Frequently Asked Questions
What is psychotherapy and how is it different from psychiatry?
Psychotherapy is a general term for exploring the mind, technically “treating” mental health issues via psychological methods versus medical care. It is famously known as “talk therapy.” Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that “treats” mental health issues with both psychological modalities and medical care (particularly in our modern age, prescribing medication).
Amber is trained as a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC). Her education program consisted of both didactic and clinical courses in psychiatry and individual, group and family psychotherapy. She was trained in her clinical work by psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners who also practiced psychotherapy as a modality. In her professional experience she has also been trained, mentored and supervised by psychiatrists, psychotherapists, expressive arts therapists, psychologists and Certified Eating Disorder Specialists. She has continued her own psychoanalysis and clinical supervision from an experienced psychoanalyst since 2010.
She believes her own experience on the couch will always provide effective, dynamic care for her clients. She is licensed to provide medical care and psychotherapy and her primary treatment modality is psychodynamic psychotherapy. She has been trained as a family medicine nurse practitioner (FNP-BC) as well. Her interest in preventive and integrative medicine informs her medical care beyond psychiatry. Amber has also taken numerous post-academic trainings to enhance her skills. Her most memorable training was “Singing Over The Bones,” a week-long retreat under the training of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD., the renowned Jungian Analyst and author of Women Who Run With Wolves. This training certifies her to lead groups tied to the transformational work in myth, fairytale and stories directly tied to Women Who Run With Wolves.
Further training in Mindful-Self Compassion, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Compassion-Based Resilience Training (CBRT) and Pilates instruction have significantly informed her integrative practice, where group education and processing effect significant change.
What therapy techniques do you use?
Amber is a guide to the unknown. She believes that this journey in life is an un-nameable undertaking, and she feels honored to be a part of her clients’ process. As a trained psychotherapist she believes primarily in the power of relationships to help clients make change. Though she uses an eclectic approach with a humanistic and existential lens, psychodynamic psychotherapy and depth psychology are the primary foundation of her work.
Psychodynamic work is focused on creating a long-standing change through extended, in-depth, self exploration. Amber’s favorite phrases for clients to get perspective of their work together are “diving deep” and “into the woods.”
One who chooses this line of work as both guide and guided is intent on getting to know themselves – no matter what. It encourages the journey of self-exploration and creating the life one wants, while also reducing “symptoms” which initially create the impetus to seek care.
Because psychodynamic work is not solely focused on illness but rather transformation, it can be helpful for more than mental health struggles. It helps one increase their capacity to have better relationships with both self and others and in turn, creates the ability to meet your desires, talents, and purpose.
Amber uses a psychodynamic and depth-oriented approach with her clients struggling with eating disorders. She believes that once a person chooses to heal and thrive, psychodynamic work is the best approach for sustained and resilient recovery. In her opinion, it is the most holistic approach versus a behavioral symptom-reduction approach.
Psychology principles and approaches are used in coaching as well. Amber believes in using the knowledge she has gained from her education and experiences with all of her clients. The difference is that therapy can address a mental health issue, whereas coaching does not substitute for therapy or medical care. It is therefore paramount to be honest with yourself regarding your capacity to be coached versus needing therapy for a mental health concern. This detailed difference is discussed when meeting with Amber for an initial consultation.
What is Somatic Experiencing?
Somatic Experiencing (SE™) is a body-oriented therapeutic model applied in multiple professions and professional settings for healing trauma and other stress disorders.
It is based on a multidisciplinary intersection of physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics. It has been clinically applied for more than four decades.
The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. It offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight, or freeze responses. Additionally, it provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states.
SE provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others.
How does Somatic Experiencing work?
The Somatic Experiencing approach facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.
SE helps people understand this body response to trauma and work through a “body first” approach to healing.
*This was sourced from the Somatic Experiencing International website.
What is the difference between all of your offerings?
The Soma offering is for clients who want to work with accessing the wisdom of their body as their primary goal. This often is called the “bottom-up approach” in trauma work, as it is essential to create safety in one’s body. This offering is available for clients with specific body-oriented struggles or who want to create a movement and embodied practice. Somatic Experiencing is offered through this path and will be explored individually in more detail if this is a desired path.
In the psyche offerings one may first want to decide, “Am I looking for therapy or coaching?” Amber believes that there is a need to merge both therapy and coaching concepts for their positive aspects, so she does use both approaches depending on the client and their desire for change.
The Cocoon is the path for traditional therapy and initial preparatory coaching if one hasn’t been in deeper therapeutic work or coaching to effect change. Therapy allows for a natural unfolding and the therapist functions as a secure guide in a safe container as the client begins to trust in themselves and prepares to take responsibility for the life they want to create. Therapy is not focused on an end date in psychodynamic work and allows for the relationship to organically evolve. Therapy and psychiatric care may also be reserved for addressing a mental health issue and have strict requirements tied to diagnosis, treatment plan and licensure of the provider. Amber has a license to practice medicine and therapy in AZ and FL. Coaching is available internationally.
The Crucible offering is a much more intense experience and would be either the next step after the Cocoon offering or, if someone has done significant work previously, is able to stay centered in the face of knowing all of themselves.
Coaching moves quicker by nature of the approach. It does not use diagnoses nor medical care plans. It is much more focused, and the client must immediately take self-responsibility for their change. In coaching – though one will definitely have some “dark nights of the soul” – they have the sense they will be stable as they enter the depth of themselves and know that on the other side of the descent their full power will come alive. Amber does use a therapeutic perspective in her coaching and will use depth psychology as a matrix for her coaching.
The path selection will truly be seen when one starts their journey and Amber will make recommendations on the approach in your first meeting.
Pay attention to what you felt you first were intuitively drawn to when seeing these offers.
Are your offerings virtual or in-person?
Amber practices therapy and medical care virtually for clients that live in Arizona and Florida but currently is not taking new clients for medical care or therapy.
She practices integrative, therapeutic coaching and consulting internationally both virtually and in-person in Florida. She offers experiential immersives as well and is open to travel for these events.
Her coaching practice appeals to highly-successful women who are in a transition with their life, relationships and careers. She helps women executives, entrepreneurs, helpers, healers, and creatives who are experiencing burnout-where existential dread and doldrums lead to a life of force, control and perfectionism-return to their true desires outside of cultural conditioning. Finding oneself is to “live the questions,” versus seeking only what one already knows. This is an exhilarating and heart-pounding ride – Amber has the time of her life going on the journey as you shed all of your “shoulds”, “oughts” and “musts” and take up your larger space in the world.
Lance practices in-person in Gainesville, FL for all of his bodywork. He may have options for virtual work in individual cases.
What’s your process for taking on new clients?
Currently Amber is not taking on new psychotherapy or psychiatric clients. New clients who would like to explore coaching can reach out here or can call for more information.
There is a fee for an initial consultation with Amber and a form to be filled out prior to the consult. To make sure this would be a good fit, please fill out her application form here and we can start the process to see if coaching will be a good fit. For free resources you can follow her online and sign-up for her monthly newsletter.
How long are sessions?
Amber provides psychotherapy for 45-50 minute sessions (a professional hour).
Coaching includes sessions to be determined in length after the initial 50-minute consult and agreement for a package. There may then be laser sessions of 10-15 minutes to 25-50 minutes for current clients via Zoom or telephone as needed, based on package choices. Amber also uses an app called Voxer that allows for immediate voice-recording feedback during the coaching package time-frame. Intensives, experientials and retreats are also options in coaching packages.
Lance’s sessions are typically a professional hour initially (50 minutes) and depending on the nature of the work, he may recommend an intensive session that may go up to 2 hours.
How often do we meet?
The best care you can receive is regular and often when starting your initial work. Deciding to do this work is an investment in your resources, both in time and finances. You and the life you can create are the return on your investment.
Psychodynamic work is best done 2x/week initially to help you get to know yourself wholly and immediately.
In coaching, Amber recommends weekly sessions plus Voxer voice-messaging for the first month. Then, if you are ready to dig even deeper, a minimum of a three-month package is available.
For Somatic Experiencing, bodywork and embodiment practices, regular sessions initially are important. One may then choose to come as needed for further support.
Do you accept insurance?
We do not accept insurance, though you can use HSA funds for integrative health care.
What payment options are available?
Payment is due, in full, before your session for medical care and psychotherapy. As a healthcare provider, we are able to accept credit cards and FSAs/HSAs for payment (if there is a diagnosis attached).
In coaching, one must be able to pay the consult fee in full and then if they choose the monthly program or the 3-month program, payment is due in full before starting the package. If a 6-month or 10-month program is chosen, there is an option for payments but they must be a minimum of the three month program. If laser sessions or further consults are involved, payment is to be paid in full before your meeting. Payment must be in a credit card form.
Payment in full is required for Somatic Experiencing, bodywork and embodiment sessions. Payment must be in a credit card form.