Stephanie Smiley, LMSW

I am a holistically-minded practitioner passionate about how the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual parts of a person interact to create transformation. I believe that when we bring compassionate attention to all aspects of ourselves, we naturally move towards healing and integration. I see my role as being your witness and ally, supporting you with empathy and new tools as you access your own truth and wisdom. I am honored to be practicing under the supervision of Heather Davies, LCSW as I work towards my full clinical licensure.  I work with people struggling with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, trauma, life transitions, sexuality issues, low self-esteem, and chronic illness or pain. I am happy to speak with you for a free consultation to discover whether we may be a good fit to begin the therapeutic relationship.

Experience

 For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by how people heal and grow.  I have studied this question personally through both Eastern and Western modalities, and professionally through my education at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work. I received my Masters in Social Work in 2017 with a specialization in Integrative Behavioral Health. I have had the privilege of working with both individuals and groups in a variety of settings including outpatient medical clinics, in-home family therapy, an inpatient psychiatric hospital and currently at an interdisciplinary clinic for people with chronic pain and co-occurring mental health challenges. I am fluent and comfortable conducting therapy sessions in Spanish if this is your native language or preference.

Practice Philosophy

I use a holistic approach that invites all facets of you into the conversation: the emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and sexual. We will explore how these distinct but interrelated areas create your experience and where you may have stuck places.  I will invite you to bring awareness and compassion here, for I believe that even the most damaging psychological processes developed in some way to protect us, and only in gently facing them can we allow them to resolve into more healthy ways of being.

My work as a therapist is deeply embedded with a strengths-based perspective. That means I believe everyone has the resources we need inside of us to heal. I am here to help you see and unlock your own gifts – your unique light – and to be your mirror reflecting that light back to you. Therapy is not a process of me changing you or imparting wisdom on you; rather it is the two of us forming a trusting relationship together that fosters your own natural growth and healing.

I aim to incorporate the following therapeutic modalities and approaches in a way that best meets your individual needs:

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:  Cognitive restructuring – or changing your brain – by exploring how your thoughts and beliefs may be holding you back. Using a lens of mindfulness, we will bring awareness to your thought patterns and limiting beliefs as well as practice breathing and relaxation techniques in order to create the most supportive new mental, emotional and behavioral patterns. I will also encourage you to practice at home if this fits for you.

Somatic: Seeing the body and mind as inseparable, and inviting the body into the therapy process. The body holds innate wisdom as well as unprocessed trauma and emotions from the past. I will guide you through pausing and staying present with what comes up in your body as we talk. We also may practice body-centered and sensory techniques to regulate the nervous system.

Behavioral: Action catalyzes change. Together we will explore how you are caring for yourself outside of the therapy session and what you can do during the week to best support your growth. I will assist you in finding your own personal practices that best nurture your emotional wellbeing, creativity, sexuality, spirituality and physical health.

Emotional Freedom Technique:A body-centered emotional processing technique that uses the acupuncture points to move through difficult emotions in an accelerated way with acceptance and self-love. This is an effective technique that can be practiced with a trained-facilitator or on your own any time you need it.

Relational-Cultural: Fulfilling human relationships are essential for our thriving. We will explore your relationships with others through the microcosm of the relationship between us. Using the container of the therapy session, we have a unique playground to explore you in the context of how you relate to others. We also open this space up to discuss how issues of identity such as race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, and so forth affect your relationships with yourself and others.

I hope to be a non-judgemental, empathetic and safe presence with whom you can express any piece of the complex person that you are. To me there is no greater honor than to be trusted to join in your healing process and witness you as you unfold.

Please call (512) 560-7294 or e-mail info@phoenixthrivingaustin.com  to schedule your free phone consultation.