MysticMag chats with Erin LeTellier, MA, a licensed mental health counselor specializing in therapy and education for children, teens, and young adults. At Golden Bridge Counseling, Erin is dedicated to supporting sensory sensitive individuals in overcoming anxiety and finding a sense of belonging within their own bodies.
Your website mentions that you value learning through travel and have lived in multiple countries. How has your experience with different cultures influenced your approach to counseling and therapy?
I believe travel provides valuable perspective – the opportunity to see issues from an alternate viewpoint. This is something I’m consistently doing with clients, helping them acknowledge alternative viewpoints. It’s easy to get stuck in looking at our problems from one perspective but the more we can experience life through different lenses, the more possibilities emerge to help us make positive changes. My time living abroad also helped improve mental flexibility and adaptability, skills that have helped me immensely in my personal and professional life. For this reason, I’m always encouraging my clients to travel! As long as they’re interested and willing to try new experiences, I believe it’s a wonderful way to build confidence and have fun.
For the past nine years I’ve been making annual trips to southern India, so my therapeutic approach has become greatly influenced by Hindu culture and Indian philosophy. I teach a lot of mindfulness skills to clients, including breathing techniques and chanting mantras. Some are really interested, some not so much. I’ve found it’s important to have a wide range of mindfulness skills in my toolbelt because what works for each person can vary so much. It’s a good thing I love learning about mindfulness and am always taking classes, keeps things interesting!
Can you describe the counseling services that Golden Bridge Counseling offers, and how they can benefit individuals seeking mental health support?
In my private practice, Golden Bridge Counseling, I offer individual counseling for highly sensitive children, teens and young adults. When I’m working with children, I request a lot of parent involvement in sessions which often turns out to be a supportive experience for all. I really enjoy educating people of all ages about the brain and body – specifically those that are highly sensitive and neurodiverse. My therapeutic approach is an eclectic blend of different modalities I’ve learned over the years including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Somatic Therapy, HeartMath breathing techniques and biofeedback, Mindfulness-Based therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. Children and adolescents in particular build self-confidence through accomplishments, so at the beginning of treatment we create goals to work on in therapy. It’s beautiful to see their self-esteem start to sky rocket when they understand more about themselves and start achieving their goals. Witnessing those achievements is the best part of my job.
How would you best describe the ‘power’ of craniosacral therapy?
I’m so glad you asked!
Before I became a licensed mental health counselor in Washington, I worked as a massage therapist in a medical office helping patients recover from injury or manage chronic conditions. Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a technique that came from the field of Osteopathic medicine and is a skill I learned as a massage therapist. It’s a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on technique that helps to balance the nervous system, promote relaxation, boost the immune and endocrine systems, relieve pain, and more. Craniosacral focuses on understanding the continuous, subtle movements of the cranial bones in the skull, and how they impact the natural rhythm and flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the spinal cord. These natural rhythms are often disrupted by traumatic or stressful experiences, leading to imbalance in the body and difficulty accessing inherent resilience needed for optimal health. CST can be especially helpful for anxiety, stress, trauma, insomnia, autism, concussion, whiplash, headaches, TMJ pain and neurological disorders.
Though I no longer offer traditional massage, I’ve carried over Craniosacral Therapy into Golden Bridge Counseling for clients who are interested in the subtle, yet powerful, benefits it can bring.
You believe in the power and resilience of the human body and its capacity to heal. How do you incorporate this belief into your counseling approach?
I trust in every client’s capacity to heal. Healing is a choice – the willingness to make positive changes that will help a person heal is their choice, they must choose to be willing. I’m grateful that most people that come to me for therapy are committed to making changes that will help them. My primary role is to help them acknowledge and build upon their natural strengths. Any recommendations, skills or insights I can offer are secondary. I believe that people, in general, are geniuses at getting their needs met. Sometimes the method a person chooses will come with undesirable consequences or side effects, this is where we work together to consider alternative behaviors to produce healthier life choices, relationships, whatever they’re looking for. If you really see someone and listen to them, they will tell you exactly what they need – then it’s just a matter of helping them build skills to meet their needs in healthy ways. This is easiest with children because they will often tell you exactly what is wrong. I listen to children especially, and they are always grateful to be heard.
Somatic therapy (working with emotional issues through the body) is also incredibly effective. The body never lies. Once a trauma or stuck energy is removed from the body, the entire system will naturally and automatically move more toward homeostasis. Our bodies want to be healthy and whole – often times the biggest obstacles preventing mental or physical health are stress, unprocessed emotions, and limiting beliefs.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to seek counseling or therapy, and how would you encourage them to take the first step towards seeking support?
Taking the first step toward getting support takes courage. I want to acknowledge that it can take a lot of courage. Some clients that come to me are skeptical or have had previous bad or ineffective experiences in therapy. I tell them that what matters most is that they feel comfortable in my office. Most people know whether or not they are comfortable with someone within minutes (or seconds) of meeting them. I’ve heard that 80% of what makes therapy successful is the relationship between the therapist and the client, and I believe that’s really true. I encourage anyone who is seeking therapy to look around, read different therapist bios and meet with a therapist you think you’ll feel comfortable with because that connection is so important. If the first try is not a good fit, keep looking! I think most mental health professionals know how important it is to “be a good fit” and will understand if you decide to move on. I even tell clients I’ll help them find a new therapist if I’m not the right fit. My goal is that people find the support they need, everyone deserves to have support.
If you would like to find out more about Erin LeTellier, visit https://www.erinletellier.com/