Areas of Counseling Specialty
Lark’s approach to working with couples is primarily inspired by the work of John Gottman, PhD, and Julie Gottman, PhD. She has trained up to Level III with the Gottman Institute and has been accepted into their certification program. Lark specializes in helping couples transition out of blame and criticism and into greater appreciation and enjoyment of one another.
All couples have arguments, but healthy couples argue effectively and make lasting repairs. During intense discord, or when the arguing just feels like too much, the body tends to get hyper-aroused and go into “fight-or-flight” mode. Lark assists partners in developing skills for shifting from psychological and physiological tension into relaxation, even while continuing to disagree. In this way, rational thinking returns, empathy expands, and arguments end faster. The couple is also able to re-establish connection more quickly afterward. As partners learn to identify and recognize the warning signs of their relationship getting derailed, future discord can be more readily prevented by using antidotes that increase understanding and connection.
One of the most rewarding aspects of couples counseling is assisting partners in getting to know one another deeply, all over again. As each person changes and grows, partners may not necessarily stay “caught up” with these changes. When a couple develops mutual understanding and acceptance based on each person’s present truth and stage of life, real friendship can be created and love can be expanded. As partners communicate and clarify their perspectives, they begin to move from entanglement to healthy interdependence. Lark loves to work with LGBTQ+ and heterosexual couples. Click here for more information about the work of John and Julie Gottman or couples counseling at Lovejoy Counseling Services.
Lark’s approach to counseling is guided by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), particularly the work of Dr. Russ Harris. As human beings, we can be influenced by our environment and susceptible to the conditioning of our thoughts and behaviors. Observing one’s inner dialogue, including thought patterns and the emotions they evoke, expands consciousness and opportunity for choice. Learning how to “unhook” from unhelpful thoughts and “make room” for unpleasant emotions, can increase effectiveness and psychological flexibility.
At times, learning new skills and behaviors will provide the tools required to address a concern more successfully. Among the tools that clients frequently find helpful are cognitive defusion, mindfulness, acceptance, interpersonal effectiveness, and values identification. Trauma-informed care practices are used to sensitively address those aspects of experience that have been touched by trauma. Click here for more information about ACT.
Lark was trained in grief and loss support at WinterSpring. Currently, she offers grief and loss counseling for individuals and groups. Grief and loss can result from a myriad of circumstances including death, loss of health, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, and many others.
Lark will support you in honoring your loss and moving through grief at your own pace. Many experience pressure to “move on” faster than what is comfortable or reasonable. Sometimes, giving one’s self permission to fully grieve can facilitate change more than forcing one’s self to be “over” a loss. In the group setting, a grief and loss ceremony is offered in which each person’s loss can be honored and acknowledged. Relating to another’s loss can often be supportive and healing. Click here for more information about WinterSpring or groups at Lovejoy Counseling Services.
Addictions & Recovery
Lark has been providing counseling for those with addiction-related issues for nine years. She will support you in discovering the underlying causes of addiction and finding new ways of getting your needs met without substances or other undesired behaviors. Lark will offer you a wide menu of tools to choose from that can be used in difficult moments. She will assist you in addressing guilt and shame so that more self-compassion can be developed. Lark will support you in creating a healthy lifestyle in which well-being can be cultivated. Click here for the SAMHSA website.
Lark provides both group and individual counseling that focuses on the relationship between addiction and mental health issues such as trauma, depression, and anxiety. She leads a Seeking Safety group, which is a research-based program that has been shown to be helpful for those who have been self-medicating due to overwhelming emotions related to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Lark will assist you in discovering the underlying causes of addiction and support you in moving toward meeting your needs without substances or other addictive behaviors. She provides trauma-informed care based on the knowledge that most people’s lives have been touched by some form of trauma. She also understands that trauma can affect a person’s ability to function and do things that other people seem to do easily. Lark will assist you in learning how to “make room” for your emotions and find effective ways to navigate life’s opportunities. Click here for more information on Seeking Safety.
Lark provides family therapy for parents and adolescents. Her approach to working with families is inspired by the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) modalities. CPS aims to help teens and their parents learn to resolve disagreements and disputes in a collaborative, mutually satisfactory manner. This type of therapy posits two major tenets: 1. Social, emotional, and behavioral challenges in teens are best understood as the byproduct of lagging skills (rather than, for example, attention-seeking, manipulation, limit-testing, or signs of poor motivation). 2. Obstacles are best addressed by resolving the problems that set the stage for challenging behavior in a collaborative manner (rather than through reward and punishment programs or intensive imposition of adult will).
ACT aims to help teens develop mindfulness skills, identify what matters to them, and set goals that support them in moving toward increased meaning and purpose in life. Teaching teens core skills in the areas of communication, leadership, interpersonal relations, decision making, coordination, and adaptability can help them to navigate family dynamics and other types of interpersonal relationship issues more effectively.
A number of issues can be addressed in individual therapy. Teens may bring concerns related to overcoming challenges in such areas as depression, anxiety, grief/loss, difficulties with following rules, mood swings, and coping with difficult life situations such as trauma, chronic illness, or family changes. Family members are typically invited to participate in counseling to serve as resources and supports for the teen’s growth and recovery.