Charlotte Cowles (Intern Therapist)
Charlotte Cowles (she/her) is an Intern Therapist at The Center for Growth and a graduate student completing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northwestern University. She has been at the Center for Growth since January 2022 and will be here until mid-March 2023. She offers an open, accepting, and non-judgmental space for all clients. She feels passionate about helping clients live their happiest, most authentic life. At The Center for Growth, Charlotte offers individual therapy, couples counseling, teen and adolescent counseling, virtual therapy, and co-facilitates the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) support group. She specializes in anxiety therapy, depression therapy, sex therapy, therapy for students, life transitions, and relationship troubles and transitions. Charlotte also has an interest in working with LGBTQIA+ individuals providing gender exploration, expression, and affirmation therapy as well as understanding LGBTQIA-specific trauma.
Prior to coming to the counseling field, Charlotte worked for a Member of Congress for two years, covering policy areas such as health care, education, and financial services. After that, she worked for two years at a startup that was focused on promoting and providing nonpartisan voter education. She came to the counseling field because she always had a passion for helping people and for mental health. She also found herself acting as an informal counselor to friends, family, and coworkers and really enjoyed that role. So, she found that counseling was the best way to pursue this passion and her informal counseling work in a professional manner.
Charlotte received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She is an active member of the American Counseling Association (ACA).
Charlotte’s Therapeutic Counseling Approach
Charlotte believes that one’s context and past contributes to who they are and how they see their world, however, she works in an integrative way and strives to meet clients where they are at. She understands that what works for one person may not work for another and is eager to cooperatively find what strategies, coping mechanisms, and techniques with her clients. While her approach is rooted in the psychodynamic theory, she likes using humor and techniques from the CBT, ACT, person-centered, and multicultural/feminist theories.
Charlotte’s Approach to Relationship Counseling:
Many believe that relationships are supposed to work flawlessly naturally. In reality, this is not the case. Relationships involve two or more people coming together to create a new life or new dynamic. With this, individuals carry their individual identities, values, beliefs, problems, and sometimes families and friends. It takes a level of self-awareness and communication to make a relationship work.
Charlotte seeks to understand the couple, or relationship, as a whole, including communication, history, and why they are coming to counseling. To do so, she spends time with each member of the relationship to understand their perception of what is happening in the relationship and their history. Charlotte primarily uses an approach that is based in the Gottman theory to help people in relationships repair their foundation and build towards a happier, healthier relationship.
Charlotte believes communication, or lack thereof, is often at the base of conflicts in relationships. Whether it be communicating needs or love, or fully understanding what the other member(s) of the relationship is saying, communication is key. Even if it isn’t at the root of conflict, it is always important in discussing the conflict and ultimately its outcome. Charlotte works with those in relationships to help them understand how to communicate their needs and how their communication may be breaking down. Afterall, there is almost always a difference between what one says and what one hears.
Charlotte’s Approach to Teen and Adolescent Counseling
Being a teen can be really difficult. They are not children, but not yet fully grown, independent adults. This can often cause frustration generally and with adults in their life. The set of issues that teens deal with are also very different than people deal with in any other part of life. Not only are they discovering who they are, experimenting with what they like, what they wear, and their identities, they are also usually in a very intense educational and social environment and have the pressure of figuring out what they want to do after high school. To add to this stress, they had to deal with the consequences of the global pandemic, like social isolation and virtual schooling, and are now trying to get back to a normal that may not feel normal to them.
Charlotte strives to understand teen clients’ worlds and meet them where they are. She offers a supportive and non judgemental environment where teens can feel safe to express their emotions and experiment with thoughts, values, beliefs, and identities. She approaches counseling with her clients’ developmental stage in mind so she can provide the best care possible and help them progress to their next step.
Charlotte’s Approach to Anxiety Therapy:
Anxiety can show up in a lot of ways: it can be debilitating, motivating, keep up awake at night, wake you up in the morning, cause physical symptoms like panic attacks and sweating, or cause one to freeze. There are many other ways it shows up as well and it can be different for everyone. Charlotte is eager and ready to help with any symptoms you may present with in a personalized way.
Charlotte first likes to understand the nature of a person’s anxiety, how it impacts their life, and where it shows up. She likes to start by testing out some tools rooted in CBT, ACT, and mindfulness. Once the client starts feeling like they have some tools to deal with their anxiety out of session, she likes to work with them to find the root of it. She believes that in order to resolve an issue, one must resolve what is at the root of it. Anxiety will likely always come back from time to time, but the extent to which it does and how one handles it is what she seeks to empower clients to learn to control.
Charlotte’s Approach to Identity Work:
Charlotte also enjoys helping individuals navigate their identities and unravel what messages and values come from society, family, or their culture versus those they value themselves. It can be very hard to discern what values and distress comes from yourself versus others’ expectations. Sometimes you need an outside perspective and to understand the role external messages, values, and expectations play in our lives. Oftentimes, distress, which can manifest in anxiety, depression, and sexual concerns, comes from wanting to live according to your own values but internalized external messages telling you that that is wrong.
Charlotte works with clients to explore their values and identities, what they mean to them, and where values and expectations come from. She helps them separate internalized messages from others from what one values themselves. She also is aware that identity work can be very difficult and can cause some grief. She works with clients to realize that just by leaving some values behind, it doesn’t mean that they are betraying their roots or have to leave everything in their family, culture, or society behind.
Charlotte’s Approach to Depression Therapy:
Depression can often make you feel alone. It can be easy to get stuck in the cycle of depression and feel like there is no way out. Charlotte seeks to empower clients to learn coping mechanisms and lean on their existing strengths and supports to start to work their way out of depression. She also uses CBT techniques to help clients identify, challenge, and change negative or unhelpful thoughts and patterns. Additionally, she seeks to work with clients to find and address the root of their depressive symptoms.
Charlotte’s Approach to Relationship Issues and Transitions:
Relationships involve two people or more people, who have their own life experiences, values, thoughts, beliefs, insecurities, communication styles etc. coming together to form a joint life. Therefore, there can be a lot to navigate. Furthermore, the ending of a relationship can involve unraveling the combined parts of your life, grieving a certain kind of shared future and a certain comfort, and rediscovering what it is like and what it means to operate independently of your previous partner(s).
Charlotte strives to help individuals navigate relationship troubles, transitions, and endings by encouraging clients to explore their history, conceptions, views, and patterns with relationships, as well as communication and attachment styles. She helps clients see outside of themselves when it comes to relationships, as it can be very difficult to look at a relationship one is involved in objectively. She also introduces communication techniques. With those struggling with the ending of relationships, she strives to provide a comfortable, warm, and accepting space to explore and feel any feelings one may have. She also helps clients take a critical look at their relationship, what it meant to them and how it impacted them. She helps guide them through the grief process and determine what they learned from the relationship to help them in the future.
Charlotte’s Approach to Life Transitions:
Life transitions can bring about feelings that one has never experienced before or hasn’t in a while. With many life transitions, people are in a new environment for the first time and out of their comfort zone. This can bring about a lot of old feelings or patterns, or feelings or patterns that they never felt before. Even exciting life transitions come with it change. And with change, no matter how great it is, comes leaving something behind.
Charlotte works with clients to understand the nature of their transition and how it is impacting them, their patterns, internal messages, behaviors, and thoughts. She helps them become aware of these so clients can acknowledge them and where they came from, and also so they can move forward in a way where they are acting in accordance to goals and values they set for themselves. A lot of this work can also be connected to navigating identity and grief, which Charlotte is eager to explore with clients.
Charlotte’s Approach to Sex Therapy:
Sex can be a big part of life and relationships. However, it is also often misunderstood. Societal, cultural, and family messages greatly impact how we behave, see, think about, and experience sex. Also, not many people received comprehensive and inclusive sex education and there is a lot of misinformation on the internet. Charlotte strives to work with clients to have a sex life that is the best for them. Everyone is different, even though society tells us that most everyone should experience sex in the same way, based on their identity.
Charlotte helps clients explore the messages they received about sex growing up and to this day from external sources and how those have impacted how they think about and experience sex. She also helps educate them in areas where there are gaps and helps them explore what they as individuals want from sex. She also helps clients separate negative messages they internalized about sex with the way they as individuals want to experience and think about. Charlotte uses CBT and psychoeducation to discover and address the root of the sexual dysfunction.
Charlotte understands that issues related to sex can be uncomfortable to talk about, but she also believes that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and confident with their sexuality and sexual preferences. So, she strives to create a nonjudgmental, open, and safe environment for clients to discuss sex and work towards their optimal sex life. Charlotte specializes in sexual dysfunctions, struggles with sexual desire, and sexual orientation concerns.
Charlotte was born in New York City, but spent most of her childhood in London, England. She completed her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University with a major in Political Science and minors in Communication Studies and Corporate Strategy.
Prior to coming to the counseling field, Charlotte lived in Washington, D.C., working for a Member of Congress for two years, then for a startup focused on promoting nonpartisan voter education.
Charlotte pursued an education and career in counseling because throughout her life she felt passionate about helping people. While working on Capitol Hill, she felt she didn’t have as much impact as she wanted. She found the most joy working with constituents one-on-one helping with their problems. Upon reflection, she also found that she played the role as a counselor to friends, family, and colleagues and really enjoyed that.
Charlotte started at Northwestern in the fall of 2020 and started at The Center for Growth in January of 2022. While at school, she has taken classes such as theories of counseling, ethics, substance abuse, assessments, psychodynamic counseling, cultural diversity, methods I, II, and II, psychopathology, group counseling, and human growth and development.
Since being at Northwestern, Charlotte has assisted faculty in research projects mainly surrounding supervision in counseling. This includes ethics in supervision, how to assess effective supervision, and the concept of rupture and repair in supervision and clinical work.
As an intern, Charlotte is not fully licensed but receives five hours of weekly supervision at school and The Center for Growth, both individually and with a group.
Charlotte moved to Philadelphia in August of 2020 with her fiancé and black Labrador, Oscar.
- Pennsylvania: Currently in graduate school, completing a one year internship at The Center For Growth
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