Linda Simmons, MS, LMFT
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with and a Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado. I recently moved to the Seattle area from Colorado where I worked with individuals, couples, children, families and groups for 20 years in private practice and other settings. I offer a variety of treatment options including play and sand tray therapy, mindfulness practices, EMDR, and work with a variety of mental health issues including disrupted attachment and trauma. I value the sense of community and the ability to coordinate client care with the readily available, enthusiastic team of experts across the field of mental health at the Mindful Therapy Group.
MY APPROACH TO THERAPY
In my practice, I strive to establish a respectful, trusting relationship and provide a safe and nurturing environment that is honoring to the therapy process and to those that choose to partner with me in their healing process. I work in a supportive and collaborative manner that emphasizes non-judgmental presence, and attunement. I am compassionate and patient, and provide encouragement and a gentle nudge along the way when needed. I include an occasional dose of humor for free.
My approach to therapy is eclectic and I utilize theoretic frameworks including: mindfulness, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, developmental and family systems theory. I view therapy as an art form and the more I have to draw from, the more creative and flexible I can be in meeting the needs of my clients in the moment. Experiential modalities play a large role in my practice and for children, directive and non-directive play therapy is an effective therapeutic option that is developmentally appropriate. I sometimes interweave EMDR in play sessions and I frequently involve parents and/or families in the play.
My areas of expertise include: trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), physical and sexual abuse, disrupted attachments, adoption, anxiety, depression, transitions, grief/loss, pain, childhood and family issues, and parenting techniques.
After growing up in Alberta and Texas, I decided to land somewhere in between so, with a tent and dog in tow, I set up camp in Colorado (literally) and began working on my degree in psychology. I always knew I wanted to work with people but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. While going to school, I worked in a variety of health care settings in order to figure it out. I worked in nursing homes, group homes for developmentally challenged adults, and homes with autistic children. I was a foster care provider for a young behaviorally and developmentally challenged blind and deaf adult. I gained firsthand knowledge on what it is like to “parent” children and adults with severe behavioral challenges in a society that still does not embrace or tolerate all of our differences. I worked in several residential treatment centers and juvenile detention centers and Safe Houses. All of these experiences solidified my resolution to learn how to more effectively help traumatized individuals. I became familiar with the work of Lenore Terr and that sparked my interest in research on the assessment and impact of trauma. From there, I began working with The Institute of Behavioral Genetics and the Colorado Health Science Center that culminated in my co-authoring an assessment scale for children and two publications on its use in ”TheInternational Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect “ (2000), and in a book titled “Revealing the Inner Worlds of Young Children” (Emde, Wolf, & Oppenheim, 2003).
After I completed my Masters Degree, I continued working with a segment of each of these populations in my private practice. While maintaining my practice, I also worked with a group whose primary focus was child abuse and neglect. I designed and implemented a group treatment program for young child victims that then offended other children as well as sexualized children for over 11 years and continued to work with this population individually in my private practice.
I was nominated for the Child Advocacy Center Guardian Award and was recognized by the Advocacy Center for my support, compassion and outstanding work with the children of the county. I have conducted workshops on play therapy at the Colorado Association for Play Therapy (CAPT) conferences and at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am past president of the CAPT and served on the board for 11 years.
I am passionate about this art form and look forward to sharing who I am and what I have learned with you.