Leslie Samdahl, MA, LMHC
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the state of Washington with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Lewis and Clark College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Eastern Washington University. My professional experience includes therapy with children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples who have wanted help with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, traumatic experiences, behavioral issues, eating disorders, body image issues, difficulties with emotion regulation and emotional expression, drug and alcohol related issues, social deficits, issues related to educational or occupational functioning, relationship issues and difficulty communicating.
Growing up as an adopted child, I have a great empathy for issues surrounding adoption as well as those concerning family dynamics, emotional wellbeing, and attachment. Another interest of mine is working with clients who are dealing with substance abuse. I am a person who has struggled with alcohol myself; now living my life as a sober person, I feel that I can offer insight and a space to explore substance abuse issues that someone might be facing and help them explore other underlying issues that may be contributing to the use of drugs and alcohol in a maladaptive way.
I began my career with The Aspiring Youth Program at Ryther Child Center in Seattle and Portland for five years. I provided collaborative coaching services and worked as a group counselor for the social skills groups. The children and adolescents I worked with struggled with attention deficit disorder (ADD), pervasive developmental disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, and behavioral issues.
During my time in graduate school I developed an interest in the struggles of women and men with body image issues and completed a specialization in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. Following completion of my master’s program, I held positions as a milieu counselor and subsequently as primary therapist at Center for Discovery, a residential care facility for women with eating disorders. I am passionate about helping others work on developing a healthy relationship with food and their bodies while also exploring the factors that contributed to problematic eating patterns and negative body image.
Anyone is capable of change, but sometimes we can’t do it alone. We often need help to fully explore the factors contributing to our thoughts and behaviors that create barriers to change. My belief is that there must be an understanding and awareness around maladaptive patterns of thought before we are able to change behaviors and allow ourselves to create the lives we want to lead. As such, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provides the foundation for many of my sessions.
Tailoring my services to fit the needs of the individual, I also integrate other forms of therapy as required, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), narrative therapy, existential therapy, and art therapy. My approach is also influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and his person-centered approach, and I believe that empathy and compassion are essential to the healing process. My goal is to always develop a collaborative relationship with my clients through nourishing, encouraging and inspiring discussions regarding the healing processes.
For more in-depth information about my practice, please visit my website: www.leslieweisgramtherapy.com