For those of you who have looked for love via the Internet, you know how painstakingly difficult it is to write an introduction about yourself.
What do you say to give some sense of who you are, show you have a sense of humor, convey you are smart, witty, genuine, sincere, confident, and not likely to have a stuffed animal collection, way too many housecats or are such a sports fanatic you got a ‘Niners tattoo on the back of your neck?
Getting the words just right to show you are trusting (but not stupidly so), trust-worthy (but not to the point of providing a false alibi), like to have fun (while not winding up blacked out inside a port-a-potty), and also do not have half a dozen kids, over the age of 2 (and therefore likely to say things that are not even remotely cute such as, “Your breath smells like a diaper.”) is challenging in the best of times.
When Patch Editor Keri Brenner suggested I write a blog post to introduce myself, I started wracking my brain. What should I tell you about me that would make you willing to read something I have to say? How would I tantalize with an intriguing introduction? I am a Sagittarius who likes long walks on the beach…
My name is Laura Strom and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC 49174). My specialties are trauma and disabilities. I recently moved to Sonoma County from Half Moon Bay where I lived for 23 years, and wrote a regular column for the Half Moon Bay edition of Patch. My blog was about mental health and advocacy.
I am the 149th LPCC in the State of California. I am willing to bet that most of you reading this have no idea what an LPCC is. A Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) is the brand new mental health license that California has adopted. We were the final state to get on the LPCC bandwagon. This is kind of odd because California is usually the first in trend-setting around the nation, but on this one we drug our heels. One of my friends told me I could remember my new license number by saying to myself, “The #1 team is the 49ers.” I can tell you I will not forget it now! (No, I am not sporting a tattoo on the back of my neck).
I have written a number of articles on various topics including parenting, helping your kids deal with trauma such as a natural disaster, couples’ communication conflicts, coping with a parent who develops dementia, domestic violence (that story has the most delicious cookie recipe in the whole world), stress reduction, disabilities (featuring belly dancer photos), and issues faced by LGBT youth. A Lady Gaga video even made it into one of my blog posts.
Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are two things with which I am intimately familiar. For five years I worked for Stanford as a child trauma therapist in a clinical research trial. We were testing an intervention on kids in East Palo Alto and San Francisco who had experienced trauma, many of whom had PTSD. I have an intimate understanding of how trauma can affect the developing brain of a young child.
I am going to throw in another acronym for another license nobody has heard of (including professionals in my field): I am a CRC (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor). This refers to any type of disability, not necessarily just alcohol/drug issues. I can assess a disabled person and advocate for them to receive needed accommodations in the home, school or workplace.
Ever been worried about an older person who lives home alone? I make house calls (call me old-fashioned!). Using my trusty, little-known CRC license, I do safety assessments of clients’ homes. Often just a few little changes can make a person much safer in their home. Family meetings, grief counseling, and newly acquired disabilities are just a few of the reasons people might prefer the counselor come to them.
Have you ever noticed how comforting it is to dig your toes into the sand when you are taking that long walk on the beach? I lugged sand into my office because I like it so much (our *only two* cats are not allowed there, fortunately). I have fresh sand that smells and feels nice.
I offer Jungian sandplay therapy in conjunction with traditional talk methods. The cool thing is sandplay speeds up the process of traditional therapy. In just five to seven sessions, people notice dramatic changes. It works for adults as well as kids. And it is more than fun; sandplay therapy is profound.
So how to put this all together into one attractive package that will make you want to at least consider reading my next blog post?
I am a person with old-fashioned values, and a deep understanding about difficulties people often face. I have a lot of knowledge about ways to help, including technological solutions that will surprise you; I think outside the box.
When something bad has happened, I am the person you want on your team. And I like long walks on the beach, and am a Sag. How about you?
Dear readers, if you have questions about issues related to mental health, you are welcome to email me directly. My email is LCStrom@gmail.com. I will attempt to answer your question/locate a resource, find somebody who can, or at least get you pointed in the right direction. I also offer free 30-minute initial consultations at my Santa Rosa office.