A LITTLE ABOUT ME
April Starsick LICSW, SEP
A BRIEF HISTORY
I have been practicing as a psychotherapist since 2001, when I graduated from West Virginia University with a Master of Social Work in Clinical Mental Health. I completed specialized trauma resolution training at the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute, as well as SAFE EMDR training through the Personal Transformation Institute. I hold a Bachelor of Social Work and Minor in Sociology from WVU. I am also Reiki Master Teacher, which helps inform some of my practice on a different level. I have spent the majority of my career providing trauma therapy as well as treatment for anxiety, depression, mood disorders, life stress, life transitions, codependency, school and career stress, relationship stress, LGBTQ related issues and many others. I have been in private practice since 2010 providing outpatient, integrative psychotherapy services to individuals coping with a variety of issues, with a special interest in those who have experienced trauma. Over the years, and throughout my own healing journey, I have learned that there is much more to resolving trauma and anxiety than using coping skills, and cognitive therapies. I do offer a variety of therapy modalities, and have a strong focus and expertise in body based, somatic psychotherapy.
WHY A SOMATIC APPROACH?
Because is works! It is important to focus not only on mental health, but on the whole person. Our minds and bodies have stories to tell, and unique ways of healing. The connection between our mind and body is so powerful, and where a great deal of disruption can occur in our nervous systems. Our bodies know what to do to help us heal, mentally and physically, when we are able to allow space for them to do so. Unlike traditional therapies, I am specially trained in offering a "bottom up" approach as opposed to "top down". In short, this means focusing on our nervous systems as a way to heal, as opposed to the telling and retelling of stories, which can lead to re-traumatization, ongoing anxiety, and can keep us spinning. I also offer traditional cognitive based therapies with a nervous system informed component. In my experience, trauma cannot simply be talked away. Our nervous systems need to be engaged and allowed the space to renegotiate the trauma and reorganize themselves in order to respond in healthier ways.
I have specialized training in trauma resolution as a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), and am so excited to bring Somatic Experiencing® to the state of West Virginia, as the first SEP in our great Mountain State! I am hoping more practitioners will join in this approach to healing. This certification includes 3 years and 216 hours of intensive trauma resolution training, and many additional hours of professional consultations and my own personal SE sessions. The Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Resolution method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. It is based on multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. The SE approach helps individuals to release traumatic shock from their bodies, which is key to transforming PTSD, emotional trauma, chronic stress and early developmental attachment trauma. Many individuals are unable to recall their traumas, or only remember parts, or just plain don't want to talk about it. This model is focused on helping the body resolve trauma and return to a state of resilience.
SPECIAL INTERESTS AND OTHER APPROACHES
I have a strong passion for working with trauma survivors, those struggling with anxiety, chronic stress and illness, those with difficulty regulating their emotions, and struggling with their identity or sense of self. My trauma specialties include sexual trauma, physical trauma, including abuse, accidents, inescapable attacks, attachment and developmental trauma, and emotional trauma and neglect. My approach is integrative and I incorporate a variety of therapeutic approaches based on your individual needs. These can include Somatic Experiencing®, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Based CBT, Solution Focused Therapy (Brief Therapy), Interpersonal Therapy, Humanistic Therapies (Gestalt Therapy, Client-Centered Therapy and Existential Therapy), Psychodynamic, and many more. We can work together to find the right approach for your needs. I also assist my clients in exploring alternative treatment approaches that may assist in healing. There is a lot of great stuff out there! I think these are just as important in achieving the best possible outcome!