Therapist Spotlight: Leslie Valgach, LSW

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Therapist Spotlight: Leslie Valgach, LSW

Therapist Spotlight: Leslie Valgach, LSW

I know firsthand how some people believe people who seek therapy for mental health are emotionally weak, but asking for help from a professional takes a lot of courage. Therapy requires that you look inward, and to change existing thought patterns takes a great deal of work and dedication. The initial appointment can be very stressful, but know that therapy is a safe place away from judgment and fear. Therapist like myself are here to empower you on your journey to change!

As a Licensed Social Worker, I’ve worked with adolescents and adults in many different settings ranging from  individual and group therapy to crisis intervention in the Emergency Room. I earned my Masters in Clinical Social Work (at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration), and my Bachelors in Social Work (at Luther College in Iowa).I practice from a strength-based approach, and combine several modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavioral therapy, and mindfulness. I believe that the key to success is a strong therapeutic relationship, and I strive to provide a warm and accepting environment that is conducive to positive change

For those that are not familiar with CBT, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals reconnect with themselves and better understand their anxiety and depression. Through the CBT triangle, clients are coached to understand that their thoughts affect their behavior, which affects their emotions, which in turn affect their thoughts. The cycle continues until they’re able to stop it, which starts with changing their thoughts. We do this by identifying negative automatic thoughts and connecting them to core beliefs that took roots many years in the past. By developing alternative thoughts and changing the way we think, we can start making changes to our present problems.

I enjoy working with individuals who experience mood disorders such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. I chose to specialize in these areas because they are so prevalent in our society. I enjoy working with all ages; and with anxiety and depression, I’m fascinated that symptoms can arise at all stages of life. I am also working towards specializing in individual and family therapy for international adoptees and their families. Coming from a family with multiple adoptees, I have been able to see first hand that there is a lack of support specifically for adoptees and their families. This is where my true passion lies, and working with individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder has helped me greatly as I move toward my goal as a therapist.  

When I’m not meeting with clients, roadtripping is my favorite form of recreation. I grew up taking road trips with my family to different national parks and campgrounds around the country. The mountains and fresh air are like a reset button. I also love to read science fiction and fantasy books. If I can’t escape into the mountains, then I can escape in a book!

 

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