infusing your practice with empathy, caring and kindness in a way that has “heart” and models the energy and light about which you so often speak.
Thank you for listening; for creating a space that is safe; for respectfully divining the circumstances central to each individual’s development and learning their unique language; for creating an atmosphere in which to explore without judgment while adhering to certain inviolable truths; for holding a space for the best in us even when we are not ready to occupy it; and for doing it all with extraordinary grace and humor. It is in this environment that my partner and I continue to find our way towards one another and perhaps more importantly toward ourselves.”
I am a 57 year old man. Abuse and Trauma started early in my life. I was five years old at my first molestation, the second was at 11 and the final was at 15. At 18 I married and by this time I was drinking alcoholically and continued until I was 47. By 21, my marriage had turned into a physical and emotional abusive relationship. I then experienced another traumatic event that spiritually bankrupted me, and this was the cause for several suicide attempts and was responsible for 3 decades of isolation. It wasn’t until I had 8 years of sobriety that I reached out for help. At that time I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. The trauma created emotional tormented, guilt, shame and destroyed my self-esteem. The Bi-Polar component of my condition brought on deep depression followed by hyper mania. My life was out of control and my behavior was taking a great toll on both personal and professional relationships. When I came into therapy with Gretchen I was unable to trust or be vulnerable to anyone.
Gretchen provides a mind-full based therapy. Her guidance and therapy took the traumatic horrors and gently put them in their final resting place. At the end of each session she guided me into meditation that would calm my biophysical state which was usually extremely shaken. This practice provided closure for so many of my traumatic experiences. To get through this work I began to trust and allowed myself to be vulnerable. There were times that my Bipolar Disorder would hijack me but Gretchen always grounded me in reality with truthful insight. Gretchen brought awareness to distortion that lay within my thoughts, values, beliefs and relationships. I learned that my distortions perpetuated my false negative self. In our earlier work she was teaching me how to clear the racing thoughts by means of meditation which quieted the mind. This skill proved very helpful when I was experiencing mania.
I have learned many life skills from Gretchen. She taught me ways to be in the present moment, she taught me to take care of myself with kindness and compassion. She showed me how to recognize what was going on and how not to attach myself to it. Letting go and letting be are two skills I use a lot. Being in therapy with Gretchen gave me many things to implement in my life. Knowing these skills did not change my life but practicing them has. There is still a lot of work to be brought into my life.
So who am I now? I am a 57 year old man with a healthy self-image. I am no longer isolated and I rejoined my family, found a spiritual connection and I am reconnecting with my life. I am more trusting and receptive. My life is not a panacea by no means, I still live with Bipolar buts it no longer throws my life into chaos. I continue council with Gretchen because I am living the results of our work together. My life has become mine and I expect it to keep improving.”
My fiancé and I first made an appointment with Gretchen because we were having problems with sex. Specifically, we wanted to increase the frequency of sex in our relationship. She felt like I was withholding sex from her I I did not understand why. This lack of intimacy was beginning to affect other parts of our relationship. Disagreements about trivial things were turning into arguments. Worst of all, her self esteem was suffering and I was in complete denial.
Gretchen helped me to understand that passion is actually a very finite emotion and how it is used and where it is directed matters and has an impact on me and others. In my case, I was wasting passion on masturbation. I was using masturbation as a stress reliever after work when I should have been using that passion to show my fiancé how attracted to her I am. Gretchen helped me to be honest with myself and to see the problems, causes, and effects clearly. Our relationship is a success because of this.”