Amy Sponsler, MSW, LICSW
I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. I provide therapy to individuals, couples, adolescents and families. My areas of focus include: emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse, domestic violence, trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, sex addiction, parenting, grief and loss, self esteem issues, personality disorders, Bipolar, stress management.
My desire to listen to people’s stories, help them feel safe to be themselves, and face their challenges came at a young age. I am the youngest child in a big family. I was blessed to have constant interaction and this helped me to learn how to get along with many different people. We struggled financially and often spent most of our time at home and together. I was drawn to listening and observing my family and helping everyone to get along. In retrospect, I learned that a major inspiration for becoming a counselor was growing up in a low income household. Being a close family and watching everyone work really hard every day to just get basic needs met had a huge impact on my life. In our society, we often blame the poor or working class people for their struggles. From these experiences, I knew that I would make an impact in other’s lives.
My experience in counseling is rooted in creativity, travel and art. I traveled extensively in my early twenties, visiting every state in the United States. I have lived in every major city. I studied people and their environments. I wanted to know how people and society worked. Often I took classes or attended workshops on the various issues these communities were facing. It was becoming a mother, then a single mother and experiencing similar financial hardships throughout my childhood that drew me closer to my calling to social work and my desire to help work towards social change.
After completing my graduate studies in social work, I busied myself in getting to know all the different areas of community social work. I worked in community mental health where I practiced crisis intervention techniques primarily with individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar in hospital emergency rooms. From there, I became an advocate and counselor for victims of Domestic Violence. I studied extensively the cycle of abuse and even participated as a group facilitator with the perpetrators of Domestic Violence. Furthermore, I provided case management in a women’s homeless shelter assisting women and children to get their basic needs met. Through all these experiences, I have found that not one method of counseling works for everyone, except quality listening and thoughtful understanding. It was in private practice where I discovered I could apply all of my experiences and training and have the space and creativity to really help people.
In my work, I join with clients in a safe, non-judgmental and collaborative way. We will work together to explore, understand and resolve the challenges related to the counseling goals they have identified. My treatment approach is both creative and flexible. I allow clients to direct each session with validating, encouraging and empowering support from me throughout the process. While using various treatment models such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to cater to the needs of each and every client, I compliment each model with a strengths-based approach. I focus on each client's potential for emotional and mental healing and growth
For more in-depth information about my practice, please visit my website: www.amycounseling.com