Stephanie Perez, Licensed Professional Counselor
My goal is to help you find acceptance and love for yourself as an individual and to attain a state of balance and equality within your mind, body, and spirit. My focus is consciousness and the Self as it speaks from the most authentic version of one’s inner world. I believe that everyone ultimately knows their own truth, and that I am there to help them find it. I utilize a Motivational Interviewing approach; I am very focused on your narrative and behaviors and encourage mindfulness within your life. I like to use Internal Family Systems model and will sometimes suggest the incorporation of experiential activities to facilitate connections to emotions. I am a very accepting person and it is important to me that you feel comfortable, secure, and supported. I will sometimes challenge, and it will always be done with love.. I aim to empower you and evoke the will to express yourself and to create your dreams.
Spirituality/ Mindfulness/ Existential
What is the mind anyway? How is it connected with the body and the spirit? Are they even connected at all? Life is very big, and the mysteries are endless. I think this creates the survivalists within us all. It is tempting to defend oneself through avoidance and distraction from the truths out there. What if those truths can be the very thing that sets you free? One of the things I love most is a paradigm shift in one’s perspective; an aha moment where they feel reminded of a realization they already knew. If you are willing to explore the depths of your consciousness and the truths of existence and yourself, I will go there with you.
Addictions Procrastination Motivation
Addictions will always be a favorite area of practice for me. I have had the privilege to work with a population of individuals who struggle with addiction to opiates, as well as amphetamine, cocaine, and benzodiazepines. I believe in a harm reduction approach to addictions and meeting people where they are at in the present moment. Addictions can often bring people to feelings of shame and guilt, but I want you to know that you are not alone and that you can achieve the things you want and reclaim your life.
Although drugs can be a very addictive substance, addictions can be found in other areas of our lives. Interestingly addiction is closely correlated with procrastination and motivation. It is hard to face the task at hand, when you know you have miles to go before you sleep, especially when you are motivated to avoid discomfort. This can lead to what seems like an unending cycle. I am in your corner to remind you of your strengths and abilities and encourage you to find your purpose.
Recovery can be a long process. Learning and growing new skills takes time and patience through the setbacks and failures we will inevitably experience. It is important to feel supported and encouraged through this process, and sometimes additional referrals are needed.
Depression and Anxiety
In the end, what matters is that you are who you are, simply beautiful, in all your failures and successes, short comings and long comings. Because you could not be one without the other. Depression and anxiety are debilitating conditions that can be scary and create feelings of hopelessness. What is important to know is that both conditions are most often the result of the unbalanced mind. Life will sometimes irritate the mind and spin it into thoughts such as possible predictions about the future and/or memories from the past. While this is an amazing human ability, it can sometimes get out of our control. Utilizing various techniques such as Mindfulness, to reconnect the mind and body, can be healing. I also like to incorporate the Internal Family Systems model to these parts of ourselves that have positive intentions for our lives and may in fact deserve compassion. Sometimes the chemical imbalance will benefit from additional use of medication. This may involve consulting a physician and maintaining medication during the counseling process.
Motivational Interviewing and Internal Family Systems
I am certified in Motivational Interviewing which is an exploration modality I utilize when investigate your inner world with you. It is also a way of being with you. I believe that you are ultimately the expert of your life and that you are doing the best you can with what you have at the moment. Sometimes a strategically placed question can get us to open our eyes to something we have not considered before or remind us of the answer we already knew. I sometimes incorporate the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model into session to assist people with understanding their internal psyche and dialogue. IFS recognizes that our psyche is comprised of different parts, or subpersonalities, that all play a different role in our life, much like a family system. Sometimes these parts of ourselves can be a nuisance to us. It is helpful to gain a better understanding of the role they play in our life and to learn how to best work with our parts in a manner that is curious, compassionate, and loving.
Originally from Southern California, I joined the military at 18 years old. I served 9 years in the United States Air Force as a dental technician. Don’t underestimate the dental technician. We have a knack for connecting with people easily and making them feel comfortable. The military allowed me to spend several years abroad and experienced various cultures in multiple countries. I received by bachelor’s degree in Psychology from American Military University and later completed my graduate studies in Counseling at Colorado Christian University. Studying at Colorado Christian allowed me to experience additional curriculum in spiritual studies and incorporating its many pathways into my philosophy and practice.
I have had experience with working with at-risk youths that struggled with substance abuse and comorbid disorders. I currently work with individuals that struggle with opiate addiction and require medication assisted treatment. Within this array of clientele, I find myself exposed to all walks of life, without discrimination. Often substance abuse is closely correlated with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and other personality disorders. I also work with individuals with phase of life challenges, attachment issues, abuse, grief and loss, interpersonal relational concerns, and spiritual issues. Working with crisis often has prepared me to hold a lot of emotion while maintaining composure and respond calmly and objectively. My overall experience with various walks of people, in various settings, has resulted in my adaptability, flexibility and fluidness with others. I pay attention to little details and naturally shift directions if necessary.
When not focused on my practice and trade, I am a mother of two boys, a teenager and an 8-year-old. I enjoy exploring Austin, going to the movies, kayaking and hiking. As a hobby, I love to sculpt and do dioramas. A large part of my life is focused on yoga, meditation, and the study of consciousness.