Bridget Haines (Intern Therapist)

Bridget (she/her) is a third-year Master of Social Work and Social Research student at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and will be practicing as an intern therapist at The Center For Growth from Sept ‘22 through Sep ‘23. She carries with her a strong background in the fields of science, art, and behavior. Her most recent clinical work includes multi-layered support of students and families navigating a Covid-stirred world. She has diverse familiarity navigating the realms of eating disorders, complex trauma, relational distress in couples, anxiety/depression, and grief and loss.

Roles, responsibilities, and relationships often act as suffocants. There is little space in our lives to approach the raggedness of emotions, let alone explore or speak them aloud. In this form of silence, tremendous pain and isolation thrive. The lean toward therapy can be daunting, but the leap is worth it.

Bridget’s work offers room to be our rawest selves in feeling, action, and thought. A predictable place to plunk down anguish can lighten burdens from the outset. Bring the noise, even the silence, and she will hold the line with sincerity, acceptance, and insight. None of us have escaped this life unscathed, and no experiences are too massive when tackled with allies.

Innate human resilience, the will to climb when exhausted or hope when sunk, is thankfully a tough one to shake loose. Bridget knows this to be true in her own life and in the lives of all her clients. Her work celebrates this adaptability, an intrinsic trait most often well-buried when it is needed most.

Sometimes carrying on, just carrying on, is the superhuman achievement. Albert Camus

Due to her passion in linking scientific advancement with therapeutic practice, Bridget’s work is soundly anchored in psycho-education and relational theory. We know ourselves best in relation to others. And we can make better sense of that knowledge by understanding the mechanisms within us. No matter the level of overwhelm or hopelessness, compulsion or detachment, people make sense. If circumstances within or without us feel just the opposite, information is simply missing. Bridget helps clients track down the misplaced pieces then to be reassembled in innovative, affirming ways.

Trauma, indiscriminate and upending, seems to toss a heavy wrench in the cogs of reason. However, it too follows an identifiable pathway which can be transformative. Many tools exist which can nudge our mind’s gears to turn as they should. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Neurofeedback, Psychodrama, Mindfulness, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are all essential trauma-relevant modalities. However, the effectiveness of curiosity, creativity, and humor can sometimes be left out of the mix. These workings are integral to human survival, and they’re psychologically hard-wired. Bridget knows them to crack doors, build sound relational bridges, and banish intractable shame. Inventive use of these unsung, inherent capabilities in combination with CBT, DBT and the like fends off the expected u-turns and traffic jams common in posttraumatic healing. Fear narrows scope, and curiosity offers up panoramic vision. Imagination brakes hard at the point of trauma, and creativity shifts us into first gear. Shame shuts the lid, and humor tosses it open with compassion. When incorporated into the relationship between partners, family members, coworkers, and within ourselves, Bridget believes that less important is the particular therapeutic intervention utilized, most important is the vibrancy and connection which curiosity, creativity, and humor provoke.

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of possibilities. Jean Houston

Bridget continues to dedicate herself to the expansion of knowledge and experience in the field. Gravitating toward relational, attachment-based, and expressive arts therapy, her work is integrative and dynamic. Some of the greatest minds of our time are currently churning out powerful new psychological wisdom, and Bridget commits herself to bringing these new understandings into her practice. She is currently pursuing supplemental certifications in EMDR, Relational Life Therapy (RLT), and the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy.

Bridget enthusiastically welcomes all who relate to her background, ideals, and therapeutic style. Her most experienced work is weighted more heavily toward supporting those facing eating disorders, repercussions of complex trauma, and issues surrounding family and couples’ relationships. However, she and her clients know well that these stressors touch each of our lives either in small doses or expansive swaths.

Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating

Eating disorders (ED) and related disordered eating behaviors are complicated and devastating. As a therapist with lived experience, Bridget recognizes their wounding and pervasive nuances. These disorders are shape-shifters, and those battling them endure significant isolation and emotional exhaustion. Thankfully, ED research and its related therapeutic interventions have expounded their understanding and efficacy in the past two decades. Hope exists, and recovery is attainable. Each will be as unique to a person as is the disorder which attempts to prove otherwise.

Confusing to some, it is not weight nor numbers nor appearance which drive eating disorders. The root is pain, with shame as fertilizer. Not only are eating disorders anchored in self-contempt but, by their nature, produce their own. ED behaviors are a well-honed survival tactic and designed in a desperate attempt to secure protection. However, they also include behaviors which individuals are deeply ashamed to share. There are no actions nor thoughts which Bridget has not encountered in her work or personal experience. These disorders know how to keep themselves alive, no matter how tenaciously one takes up arms against them. Shame building upon shame is powerful sustenance. When ready to hand over a bit of self-scorn, clients can be assured that Bridget knows their battle well enough to target chinks in the ED armor alongside them. Relationships are the antidote to symptom use, and trusting in another is a courageous first step to regain the full life which now may feel lost.

One of the most dangerous myths surrounding eating disorders is that they are a life sentence. Lynn Crilly

Trauma and Its Repercussions

Trauma is a well known term, yet as a concept, often less well understood. This makes good sense because the medical, psychological, and social sciences have only recently begun to knit loose threads together. For some, the word itself may be unrelatable. This is also a reasonable response to the ever-shifting definitions of trauma. Regardless of one’s comprehension of it or relationship with it, each of us is directly or indirectly impacted by trauma. It leaves an indelible mark, and tending to its impacts effects nearly unimaginable change.

Bridget’s goal is to establish a solid foundation of security for her clients. Exploration can only begin when there exists a well-stocked and familiar base camp. Upon embarking, the inclusion of psychoeducation shores up sound footing. Trauma is logged in the body, and when triggered, the body reacts in kind. These physiological reactions can be confusing, enraging, frightening, paralyzing, and destructive. Utilizing science to explain the why, what, when, and how of trauma responses can shed some of shame’s weight and allow for gradual forward movement.

Perhaps the most profound aspect of trauma work is reassembling the pieces torn asunder. Trauma shatters the sense of self, and reintegration brings attainable hope and invigorating relations. The therapeutic field is built for conversation and verbal processing, and its integral role is recognized in Bridget’s work. However, she holds firm that because the body stores the trauma, the body offers the meaningful repair. Thinking outside the toolbox of language-based strategy is critical in trauma work, and Bridget follows the lead of her clients. Meditation and arts-based expression such as yoga, writing, role-play, music, and painting are some of the techniques which she readily introduces to clients. Trauma fractures lives, yet Bridget encourages clients to remember that the healing from it can be like that of a welded joint, in the aftermath even stronger than before.

Once you start approaching your body with a sense of curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts. Bessel van der Kolk

Couples’ Relational Challenges

Cliches can be irritating in their simplicity and overuse. However, they continue to exist for a reason. Often, they extoll an unshakeable truth. In connection to our intimate relationships, there’s one which shouts from the rafters of most households. Relationships are hard. And no one seems to know quite what to do about it. However, couples’ therapy has experienced a recent reinvention of sorts. There is new research investigating the science underpinning romantic love and offering historical and cultural contexts for much of our partnered conflicts. Some of the most innovative thinkers are throwing their weight into the arena of coupled bonding. Although it continues to be tough to be in them, and perhaps even tougher to be out of them, it is certainly an ideal time to seek help in strengthening them.

Our physical and mental health is determined by the health of our relationships, and this tenet of relational theory informs Bridget’s work. The bond between partners is of one the most cherished and impactful of these relationships. It can provide boundless vibrancy, stifling pain, and all variations in between. Bridget helps clients recognize that more is being asked of our intimate relationships than ever before. Communities, entire towns, used to provide what we now expect from our partners, and this has become our relational downfall. Further, couples no longer remain together out of necessity but rather out of desire. This places relationships under tremendous pressure to maintain an unfaltering level of erotic lure. Sexuality and the more expansive concept of eroticism must be part of couples’ work. If desire is the new relationship glue, a different batch needs to be mixed up with some color tossed in for good measure.

Bridget draws tightly together the work of pioneering theories such as Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Relational Life Therapy (RLT), and the Gottman Couples Method along with the ground-breaking insight of couples’ expert Esther Perel in order to provide a more down-to-earth, research-informed, humor-infused therapeutic style. Dedicated to exploring emerging and effective strategies, she brings new perspectives to couples locked in antagonistic standoffs. There is a dance between couples, and most often it is the dance that deserves critique rather than the individuals.

Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all? Esther Perel

Bridget is also a seventh-generation farmer who finds herself spending a frustrating amount of time cursing roof-threatening winds and pretending she can keep houseplants alive. The list of her best friends includes at least one tractor.


She looks forward to helping you clear some of the weeds and edge ever closer to your goals!

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If you think Bridget would be a good fit for you, schedule your appointment today!

Completing M.S.S. degree

Pursuing licensure in PA & NJ

Supervised by a team of Licensed Clinicians


Licensure:

  • Pennsylvania: Masters level graduate student in social work at Bryn Mawr. Working under supervision
  • New Jersey: graduate student in social work at Bryn Mawr. Working under supervision