Carolyn Michaels, LMFT - Pennsylvania Therapist at Grow Therapy

Carolyn Michaels

Carolyn Michaels


7 years of experience
106 Gay Street,...

My clients come to me because they want to deepen and strengthen their relationships - not just with each other, but with themselves. They want to understand the family and societal systems that shaped them into who they are today, and to heal old wounds and trauma so that they can move forward from a place of strength, healing, and connection. Many of my clients exist at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, and have struggled to find a therapist who will understand and not further stigmatize their identities, and who is committed to unlearning systems of oppression. I seek to provide a healing space for them. I primarily draw from Internal Family Systems, Narrative, & Gottman therapies in my work, as well as specializing in working with LGBTQ+ clients. My goal is to help clients understand and articulate different "parts" of themselves, and deepen their curiosity and compassion for the parts that present barriers to healing. My constant intention is to provide culturally sensitive and affirming care, as well as a safe and affirming space for you to explore your strengths and challenges. I welcome feedback at every step of the process - communication is the backbone of any relationship, including the therapeutic one! I look forward to hearing from you and taking our next step.

What can clients expect to take away from sessions with you?

In our first session, I'll be asking about your family and personal history. I may draw something called a "genogram" (basically a fancy family tree) to get a sense of the relational dynamics and patterns in your family. I want to understand you in your full context, and learn about the environments and events that shaped you. In my philosophy, healing looks like a slowing of the automatic processes & reactions you're used to. We want to interrupt the cycles that you're in and empower you to gently ask "what's coming up for me here? How could I respond differently?" Therapy isn't me telling you what to do, but I might point out patterns and offer tools or language to change those patterns. And there isn't "homework," but I may encourage you to consider or be aware of what we've worked on.

What treatment methods and tools do you utilize?

If you want to understand Internal Family Systems Therapy, the Pixar movie "Inside Out" is actually a useful place to start! In that movie, the main characters are the emotions of the protagonist - there's Joy, Sadness, Anger, etc. IFS encourages us to think of our own emotional worlds in a similar way. We have "parts" that guide us and shape our decisions and interactions, but sometimes parts get stuck in harmful or destructive roles. They're not trying to hurt us - they're just set in their ways, and need help to get unstuck. This takes a lot of compassion, patience, and understanding, which I'll try to model for you so that you can show that same compassion to your stuck "parts."

Explain to clients what areas you feel are your biggest strengths.

I feel that my biggest strength as a therapist is in meeting people where they're at. I truly believe that all behavior makes sense in context, and it feels natural and intuitive to me to understand that context rather than judging or chastising the behavior. Even behaviors that look counterintuitive - like pushing people away when we want closeness - make sense in the context of family dynamics and attachment styles. Also, as a nerdy queer millennial therapist, I know how hard it is to find a therapist who "gets it." So: I'm comfortable with different pronouns. I've seen that meme. There's plenty of stuff I don't know and I always stay humble, but I think my fellow LGBTQIA+ nerd clients appreciate not having to explain everything about their world to me.

About Carolyn Michaels

Licensed in


106 Gay Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Free consults, virtual

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