I am Catherine Cleveland author, Ph.D. Student, and a licensed mental health counselor. As your counselor, I will provide you with a private, safe, and compassionate setting to help you achieve your mental health goals. I use a collaborative and nonjudgmental approach to help you navigate through your challenges and successfully bring about the changes you desire.
- As you know, choosing a counselor is an important decision. Reaching out almost always brings up anxiety – will they understand me? Can I trust this person with my thoughts, feelings? Will they really be able to help me? Everyone shares these questions in one form or another. Regardless if you had therapy in the past, or this may be your first time, it can be unnerving to take that first step.
- As your counselor, I will create a space for you to safely and privately express your problems and personal pain.
- To enhance your counseling experience, I encourage you to text, email me, or use your personal online journal (in your secure patient portal) between sessions to let you express your state of mind in the moment.
My Continuing Education
- With great privilege, I graduated (with honors) and hold a Master’s Degree from the University of Rochester in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
- As a current doctoral student at the University of Rochester, I am honored to be in my third year at the University of Rochester’s Warner School’s esteemed Ph.D. program, Counseling and Counseling Education. My Ph.D. program keeps me up-to-date on interventions and treatments with evidence-based practices, and practice-based evidence.
- Based upon my in-depth education, I have the great fortune to train with and be supervised by many of the best researchers and educators in the field. These distinguished individuals include Dr. Andre Marquis (my advisor), Dr. Doug Guiffrida, and Dr. William Watson (my mentors) and Marvin Skorman (my ISTDP Supervisor).
- Through rigorous education, my research interests relate to how the mind and body are connected. Also, how distress impacts the central nervous system and the long-term effects of emotional neglect. Physical reactions to distress often go unnoticed (neuroception), which can result in lifelong physical health issues, including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, mood, and personality disorders.
- I study how the theory of constructed emotion neurologically differs from the classical theories of basic emotions delineating any implications on contemporary experiential dynamic therapy.
- My Ph.D. dissertation honors my late husband Carl F. Willett (brain cancer, 2008) and is oriented toward the rural farming culture where I live and have worked throughout my lifetime. The working title of my dissertation is, No Days Off: How the Cultural Practices of Dairy Farmers leads to Suicidality. I have a special place in my heart for farming community members as they have a unique way of viewing their world and have a work ethic that most cannot comprehend. Farmers’ cultural practices, although often judged and not well understood, are what keeps food on our tables, and therefore deserves recognition and great appreciation.
Therapeutic theories & interventions most commonly use (but not limited to) are:
Short-Term Dynamic (Habib Davanloo) – as an integrative experiential dynamic approach. This intervention facilitates the rapid resolution of a broad spectrum of emotional distress. Short-term dynamic interventions are specifically designed to heal issues such as anxiety, depression, and somatization disorders (such as chronic pain), PTSD, and more severe psychosis. This collaborative intervention alleviates a variety of self-harming behaviors, many of which derive from traumatic experiences including unstable or troubled early life attachments (emotional neglect, verbal abuse, physical & sexual abuse, and assault).
Internal Systems (Richard Schwartz) – Identifies different protective parts of the self, non-judgmentally, with awareness and compassion. More severe protective parts such and anger, control issues, emotional pain (depression & anxiety), and visual flashbacks can often be a reaction to a continuum of past traumatic experiences. Your protective parts have evolved to help you protect yourself and avoid harmful memories of trauma. However, they now may be disrupting your present situation including work, school, family, fun activities, and relationships.
Strengths-Based (Donald Clifton) – Focuses on your attributes rather than your weaknesses. Helping you identify your strengths that you may not have previously considered. For example, a strength that you have is taking steps to address issues to improve your mental health.
Mindfulness-Based (Jon Kabat-Zinn; Joe Dispenza) – Mindfulness is a method of non-judgmentally paying attention to yourself and your environment. With practice, you will be able to notice the amount of energy you spend on ruminating or anxious thoughts (possibly disrupting your quality of sleep). Mindfulness-based interventions develop present moment and intrapsychic awareness thus diminishing uncontrolled intrusive and self-judging thoughts.
Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (Bruce Perry) – Based in brain science, early attachment problems can cause developmental trauma to a fetus, infant, or child – just when the brain is developing. External experiences profoundly influence the development of the brain. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) shape the brain’s organization, which, in turn, influences the person’s emotional, social, cognitive, and physiological development and behaviors. Healing begins with relationships – first through the relationship with yourself and then with others.
Polyvagal Mapping (Stephen Porges) – Polyvagal mapping explains how neuroception (unconscious perceiving) affects the nervous system. How do you react to situations that you perceive to be distressing? For example, fight (anger, temper) flight (avoidance), or freeze (depressing, shutting down). Somatic (physical) symptoms such as anxiety and depression are directly related to your central nervous system through vagus nerve stimulation. Environmental and intrapersonal triggers related to PTSD, chronic pain, and social anxiety can be processed and healed through mapping (intrapsychic focus) the vagal nervous system.