Dr. Gail West profile image

Dr. Gail West

Dr. Gail West

16 years of experience
Solution oriented

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have been counseling clients dealing with a variety of mental, emotional, and relational issues for over 16 years. I have counseled adolescents, adults, families, couples and groups. I decided to pursue a doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy because I realized the impact that our families, and society as well, have on our mental and emotional development. The impacts of these are both positive and negative and may manifest as depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, a lack of a sense of self and other mental and emotional disorders. In counseling, I help clients explore those influences and the impact on their life. My specialties then center around helping clients gain insight into those influences, become more empowered, develop a stronger sense of self, and take steps to become who they really are; thereby addressing mental and emotional health issues. It's important to note that many times, experiences unfortunately include trauma and loss. It may be childhood or other trauma. Identifying, acknowledging and processing trauma and loss is therefore often a part of the process of becoming more empowered and developing that strong sense of self described above. .

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

Clients can expect to start feeling more confident and/or empowered to identify and express certain "truths" about themselves, others and their experiences. Often, these are "truths" that they may have been unable to acknowledge or allow into their consciousness. The sessions will help them feel safe enough and empowered to take those first steps and move forward in their life. Being able to identify and acknowledge the truth (or acceptance), offers relief in and of itself and it increases the internal capacity for other thoughts and plans. They will start to see options (because they're more empowered, confident) that they have previously not been able to see. These steps will help to address anxiety, confusion, depression and other negative mental and emotional feelings.

What treatment methods and tools do you utilize?

I primarily use Cognitive Behavior Therapy, but really use various methods depending on the client's characteristics, issues, and history. I gather family of origin history because that has a significant influence on clients' thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Since one of my goals is increasing differentiation of self or helping clients to know who they are, I focus on increasing communications skills, becoming more proficient at identifying feelings, increasing skills in acceptance of realities, and learning to set appropriate boundaries. This leads to clients recognizing their fears and sources of their anxieties, depression or other emotions. Socratic/in-depth questioning and psycho-education methods are often then used to help clients address those issues.

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

My primary specialty is helping clients to accept the reality of their lives, relationships, thoughts, feelings, etc., to increase their sense of self or to become who they really are. This will help them become more empowered, hence hopefully minimizing or eliminating negative mental and emotional health issues. Getting through these processes entails a review of their family history, acknowledging/identifying trauma, grief or loss in their life;, acknowledging the impact of significant others, situations, and circumstances; being honest with themselves and a number of other factors. Those are very difficult issues to address and work through. My specialty is being with clients to facilitate this process.

About Dr. Gail West

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