My Approach to Counseling
In my counseling office, you are the most important person in the room. My knowledge and training are certainly helpful, but applying these things in the best way so that they are tailored for you, and help you to meet your goals, is what is most important.
In the counseling office, I try to get a holistic idea about your life and whatever problems you are going through. My number one goal is to listen well and to help you to feel understood. Our counseling relationship is also a space where you will be free from judgment — you can tell me about that off-the-wall thing that you do on Tuesday nights, and I will understand that this behavior makes sense to you. No shame attached.
Finally, while you are the most important person in the room, you are also going to be the hardest-working. Counselors do not change clients; clients change clients. Thus, I will be a support to you through your issues and help you to understand your own feelings and responses to events, and offer research-based ideas on how you might be able to change your feelings, situations, and circumstances. However, you will have to be the one to do the actual work of self-reflection, self-understanding, self-compassion, and revised behavior. While this work can be heavy at times, I absolutely think it is one of the most worthwhile pursuits you can make. It’s a journey that can impact your entire life, not just the weekly hour that we spend together.
In short, I’m excited for you and sincerely look forward to meeting you!
My Personal Story
My parents divorced when I was young and my father suddenly passed away when I was a teenager. My family and I knew little about the world of counseling, so I never received professional counseling help at the time of those difficulties. Unfortunately, since I never healed, my emotional difficulties came out in the form of a severe bulimic eating disorder when I was in college. My mom noticed I was making a lot of calls home completely obsessed with diet, exercise, and body image, and she lovingly booked me an appointment with a counselor, saying that I did not have to go but that the appointment was available to me if I wanted it.
I didn’t think I needed counseling (I mistakenly thought, at the time, that only “crazy” people needed counselors – now I know today that everyone should see a counselor!), but I never cancelled the appointment, so we wound up going. I was blessed to find out the power of counseling even in that first session: the counselor asked me what I didn’t like about myself when I looked in the mirror, and it gave me the opportunity to say out loud for the first time ever the thoughts that had plagued my mind and energy for a very long time. Suddenly, I was no longer alone in my challenge.
My hope is to help you to find the courage to say out loud the things that are holding you back. One of my favorite quotes about human beings is, “What we resist, persists. What we can feel, we can heal.” If you can find that courage to dig deep and be honest with yourself and with me, together we can work to get you feeling lighter, more confident in your ability to cope, and more free from the chains that are holding you back.
Areas of Interest and Expertise
As a clinical mental health counselor, I am able to work with you on just about any challenge you may be experiencing, from depression and anxiety, to substance abuse and relationship issues. I welcome clients from all walks of life and with all types of goals.
Some areas I have experience in or am especially interested in include:
- Cognitive behavior therapy
- Person-centered therapy
- Christian-oriented therapy/faith-based counseling
- Military life, military families, and related issues
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD)
- Gestalt therapy
- Substance abuse
- Relationship/communication issues
- Eating Disorders
- Grief and loss
- Sexuality, including wanted and unwanted same-sex attraction
- Gender identity
- Women’s issues
- Logotherapy (finding meaning in one’s life)
- Cultural issues
- Attachment theory
- Master’s of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia
- Certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC)
- Pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), certification as a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), and certification as a Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH)
- Currently practicing as a Resident in Counseling under the supervision of Dr. Sherry Todd, Ph.D., LPC
I am passionate about counseling and the freedoms it can bring to my clients. As a result, I am part of several professional associations and counseling-related groups that keep me current in the field and help me to learn new and effective ways to practice.
- American Counseling Association (ACA), member
- Northern Virginia Licensed Professional Counselors (NVLPC), member
- Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), professional counselors honor society, member
- Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (ISSI), research team member
- Cross-cultural supervision — provide pro-bono supervision to Ukraine counseling student(s)
NVLPC professional profile: https://www.nvlpc.org/members/default.asp?id=53333193
Psychology Today Profile: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/crystal-hamling-falls-church-va/395452?sid=: