All posts by Michaela Lonning

About Michaela Lonning

I'm a counselor in Corvallis, Oregon, working mostly with trauma, attachment, and relationship issues. I'm a co-founder of Unlicensed-Practitioner.com and have two other Web sites: Michaela's Counseling and Trauma Therapy 101 I have the dubious distinction of being one of many victims of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners, which claims I'm "practicing psychology without a license" simply by being a counselor under Oregon's Educational Licensing exemption.

“How Can I Get Licensed Practitioners to Take Me Seriously?”

How Do You Avoid Getting the Cold Shoulder, or Worse?

Licensed therapists often want to stone unlicensed practitionersA few years ago, shortly after I’d started my practice, I naively decided to reach out to licensed counselors. Why not? I love a good conversation about the different ways we see the change process happening, and I learn so much from a conversation with a counselor, psychologist, or other therapist. I especially like talking with folks who don’t think or work the same way I do, who bring a different approach to their work.

For example, I’m currently attending an attachment training that facilitates a deep sense of connection between therapist and client. But the counselor I’m talking with most lately does dialectical behavior therapy, and while she’s excellent at facilitating connection with her clients, DBT skills are quite different from the ones I’m learning in the attachment training. If I hung out only with clinicians who thought like me, how would I keep learning? Talking with practitioners who do things differently from how I do them alerts me to other ideas, other trainings to look at, and other ideas to consider. And it helps me know who to refer clients out to when my approach isn’t the right fit for them.

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A Tale of Two Coffee Makers

Making and sharing coffee is a bonding experience with clientsSome time after I started my practice, I decided to bring a coffee maker into my office. This small pot worked perfectly for making coffee or tea to share with a client.

For several of my clients, a tradition evolved around this coffee maker. I had several varieties of coffee and tea. Most clients would establish a favorite flavor early on, and we would brew a pot together. One of us would fill the pot with water while the other dealt with the filter and the coffee or tea. And as the pot was brewing, the client could check in with me about the week.

There was a lovely togetherness about this ritual. It gave clients a routine that helped them to settle and to transition from whatever they’d been doing or thinking about to that, “you and me together, right now” feeling that I like to facilitate in clients. Us both having an equal role in making the coffee also conveyed an equality and a collaboration that was useful to the kind of collaboration I like to facilitate in sessions.

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