Background and Philosophy
Kate Adkins, PhD MFT-S LPCC-S, Owner
My objective is to help clients realize their greatest potential while grounding them in a fast-paced, stress-ridden world. I understand the complex demands that mark our lives and the struggle to find balance, as work/academic pressure, mental health diagnoses, and interpersonal conflict can have profound effects on our functioning, let alone issues of diversity and life trauma. Finding the right balance can be a tricky path, and I'm happy to walk alongside you.
My journey in psychology began in 2002 when I first volunteered at suicide hotlines and domestic violence shelters and realized my passion for supporting others. Since that time I've acquired a vast breadth of general and specialty experience, which you'll find below. I've provided treatment in outpatient, community-based, and hospital settings, and frequently collaborate with medical professionals, school systems, and court systems. My practice currently serves outpatient mental health needs, specializing in anxiety and trauma related disorders.
PhD 2010 Couple and Family Therapy, The Ohio State University
MA 2006 Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, The University of Akron
BA 2004 Psychology, The Ohio State University
High School Diploma, 2000 Wooster High School
Professional Licenses & Affiliations
LPCC-S Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, with Supervision Designation
*Focus on theory/philosophy/intervention of individual mental health
IMFT-S Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist, with Supervision
*Focus on systemic therapy where well-being of the whole is prioritized, including with couples, families, schools, court systems, and neighborhoods.
AAMFT Approved Supervisor, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
Certified First Responder Counselor
Areas of Expertise: Anxiety Disorders, trauma, eating disorders, couples therapy
Areas of General Work: Depression/self-harm/suicide, OCD, Bipolar Disorder
Type of therapy:
My therapeutic style is interpersonal and client-focused. My goal is for you, as a client, to feel heard and understood. Then, and ONLY then, can we begin the hard work that accompanies change. I highlight healthy emotion regulation strategies - mindfulness (emotion awareness and tracking, awareness of sensations, urges, and behaviors), willingness to try something different, new or unpredictable, and self-compassion through your process. I use a lot of psychoeducation, sharing information about the way our brains and bodies work that help you better understand your struggles. When things don't work for you, I will help you to "fail forward", meaning identify what you've learned and how to use this feedback.
Outside this, I draw from the following areas:
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): illogical thought patterns, mismatch of thoughts/emotions, and for Eating Disorders (CBT-E)
Family-Based Therapy for the treatment of eating disorders (FBT/Maudsley): Putting parents in the driver's seat with their child/adolescent's eating
Prolonged Exposure (PE) and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for trauma: Reducing/eliminating PTSD symptoms through trauma confrontation, habituation, and processing.
For couples, I employ several evidence-based models.
Discernment Counseling - Marriage therapy is not effective when one or more partners are leaning out of the marriage (ie.; are considering divorce, have met with an attorney, are engaged in or plan to engage in an affair). Unfortunately, many couples initiate therapy at this time, a time when it has a low chance of effectiveness. Most importantly, emotional safety is jeopardized in therapy when one partner is not invested. At this stage Discernment Counseling can help a couple work through their decision to commit to, or separate from their marriage. This is a short-term process (1-5 visits), and resets a couple's intentions in therapy. The 3 general options that result from this work are for a couple to 1) pursue divorce or separation, 2) pursue no action, and 3) commit to 6 months of marriage therapy where divorce is off the table. Issues discussed in this work include, but are not limited to, identification of each partner's role in their relationship, steps they are willing or not willing to take, feedback from the therapist about how they might be sabotaging their success, the role of children, and consideration of post-divorce life.
The need for discernment work is assessed at the start of our work together, but a clinician can move into discernment work at any time if one partner finds themselves leaning out. The goal of discernment work is to help a couple make the right decision for their marriage and family, not to push them in one direction or another. However, if the couple decides to pursue separation or divorce, the discernment process can facilitate healthy communication through post-divorce topics such as crucial family conversations, changing living arrangements, custody, and set a more cooperative stage for coparenting after divorce.
Couple & Marriage Therapy - Marriage therapy is only appropriate when both partners are willing to engage with their vulnerability to heal ruptures in their relationship. The two philosophies in which I was trained and practice are Contextual Family Therapy (Boszormenyi-Nagy) and The Gottman Method. Contextual Family Therapy highlights the role of relationship ethics, such as connection, trustworthiness, fairness, loyalty and reciprocity. Acknowledgement is a primary intervention in this philosophy. The Gottman Method complements these areas and uses John and Julie Gottman's decades of relationship research to guide their couple assessment and interventions. Key areas of their marriage conceptualization include Shared Meaning, Life Dreams, Fondness & Admiration, Conflict Management, Staying Positive, Turning Toward vs. Away, and Love Maps (related to history). Most couples with whom I work will undergo a thorough assessment that will guide our work together.