I’ve been a psychotherapist since 1994 and I strongly believe in the process and the power of psychotherapy. I have worked with many people of all ages and watched them grow stronger and more resilient. I believe that psychotherapy is as individual and unique as my clients are. I work with you, at your own pace, and we design your treatment according to your needs. Most people who arrive in my office are seeking symptom relief and so we begin with as practical an approach to feeling better as we can find.

Often, clients then agree to delve deeper to really understand and change the underlying behaviors that helped cause the problems. This is the true nature of psychotherapy. Insight is a wonderful thing but behavior change is crucial. I also believe that the client-therapist relationship is an essential component to psychotherapy’s effectiveness. Please expect to talk to me for 15 - 20 minutes when you make that first call.You need to feel a sense of connection from the very beginning.

Welcome!
Beth

I received a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Millersville University, Pennsylvania, in 1994, and was licensed by the state of Florida in 1999. I worked in in-patient child and adolescent crisis stabilization, in-home family counseling, and outpatient counseling.

I maintained a private practice in Sarasota from 2000 until 2006. In Perth, I worked in a group private practice for two years. My husband and I returned to Florida in 2012 and are happily settled on Amelia Island.

I believe that parents can be their child’s best therapists and you will be involved in your child’s therapy from the beginning and throughout the course of therapy. I will want at least one parent available during each session.

Please know that, when they are emotionally distressed, young children often express their emotions in ways that may seem inappropriate to the event. They may throw tantrums when they are anxious, they may not appear to be troubled at the time of the traumatic event but exhibit emotional difficulties later.

Older children are often able and willing to participate in traditional “talk” therapy and engage in learning cognitive behavioral techniques.  I work with teenagers in a straightforward and practical way, and seek to ensure their trust.

Parents will need to trust that I am careful with their children of any age.  You are welcome to meet with me first before you decide that I am the best fit for your child.

The following are some of the reasons parents may seek psychotherapy for young children.

  • Adjustment difficulties to transitions such as divorce, death of a family member, deployment of a parent, beginning school.
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
  • Witnessing of domestic violence.
  • Anxiety that seems excessive.
  • Sleep problems or nightmares that are persistent.
  • Disruptive behaviors such as temper tantrums, or aggressive and defiant acts.
  • When the parents disagree about how to cope with the child’s behavior and their marriage is being affected.
  • When the parents feel helpless and just don’t know what to do.

Please call me to discuss your child’s difficulties and to determine if my services may help.

One out of five adults will suffer from depression during their lifetime and, very often, anxiety is a co-existing condition. Psychotherapy has, time and time again, been cited as a viable and effective way of treating these conditions.

Psychotherapists have styles and methods they favor for treatment. I offer what I think is most effective, and the following is a list of the methods I prefer, with brief explanations.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy begins with the premise that we are sometimes caught in a vicious cycle of trying to be happy and suffering even more because we aren’t. But, we can learn to stop struggling, relate to our thoughts in a new way, accept that feelings come and go, and become more mindful and open to our present. When we clarify our values and begin to act on them, we reconnect with our lives in a more effective way. We commit to ourselves and to making our lives as meaningful as possible.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a term that defines the process of analyzing our self-talk and thoughts to determine what helps and hurts us. When we analyze our thoughts, we are likely to find dysfunctional beliefs, perhaps from childhood, that are no longer helpful to us. When we systematically change those beliefs, our emotional state becomes more at ease and we are able to make better decisions about our lives.

Mindfulness Meditation is a good addition to any of the other therapies used. I encourage people to begin a daily and disciplined approach to learning mindfulness meditation. Because our lives are often plagued by external distractions, it is a great gift to be able to find an inner oasis to bring forth when we need it.

In addition, I believe that an exploration of family history is beneficial to my clients. So much of what we learn stems from our childhood and is often repeated through generations. It is important to identify and understand how our family history has contributed to how we are living our lives.

Even the best parents sometimes struggle with the demands of raising children. Life is hectic, time is limited, and parents can find themselves slipping unintentionally into patterns of interaction that feel frustrating and ineffective. Stop wasting energy repeating the same conflicts, and refocus on the priorities you care about.

“Emotional Wellness for Children” is a six-session individualized course for parents and their young children (ages 2 to 10) to target and change negative behaviors and to model and learn empathy.

Learn how to help your young child build the skills and understanding that lead to success.

The program is designed with a focus on early intervention and prevention by increasing your child’s emotional wellness. A wealth of studies has shown that emotional intelligence is a far greater determinant of success than IQ, across a variety of occupations. We will seek to build basic mental health skills that your child can use throughout life. Most young children can, and will, participate in a form of psychotherapy tailored to their cognitive level. “Emotional Wellness for Children” is not a group seminar — it’s an individualized and interactive program structured according to your needs and your beliefs.

What will we do?

The path to children’s emotional wellness is through effective parental boundaries and limits combined with an empathetic approach to your child’s emotions. The program has several complementary and overlapping goals. Parents will learn to use discipline in a more effective way and thereby help their child understand boundaries and feel more secure. Children will learn about emotions and begin to learn to express and regulate their emotions. Parents will assess and identify their parenting style and make changes that will free them from angry discipline and give them more time to truly enjoy their children. By understanding the importance of listening and talking with empathy, parents can foster more effective family communication.

We will look at managing difficult behavior first via a DVD program called “1-2-3 Magic.” This program will introduce you to some simple and effective techniques to stop or significantly reduce recurring behaviors that create parent-child conflict. Then we move on to learning better ways to talk with your child and to help your child listen to you. Your child will be included in most sessions, and, as you work on the materials for your goals, your child will participate in play and art therapy. We will set goals, implement new rules at home, help your child listen to you, help you listen to your child, and, as a consequence, work on building your child’s positive self-concept.

Sessions will be held in my office at 2384 Sadler Road, Fernandina Beach. Please call (904) 463-9226 for more information.

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WHAT ARE YOUR FEES?
My fee is $100 per session. I accept cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express. If you have any concerns about fees, please discuss them with me. An accommodation may be possible to help you through times of temporary financial stress.

DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
I am currently a provider for TRICARE and Aetna. At this time, I don’t bill any other insurance companies directly or take responsibility for collecting from your insurance carrier. I will be happy to provide receipts or other documentation your insurance company may request in order for you to obtain reimbursement for out-of-network services. You may wish to contact your insurance company for specific details about your coverage.

WHAT ARE YOUR OFFICE HOURS?
My regular office hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If you are unable to schedule your appointment during these times, please discuss your scheduling concerns with me.

Please understand that emergency calls must be placed to 911, not to my office.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF WE CAN WORK TOGETHER?
A comfortable working relationship between client and therapist is very important. If you decide that we are not a good fit, please be assured that I will not be offended. We will work together to help you find a therapist who is a better match for you.

WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT YOU AS A THERAPIST? WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE?
I strive to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and above all to be worthy of your trust. I will do everything possible to make my office a safe place where you can be open and talk about everything you need to. The focus of our work together will be your goals. We will take the time to understand where you have been, what has or has not worked for you in the past, what is affecting you now, and what you want to achieve.

WHAT HAPPENS AT OUR FIRST APPOINTMENT, AND SUBSEQUENT APPOINTMENTS?
Our first appointment is our opportunity to meet, to gather information, and for each of us to decide if we’ll be able to work well together. My goal in our first meeting will be to get to know you as an individual and to understand what is troubling you. I will probably ask a number of questions about your history, what is troubling you now, and what you hope to change through counseling. Your task will be to talk as openly as you can about your concerns and needs. If we decide that we can work productively together, we’ll discuss a treatment plan. Future sessions will be more focused discussion directed toward the goals we have identified. I may recommend books, articles or other resources, and there may sometimes be “homework” for you to pursue on your own between sessions.

HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO SEE YOU? HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?
The answer to this question is different for every client. We’ll work together to decide what’s best for you. That may be weekly, bi-weekly, or less frequently. We’ll also work together to evaluate your progress and make the decision how long your therapy needs to continue. You may find, for example, that after a period you will be comfortable with stopping regular sessions but scheduling an occasional evaluation session to help you stay focused on your goals. And, of course, you can always schedule an appointment if unexpected events or setbacks occur.

HOW DO I START?
Call me at 904-463-9226 or e-mail me at beth@fernandinacounseling.com. I look forward to hearing from with you!