Dana Mitchell Counseling
Welcome. I'm glad you're here—really.
I'm guessing you're looking for help because something feels too stuck, too big, or too confusing to go it alone. I think one of the biggest goals in therapy is to learn to ask for help from those in your world without feeling bad about it. So I'm glad you're here because I think that means you're wondering whether asking for help might actually work, and that's as good a place to start as any.
Dana Mitchell, LMHCA
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate
Therapy is hard. Here's why I do it and what I think it's about.
The story of my practice began when I decided to spend a month doing things that scared me. Eventually these new experiences of boldness brought up questions about the past and future of my life that felt overwhelming. So I went to therapy, faced some painful realities of my own, and six months later applied to grad school across the country. It's funny what can happen once you find out that one scary thing isn't so bad. That's what I hope happens in our work together--whether you want to process the impact of your family relationship patterns, explore questions of identity & vocation, or heal from trauma. Scary things are easier to face with someone else. If you're ready, I'm looking forward to being brave with you.
All too often things that we want to be enlivening or meaningful get bogged down because of experiences that told us we weren't safe, supported, understood, or in control. And maybe in those moments that was true, but then in order to avoid future pain, we close down and shut off—to ourselves and those we love. This makes us less flexible over time, so that we can't respond freely to ourselves and others. We start feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or fill in the blank. But here's the thing I've been learning—when we return to relationship (in some form or other) we have more of an opportunity to heal. That's why I love relational psychotherapy. We build a working relationship that is personal enough to allow us to build connection and attachment, while practicing skills to help you regulate emotion, communicate your feelings and needs, and integrate creative boundaries that help you process and persevere when life gets hard.
And guess what--surviving the scary thing can be a turning point; the relationships you build with yourself and others can be more honest and real.
Here's how I work.
In my graduate work I focused on women's issues, at the intersection of theology, psychology, and creative performance. I wholeheartedly believe that artistic expression, specifically the collaborative, physically embodied emotion in theatre arts can be profoundly healing. I researched the psychological development of girls and women, the neurobiology of trauma, and theatre education techniques to mix together an approach to therapy that integrates my foundation as an artist with my passion for personal growth and healing in women and girls. I approach therapy in the collaborative way I grew up putting on plays. That means when you come to therapy with me, I invite you to bring your whole self (especially your bodily awareness and spontaneous expressions) to the table to see what we might create together. By building a shared, descriptive dialogue between us, you'll gain deeper self-awareness and increased flexibility, agency, and connection in your life.
As part of my graduate training, I worked as an intern therapist at Seattle Therapy Alliance, where clinicians work to grow their awareness of cultural and social dynamics, including racism, sexism, classism, and heteronormativity. These factors impact mental health and the story we tell as a society about what behavior is "normal." These narrow societal expectations can limit your ability to live out the full expression of who you are in the world. I will work to stay aware of these dynamics in your story, and will invite you to grow in your critical awareness of your own narrative, too.
In order to build a space where creative self reflection and expression can happen, there are a few simple rules I invite you to:
Attend to the present moment.
Bring your curiosity, courage, and vulnerability.
Listen to your body with loving-kindness.
Trust the process.
Speak your yes and your no* (communicate needs/boundaries).
*My favorite rule in theatre is "yes...and," because it encourages us to leap into the moment and work with it. But for women specifically, the word "no" is not respected nearly enough. So please play "yes...and" with me, but also bring your no. It's been my experience that women become more open and present with their yes when they feel increasingly clear and comfortable with saying no.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate (LMHCA), and received my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2017 from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.
I also received a Master of Arts in Theology & Culture from The Seattle School in 2012. I do not provide religiously-focused counseling, but if you would like to process the impact of your religion or faith experience on your life, I am prepared to do that work with you.
From 2012-2015 I worked as a freelance educator, providing support to graduate students at The Seattle School, as well as teaching theatre to students aged 5-17. I have worked as an educator with Seattle Children's Theatre, Bainbridge Performing Arts, and Seattle Shakespeare Company.