About Heidi Ehrlich, MA, LMHC, NCC
Heidi is a licensed mental health counselor in Washington State, a Washington State approved supervisor, a Nationally Certified Counselor, and an adjunct instructor in the Counselor Education Department at Gonzaga University. Heidi obtained her bachelor’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology in 2004 from Eastern Washington University and her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from Gonzaga University in 2010. Currently, Heidi is pursuing a Ph.D in Counselor Education and Supervision from Capella University. Heidi is passionate about suicide prevention and postvention, helping people heal from trauma, traumatic grief (e.g. suicide loss, homicide loss, child loss) and childhood adversities, and helping people with integrating grief and loss in a meaningful way. Heidi facilitates individual and group counseling through her private practice, and she offers a free support group for Suicide loss survivors called SOLOS. Heidi is a certified EMDR Therapist and is also a Certified Grief Educator.
What Heidi wants you to know about how she approaches counseling:
I believe much of what shapes us (e.g. how we see ourselves and others, how we behave, how we manage emotions, how we seek to connect, etc.) as humans stems from our attachment relationships and life experiences. Being able to feel safe in all regards and to have our basic needs met is critical to our health, and I believe we cannot separate mental health from physical health. I think we need safety, understanding, nurturance, curiosity, and a non-judgmental space in order to fully heal. Furthermore, I believe in working hard at understanding perceptions and behaviors from a developmental, cultural, and contextual perspective.
Counseling is best when it is individualized to meet the needs of each unique human being. I believe it is important to understand what we are feeling in the here and now, what is bringing about the feeling(s) even if it is from the past, and learning how to attend to the present feelings by identifying corresponding needs. Along with feelings, it is important to reflect on self-talk and thinking patterns and how those play a role in what is happening. The goal of counseling from my perspective is creating harmony within one’s self including living congruently with one’s values, having the ability to hold multiple truths at once without having to minimize one or the others, connecting to one’s feelings and figuring out what they are communicating about current needs, and then becoming one’s own problem solver by figuring out what is needed to attend to emotional pain or dissonance. I also believe there is a goal for the individual to feel connected to their support system, a system built on safety interdependence, and healthy communication.
It is my belief that healing, growth, and transformation may be accomplished through establishing a safe counseling relationship (also called a therapeutic alliance), assisting the client in identifying strengths and meaningful goals, fostering strong supports to lean on in the clients’ family and community, educating clients about practices that may improve their mental health, and exploring past and present experiences to help develop improved self-awareness and behavior change. It is also highly important to choose interventions that are developmentally appropriate. For instance, counseling for children will look different than counseling for adults as children often process and communicate through play.
It is also important to mention that having a commitment to working in therapy is important and timing of interventions is critical. It is okay if the client feels unsure about being ready to start counseling. Sometimes there is work required just to be ready to do the work much like there is work to do to prepare a garden for planting seeds.
To assist the client with developing and working towards their goals, I use a variety of treatment models and techniques including:
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
• Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
• CBT+ Depression/Anxiety/Behaviors (for children/teens)
• Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
• Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA)
• Restorative Retelling Model for Violent Death
• Motivational Interviewing
• Non-Violent Communication
• Experiential Therapies
• Sandtray Therapy
• Play therapy
• Complicated Grief Therapy
• Techniques from Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy
Providing ethical and culturally sensitive services is the foundation of the work I do, and I look to the client as an expert about their life and what they need to be successful. I approach the counseling relationship as a collaborative process meaning I do not make decisions for my clients, but rather, I work with the client to create a treatment plan that honors the clients wishes while offering interventions to assist the client in making progress. I do my best to stay informed about evidenced based practices and propose interventions that are for the specific issues the client is facing. Sometimes, there are issues outside of the scope of my practice, and in those cases, my role is to assist the client in finding the appropriate professional to help through referrals to other providers or sources of support.
Hope Haven Counseling Mission
We strive to provide a healing space for those who are hurting due to the impact of trauma, adversity, and/or painful grief and loss. Each individual’s experience is unique, and we aspire to walk alongside people with the goal of helping them find hope and healing. Education, prevention, servant leadership, and compassion are prioritized as we seek to have the most impact possible on those we serve. We serve with curiosity, humility, and love.
Hope Haven Counseling Vision
We have a vision that those we serve will heal and be inspired to share their courage and hope with others sparking a beautiful butterfly effect in the world.