Paula Fontenelle

(works at Life Counseling)

Finding the right therapist is no easy task and I know that from my own experience, so I will make this as clear as I can.

My Therapeutic Approach

 

My approach to therapy is based not only on the professional training I’ve acquired, but most importantly, on my values. What this means is that when I sit with a patient, I am there wholeheartedly, ready to hear their stories with no preconceptions or ready-made treatment plans. I see them as unique human beings who came to me because they are hurting and in need of a fresh perspective on their experience. 

 

I am able to sit with their pain, respecting their pace and how much they are willing to share because as I said before, these are congruent with my values. I believe that when we develop the capacity to see individuals through the lenses of their own lives, we grow as human beings, and we develop the ability to truly bond with them.

 

Another aspect of my approach should be noted: Relationships are at the center of my work. In my experience, no matter what labels with assign our pain - depression, grief, anxiety, or sadness -, they can always be traced back to relationships, so we will be exploring that in therapy. A well-known saying in our field expresses perfectly how I see this: “We are hurt by relationships and we are healed by them,” so I will work with you on how to build healthy attachments to those who are important to you.

 

Finally, know that we will do this together. Therapy is a collaborative endeavor. I am here to facilitate the changes you need to make, but I’m aware that no one knows your story as well as you do, or where what path you want to lead in your life. Just be sure that I will be here to help you through this journey, no matter how many times we may need to re-route it. At the end of the day, it is your choice and my responsibility to make sure you get there.

 

Education and Experience

 

I have two very different training: five years of Psychoanalysis, which I did in Brazil, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from George Fox University. From Psychoanalysis I learned about the existence of unconscious forces driving our behavior and how central our childhood experiences are in the development of attachment patterns. It also taught me not to rush during the therapeutic process. Patients need time open up, they need to trust us first, so if you need to be silent, I will sit comfortably silent beside you. This is your healing space, your time, your pain.

 

With time, I found the need to learn other approaches because Psychoanalysis does not work with everyone. This is why I decided to get a Master's in counseling. The three-year program gave me new tools to work with a larger pool of patients and their personal needs. It has undoubtedly added a valuable set of approaches and interventions to my toolbox so that each client can be treated according to their characteristics and personal goals.

 

You should know that there is one area I have been dedicating time to over the years: suicide prevention. This calling came to me after the death of my father, in 2005. If you want to know about my work, here are some options:

My Podcast

My YouTube Channel

Facebook Page

Book (available on Amazon): “Understanding Suicide: living with loss, paths to prevention” 

 

This doesn’t mean that suicide prevention is my only field of work, it’s a mission I brought upon myself so that I could honor my father and those who experience the pain of losing a loved one to suicide.

 

Some of the areas I work with are: 

 

  • Grief (including suicide grief)

  • Trauma

  • Anxiety/stress

  • Depression

  • Suicidal Ideation

  • Relationships issues

  • Self-esteem/self-worth

  • Life transitions

 

Personal Life

 

I’m from Recife, a city in the Northeast of Brazil. Like Portland/OR, where I live now, Recife is surrounded by rivers and lakes. Not as much green though. I have two precious sisters (our brother died at the age of 26), a niece and a nephew. My mom still lives in Recife.

 

I find much joy in life, mainly through my personal relationships and by trying to keep my creative self in movement. If I were to mention my hobbies, it would take a few pages, so if you are interested, check my blog

 

I try to have a healthy, balanced life by engaging in activities that bring me joy, by surrounding myself with good-hearted, authentic people, by taking care of my mind and body (I also do my own therapy), and by knowing when I need to take a break from it all. 

 

In short, I do what author Mary Pipher states in her book Letters to a Young Therapist, which is to “live the life you preach.”

Contact: paula@lifecounselingandtherapy.org

Fone: 503-435-4840

Listen to my podcast
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HELP FIGHT THE STIGMA

© 2019 by Paula Fontenelle