Lauren Kairys, (Intern Therapist)
Lauren “LA” Kairys an intern therapist at the Center for Growth in Philadelphia, PA (6/1/2022-6/1/2023). She is currently working toward her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). Lauren provides a warm, supportive, and non-judgmental environment for all her clients. She understands that seeking therapy can be daunting and strives to ensure that all her clients feel not only accepted but celebrated during their work with her. Lauren offers both virtual and in-person services at the Center for Growth and is particularly interested in anxiety, trauma, sexual wellness, and working with members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Lauren’s training is rooted in cognitive-behavioral therapy, although her therapeutic approach also incorporates narrative therapy, mindfulness, and systemic theories.
Prior to pursuing her masters degree, Lauren earned her bachelors from Temple University in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She is a student member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (ASSECT) and plans on earning her LPC before eventually becoming an AASECT-certified sex therapist and sex educator. Lauren has a strong background in adolescent psychology and currently works as a project coordinator, helping to develop substance use treatment trainings for medical students. She is also a facilitator in a positive-psychology group wellness program based at PCOM. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Pennsylvania Counseling Association and the PA Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities.
After graduation and completion of her internship, Lauren also hopes to become certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to expand her repertoire for trauma-focused care.
Lauren’s Approach to Counseling in Philadelphia
Lauren believes that everyone has a story and that each of those stories deserves to be recognized and honored. She believes that these stories must be listened to intentionally and without judgment. This has led her to a narrative approach to therapy, in which she understands that every client is the expert in their own lives. She encourages clients to evaluate the stories that they are telling themselves about the situations they are in, and challenges clients not to label themselves as problems which they are struggling with. Although counselors have a variety of tools at their disposal, Lauren believes that being an active, attentive listener is one of the most powerful. She strives to be truly present in all her interactions and ensures that her clients feel seen and understood.
Lauren also incorporates cognitive-behavioral interventions to help clients identify and change thoughts and behaviors that may be causing them distress. In cognitive-behavior therapy, Lauren and her clients work together to develop and use both problem-solving skills and coping strategies, as well as reassess core beliefs that clients may hold about themselves, others, and the world. She includes mindfulness-based exercises for some clients to reduce stress and increase awareness of our mind-body connections. Additionally, Lauren pulls from systemic theories to understand the unique barriers that individual clients face in their day-to-day lives.
Lauren knows that seeking therapy can be scary; she believes that there is no “wrong” time to reach out for help. Everyone starts their healing journey at a different point and for different reasons. Many people seek therapy because they are struggling with past or current situations in their life or because they want to make a change. Others may be looking to learn more about themselves. Regardless of why you are starting therapy or where you are in your healing journey, Lauren is honored and excited to work and grow with you. It is never too early or too late to seek treatment.
Lauren offers trauma-informed care to all her clients in addition to offering trauma-focused treatment. She believes that everyone is deserving of a safe, confidential place to process and heal from traumatic events, and understands that trauma effects everyone differently. Lauren also stresses to all her clients (and others in her life) that there is no clear definition for what classifies as trauma. Many people may seek treatment after isolated events such as a car accident or assault, while others may have been chronically exposed to negative experiences. Any trauma that you have experienced is worth getting help for. You are deserving of that help.
Although your individual goals in therapy may differ, Lauren typically aims to help clients re-establish a sense of safety in their body and throughout their life, identify and cope with their triggers, and decrease clients’ experience of traumatic stress symptoms. She primarily used trauma-focused CBT (TF-CBT) when working with trauma. She also incorporates relaxation training and exposure therapy and is mindful of the ways in which trauma can impact our relationships with family, romantic partners, and other loved ones.
LGBT+ Focused Therapy in Philadelphia
Lauren identifies as queer and strives to show up authentically for all of her clients (and hopes that they are able to show up authentically with her, too). Working from a multicultural and intersectional lens, she recognizes that members of marginalized and minority groups, such as those in the LGBT+ community, face unique challenges and, at times, discrimination. Lauren aims to provide care that is both affirming and celebratory for all her clients, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. She works with clients on issues such as gender and body dysphoria, sexual identity issues, navigating coming out, and more. She approaches all her clients with curiosity and compassion and is excited to be a part of your journey of self-discovery and growth.
For many of us, anxiety can mean physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweaty palms, or a dizzying headache. It may be debilitating, a moderate inconvenience, or even a source of motivation to hit your deadlines. However anxiety shows up for you, you don’t need to deal with it alone. When working with clients with anxiety, Lauren helps her clients uncover the root causes of the anxiety as well as learn to cope with and minimize their symptoms of anxiety. She leans on her cognitive-behavioral training to help clients identify and change their anxious thoughts, and also utilizes techniques such as relaxation training, exposure therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy to help clients manage their anxiety symptoms.
Lauren works with clients with varying types of anxiety, including social anxiety, general anxiety, specific phobias, and panic attacks. Lauren collaborates with clients to help determine unique therapeutic goals, and tailors treatment plans to fit each client’s individual needs.
Depression can look different for everyone who experiences it. We may be able to identify feelings and symptoms of depression more easily when we are feeling excessively sad or having long periods of feeling down, depression can also present as feeling a lack of interest and pleasure in things that we used to enjoy or having decreased motivation. Others may become angry and irritable when they are depressed or may notice changes in their eating and sleeping habits. Regardless of what form depression takes in your life, Lauren aims to instill hope that your situation can get better. Depression often involves negative thinking patterns, so Lauren helps clients identify and change these patterns using cognitive-behavioral techniques. She also utilizes behavioral activation, as well as mindfulness and positive psychology, when treating clients with depression.
Relationship Issues and Transitions in Philadelphia
Grief is a heavy burden to bear, whether we are dealing with the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship. Many individuals seek counseling either after the end of a romantic relationship or while they are deciding if it is time to end a relationship. Lauren helps individuals and couples handle and process relationship troubles and transitions with a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and emotionally focused therapy. Lauren works with clients who are grieving the loss of a romantic relationship and, when they are ready, helps them process their feelings about their former partner and their breakup. She also supports couples who are struggling but want to repair and improve their current relationship.
The idea of opening up to a stranger to talk about topics as personal and sensitive as sex and intimacy can be intimidating, but sex therapy can be a great tool for individuals and for couples. Common concerns addressed in sex therapy include sexual dysfunction, sex-based anxiety, desire discrepancies, and more. Lauren realizes it can be scary to talk about these issues with a therapist and strives to meet clients where they are in terms of their comfort level. Depending on the concerns a client is bringing to therapy, treatment can look very different; with all her sex-therapy clients, Lauren takes a trauma-informed and interdisciplinary approach, as some sexual dysfunctions may be related to other medical concerns. She creates a warm, non-judgmental environment where clients feel respected and safe enough to share their more intimate concerns.
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Outside of the counseling room, Lauren is an avid fan of both live music and of yoga. She lives in Philadelphia with her cats, Ron and Toby, and a handful of houseplants. She likes to spend her free time listening to podcasts, testing out new recipes, and trying to keep the cats from eating her houseplants.
- Pennsylvania: Currently in a masters program, supervised by a licensed masters level clinician.