• Yvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

On the Couch with Michelle Garcia

Welcome! To our series of blog posts in which I, Yvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS have the pleasure of interviewing one of our therapist here at Traveling Light Counseling. In our series of couch interviews the therapist will be offering us a glimpse into their speciality by answering questions about topics relevant to their field and imparting a few tips, ideas, and suggestions on ways to travel lighter.

As a disclaimer these interviews are by no means a substitution for therapy and if in need of more specialized, personalized and/or intense help please find a therapist that would best fit your situation.

Here with me today is Michelle Garcia, a Mental Health Intern who is completing her Master's in Counseling Degree at Northwestern University. Michelle works with individuals and groups, to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Her style is that of a co-pilot, walking with individuals on their path and guiding one to look within and bring light to the answers within to solve their own dilemma and/or pain. She helps others intuitively feel what the body is saying to understand what the symptoms/illness/problem is saying.

So, today's interview revolves around Michelle's story and about why she decided to choose the career of counseling:

Question: Why did you choose to become a counselor?


I chose to become a counselor because my client’s physical manifestations were representing a psychological, emotional, and energetic realm that could not simply be explained in the physical realm. Mental health counseling is an avenue that explores the unconscious that most of us are unaware of, and have not tapped into yet. My passion is to explore neuroplasticity and neurogenesis in therapy that allows the client and I to influence the brain- which affects beliefs, influences, attachment style, and actually helps the client change. Not only in the way the client is interacting, but also in terms of the structure of the brain. We can reroute and rewire neural pathways through the therapeutic process. It’s incredible.

Question: What do you bring to this internship?


What I bring to the internship is heart, enthusiasm, truth, fun, meaning, empathy, and a unique background in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Physical Therapy.

Question: What do you plan to do once you have finished your training?


Once I finish training, I will apply my newly acquired LMHC skills to my private practice. At Nature’s Alignment we offer alternative and holistic methods to treat pain, dysfunction, and enhance performance. Healing the mind, body, and spirit through physical therapy and psychotherapy.

Question: What is your theoretical orientation?


My theoretical orientation is an integrative approach, pulling from such theories such as: psychodynamic, person centered, solution focused, emotionally focused therapy, Gottman, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and others.

Question: What are your specific clinical interests?


My specific clinical interests are psychosomatic response, trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and how these all contribute to and affect human illness and wellness.

Question: What do you want to be different about you at the end of the internship year?


By the end of my internship, I hope client’s become more open to understanding what their mind, body, and spirit are expressing. For myself, I hope to become more compassionate, sympathetic, and gentle. Having experienced a lot myself, I can come off as a hard ass at times.

"We can heal ourselves and our lives. All we need is love. As humans, we have way over complicated everything." ~ Michelle Garcia

What a great interview with Michelle. I appreciate her taking the time and both explaining her head and heart in addition to answering my question's today, in order that individuals can get a small sample of who she is and how she shows up with her clients. Clients can come into the therapy process with reservations regarding working with interns and that's totally normal. Some questions that may be floating around in your head is can they help, will this be a waste of my time or perhaps is this person even qualified to help me? All good questions and questions you should be asking as you want to vet out your therapist for good fit. The good news is there are plenty of of reasons to feel comfortable seeing an intern for mental health treatment. Those reasons include two brains to help you grow and achieve your goals, smaller caseloads to be able to give you their undivided attention, energy and enthusiasm for all things new and desire to meet the needs of their clients, lower cost sessions and the latest and greatest techniques and tools, just to name a few.

Still on the fence here's some background regarding interns to help you process your decision and make your best yes.

Here's some resources for your journey:

What is the Difference between an Intern and a Fully-Licensed Therapist?

5 Advantages to Seeing a Student Intern for Mental Health Counseling

7 Surprising Advantages of Having an Intern as a Therapist

Thanks Michelle!

If you feel like Michelle will be a good travel companion for your journey. Schedule a time to speak to her at 772-361-8448 or simply book your consultation online now.

So, what are you waiting for?  

Yvette E. McDonald is the owner and counselor at Traveling Light Counseling, a practice for individuals, couples and families helping them discover the person/couple they were always meant to be, as they become the best version of self in their roles and relationships in the Port Saint Lucie and Martin County area. She has hand-picked each clinician based on their specialty. With a goal to build a team that is the top in our area.