Colleen Holbrook, LICSW, CMHS

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Child Mental Health Specialist

Eating Disorders Specialist

Therapist

Therapy for Adults, Couples and Families

Therapy for Children and Teens

Effective Parenting Strategies



Welcome to my web site

Thank you for visiting my web site. Please take a few moments to review what I have to offer and see if it's a match for you. You can learn about my background, experience and personal style.Then give me a call. My office is located in beautiful downtown Edmonds. I schedule appointments Monday through Thursday from 1-7pm.

All are welcome!


An Overview

It is not always easy to reach out for support. It takes courage and a desire for change. Once you have made the decision to seek help it's important that you find a good fit between yourself and the therapist you choose to work with. Allow me to tell you a bit about myself and the services I provide.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Child Mental Health Specialist. I graduated with honors from the University of Washington in 1994 with a master’s degree. In addition to social work, I studied psychology and child development. Before going into private practice I worked for 16 years in non-profit mental health centers and hospitals. These experiences allowed me to work in a variety of settings with diverse populations and families.

There are many types of therapy and therapist with different approaches. I tend to be interactive, engaging, curious and hopeful. Therapy is not easy but can be immensely rewarding. To be most effective it takes time, effort and a willingness to be honest with ourselves. You can learn from our emotions, heal from the past and grow personally. It is my wish to be of service to you in helping you find your own inner strength to live in a way that brings you happiness and joy.

AREAS OF PRACTICE:


INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

Individuals seek therapy when life becomes more difficult than joyfully. Often old wounds arise and demand to be addressed. We can work together to heal from these painful memories and experiences. I often use a combination of therapeutic modalities including: narrative therapy, Cognitive, Transactional Analysis, journeling, non-dominant hand writing exercise, and some art therapy techniques. back to the top

COUPLES THERAPY

Couples seek therapy to improve communication, work on their negotiation skills and to rekindle the love and passion they felt for each other in the beginning of their relationships. Sometimes the responsibilities of life get in the way of being a couple. Sometimes old hurts resurface and resentment begins to set in. Addressing these situations together, the earlier the better, can save a marriage. back to the top

FAMILY THERAPY

A family is a system within systems made up of individuals that can shift and change. When I meet with families I detect alliances, loyalties and fractured bonds between members of the family. Often trouble brews when the kids have gained too much power and the parents are confused about what to do. I provide parenting support and education and get along well with kids and teens. I am honest with them and clear in my expectations which allows them to relax and trust me. We are not born knowing how to raise our kids. Most people tend to raise their children in the way they themselves were raised, even when they vow not to, or they do the exact opposite without realizing the drawbacks. Parenting is the hardest job any of us can do. We are taking on the responsibility of another human being who is completely dependent upon us and who is naturally going to be testing limits.  back to the top

CHILDREN

As a Child Mental Health Specialist, I have years of experience working with kids of all ages. They are emotional sponges. Without meaning to or wanting to children absorb the emotional environment in which they find themselves. Depending on their ages, children communicate non-verbally through their play and behavior. It is in allowing the child to lead the play, tracking behavior, reflecting on feelings and setting limits that I read a child’s emotional make-up and struggle. I can make suggestions and explain what I see, but it is ultimately the parents who decide what is best for their child. I often suggest reading material for additional information and support. I look forward to getting to know you and your child. back to the top

EATING DISORDERS

Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over eating are complex and dangerous personal struggles. I have worked with people both in-patient and on an out-patient basis. I believe that these disorders develop as a response to overwhelming emotional pain. I believe that eating disorders are not really about food. They are about feelings. Feelings so painful and scary from abuse, neglect, a host of boundary violations and/or growing up in a chaotic environment that they get pushed down and out of awareness. Eating disorders can manifest as a way to have some control over something, a way to drowned out feelings and a way to escape into another realm. By using an intuitive and empathic approach, I can show you how your eating disorder serves you, where it has come from and what it is trying to say. With strong support and guidance, I will help you to learn the language of emotions and be with you as you begin to feel once more. Recovery is often a slow process but healing is the only way out of the nightmare of living with an eating disorder.  back to the top

GRIEF & LOSS

Losing someone (human or animal) that we love can be devastating. Grieving is the process by which we go into the pain and come out again a different person, a stronger and wiser person. I provide a nurturing place to explore the complex and painful feelings involved in grieving. I hope to give each person a safe and non-judgmental space to experience the healing that can come from grief. back to the top

 

SEPARATION & DIVORCE

There are times when one or both parties in a marriage want to take a break from living together. I can help in these situations as each person explores their needs, desires and expectations of their marriage and navigate through their emotional struggles. People sometimes grow and change who they are, what they want and how they see themselves. It may be possible to incorporate these personal changes within the marriage when both parties are aware of their role, responsible and love for the other.

If the marriage is no longer viable, there are many options to consider when thinking about divorce. Although your final divorce papers must go through the courts, you don't have to litigating attorneys. Depending on how well you can communicate and negotiate, you can work out the details yourself, work with a mediator or hire Collaboratively trained attorneys who work together and not against each other. The more litigious your divorce the more stressful, and the more harm done to your children. If you have children together think ahead and picture the kind of relationship you want to have as co-parents. How you behave during your divorce will influence how comfortable or welcome you will be at your kid's graduations, marriages and other important family celebrations. 

Experiencing the loss of your marriage is one of the most painful and difficult experiences in life, especially if it wasn't your idea to end the marriage. Moving into being a single person again, possibly a single parent can also be a difficult transitions. Having worked with many couples in the process of divorce, I can tell you that there are ways to make it more manageable. I can help you get through these tough times. back to the top

 

CO-PARENT COUNSELING

Thankfully parents who are having trouble co-parenting are coming in to see me. Taking preventative measures will make all the difference for you and your kids. Remember children are like emotional sponges who absorb the emotions in their environments. Even when parents avoid making disparaging remarks about the other parent, children know when there is tension and stress. They feel it and often feel torn between the two people they love most. Your child is part of the other parent and feels hurt whenever that parent is talked about badly. There are many things parents can do to work together, follow the same rules and conduct themselves responsibly so that they raise happy kids who managed to adjust well to the two-family households. back to the top

REUNIFICATION BETWEEN A PARENT AND CHILD/CHILDREN

There are times when the courts will order a reunification between a parent and their child or children. There are various reasons for this, but mostly it involves an absent parent whose relationship with his or her kids needs reconnecting in a careful and well thought out way. The attitude and compliance of the other parent is important in this process as your attitude will be picked up by your children. Sometimes the reason for the estrangement was due to the level of conflict between the adults. This can make it a challenge to support a new relationship with a parent who you don't like. However, the court has decided that your children have the right to get to know the parent who is asking for reunification I provide a safe environment in which both parents can meet with me while we make the plans for how the reunification will take place. I like to meet both parents individually and the child alone after an introduction with the custodial parent. Kid like my office and the variety of toys and games I offer. I build trust and rapport with them. They can be honest with me and talk about how the process of reunification is going. If they have any fears or concerns along the way I want to know about them. Although I don't get involved in litigation, I may be asked to rely to a judge or the parent's attorneys when the reunification process has ended and how it went. Both parents need to sign a release for each attorney in order for this to take place. back to the top


Other areas of practice:

Anxiety

Attention Deficit Disorders

Depression

Trauma

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