My Approach

I believe we all have the capacity to live full, rewarding lives, and that counseling can help to unlock that potential. When life’s many challenges overwhelm us or make us feel “stuck,” counseling can provide a uniquely safe space in which difficult feelings and experiences can be explored. By cultivating mindfulness, compassion and courage, we can allow our wounds to heal and discover new ways of relating to our thoughts, our emotions and the world around us.



I work with adult individuals and couples on a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, relationship problems, stress management, trauma, loss and grief, self-esteem, life transitions, spirituality, career counseling, short-term concerns/problem solving, general mental health and wellness and more.

 

These are a few of the principles that guide my practice:

Collaboration. While my training has provided me with a degree of expertise on mental health issues, you are the expert on you. I view the process of therapy as entirely collaborative, and one of my most important goals is to honor, respect and strengthen your perspective throughout the process.

Putting it all in context. We are all deeply influenced by a wide range of forces, many of which are beyond our control: the makeup of our genes, the environment in which we grew up, our culture and our society, to name a few. I believe strongly in taking responsibility for our actions—but I also feel that understanding context is essential to cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.

Integrating theories. I’m influenced by a broad range of psychological theories, including Humanistic/Rogerian, Existential, Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and I draw from them and others as needed to address your unique goals and struggles.

Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves stepping out of our incessant thinking about the past and future and bringing our awareness into the present moment. It sounds simple, and it is—but it’s not easy! Nonetheless, I believe that cultivating mindfulness is a vital element of healing and growth.

Respect for diversity. The ways in which we are different—our race, age, gender, sexual orientation, faith and many other factors—are vital elements of who we are. Sadly, the way that other people and our culture view those differences can also be the source of tremendous stigma and disempowerment. I believe in openly exploring the ways in which power and privilege impact us without losing sight of the unique strengths that our differences offer.

Building on strengths. In our culture we have a very strong tendency to focus on our weaknesses, the things we don’t like about ourselves and our lives. And while it’s important to address the things we’d like to change, it’s also vital to recognize our strengths and build on them. 

Acceptance. We tend to think that being self-critical is the only way to improve, but in reality it’s often the largest obstacle to progress. Ironically enough, we often need to accept the way we are before we can change.

About

About Me

> Licensed Professional Counselor

Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists

Master of Arts, Counseling Psychology

Lewis & Clark, Portland, OR

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology

Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

I've been in private practice since 2012. I also provide group supervision of counselor interns at William Temple House, a community nonprofit.

 

Couples Counseling

Conflict with the person you love is some of the toughest conflict you can face. You feel like you should be closer to your partner than anyone else in the world—but the same issues keep getting in the way. The love that brought you together in the first place seems impossibly far away, right at the time when you need it most.

My main goal is to help you get “unstuck.” I do that by strengthening your attachment to one another: the ways in which you attune to each other’s needs, feel seen and heard, and create an atmosphere of safety and trust. I can help you to:

  • Communicate how you feel and what you need

  • Listen and empathize

  • See things from each other’s perspective

  • Identify your “triggers,” the baggage we all carry from childhood and past relationships

  • Take care of yourself—and support your partner in doing the same

 

Since every couple is unique, I invite you to contact me for a free phone consultation to help determine whether I’d be a good fit for you.

 
 

Tom O'Leary, LPC      1520 N. Alberta St.      tom@olearytherapy.com      503.893.2552