Erika is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas and is a National Certified Counselor through the National Board of Certified Counselors, NBCC. She has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University and a Masters in Counseling from the University of North Texas. Erika has experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families. Her approach to counseling is to collaborate with the client to develop a respectful and trusting therapeutic relationship that facilitates growth and change.
Erika offers play therapy/activity therapy, individual, family and animal assisted therapy. She has experience working with depression, attention difficulties, anxiety, communication skills, relationship skills, stress management, parenting skills, substance abuse, grief and loss, divorce and blended families.
Play therapy is the ideal choice for children ages 4 to 12. During play therapy sessions, children are given the opportunity to express themselves through their natural form of communication, play. Children are able to express feelings of stress, anger, sadness and fear through the use carefully selected toys. Play stimulates creativity, self exploration, and practice with social skills, life skills and problem solving skills. Children are able to express what is troubling them even if they do not have the verbal language to do so. During play therapy, children are provided a safe and supportive environment and a trusting therapeutic relationship to work through internal struggles and learn more adaptive behaviors.
Adults often seek counseling services for support and advice on working through life issues, but teens are in the process of forming their own identity and typically do not want more advice from an adult. Adults choose to attend counseling where as teens can feel forced to attend by their parents. The first goal in counseling is for the teen to feel respected and to show them that with their help they can feel understood. Trust is the essential element in counseling and without it the therapy process comes to a hault. Once the teen feels safe and comfortable with the counselor then we can begin to work through the issues that brought them to counseling. Most teens are able to relax in the session when given an activity to work on, therefore art, music, and other activities that foster expression of feelings are incorporated into counseling.
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) and Individual Psychology Oriented Therapy is available to adults to address the following issues:
Grief/Loss Anger Management
Social Skills Parenting Skills
Self Esteem Stress Management
Relationship Conflict Communication Skills
Members of a family are each unique and possess different feelings, needs, wants and viewpoints. Differences can lead to difficulties and conflict within families. Family therapy focuses on the family as a unit or system and not just individual members. A therapist can help a family work towards healthier relationships and facilitate improved communication so that all members feel valued, understood and accepted.
Chloe (pictured above) current therapy dog in training.
The formal definition of Animal Assisted Therapy: "AAT is a goal-directed intervetion in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an intergral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise, and within the scope of practice of his/her profession."
AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning (cognitive functioning refers to thinking and intellectual skills). AAT is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature.
AAT is used in counseling to assist in meeting the following goals:
Improvement in mental health
Increased attention skills
Develop leisure/recreation skills
Improve willingness to be involved in group activity
Improve interactions with others.