Stephanie Gardner, LCSW

Hello! My name is Stephanie Gardner and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I believe in creating a safe, trusting and non-judgmental space for my clients to discuss their thoughts, feelings and experiences. I have been a social worker for over 14 years and have worked extensively with people experiencing PTSD, trauma, grief, depression, anxiety and personality disorders. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and my Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois-Chicago.  I have been trained in a variety of treatment modalities to include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy.

What is Prolonged Exposure Therapy? Prolonged exposure therapy is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches you to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings, and situations. You will work with me in a safe, gradual fashion to face stimuli and situations that evoke fear and remind you of the trauma to increase your comfort and reduce you fear.

Cognitive processing therapy treatment begins with psycho-education regarding PTSD, thoughts, and emotions. You become more aware of the relationship between your thoughts and emotions and we begin to identify “automatic thoughts” that may be maintaining the PTSD symptoms. You eventually will write an impact statement that details current understanding of why the traumatic event occurred and the impact it has had on beliefs about self, others, and the world.

Next, you begin to more formal processing of the trauma(s). You will write a detailed account of the worst traumatic experience, which you read in the next session to try and break the pattern of avoiding thoughts and feelings associated with the trauma. I use Socratic questioning and other strategies to help the you question your unhelpful thoughts about the trauma (e.g., self-blaming thoughts) in order to modify any maladaptive thinking.

Finally, once you have developed skills to identify and address unhelpful thinking, you use those skills to continue evaluating and modifying beliefs related to traumatic events. At this point, we are working on your ability to use these adaptive strategies outside of treatment to improve overall functioning and quality of life. My particular focus is on safety, trust, power, control, esteem and intimacy as these are all areas that can be affected by traumatic experiences.

I would love to help you identify any barriers or negative thought patterns that might be holding you back from living the type of life you want. Change is possible! I can not wait to meet you and walk beside you on your journey for change!

In addition to individual therapy, I am also offering DBT groups for women and teens. These groups will be 10 weeks long each, and will run on Saturdays for 90 min each.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) gives you cognitive and behavioral tools to change problematic behaviors and thoughts, and teaches you skills for improving your life and relationships. The research-based skills taught in DBT are especially useful if you are experiencing serious challenges, including:

Chronic thoughts of suicide
Eating disorders
Self-harming behaviors
Substance abuse

I would love to share the wisdom, skills, and knowledge to you to help you create the life you deserve to have. Please call today to inquire!