≡ Menu

Kirsten Madsen, LPC

Couples therapist VA dynamic psychotherapy

Young Adult and Adult Psychotherapist

Individual and Couples

Psychotherapist Therapeutic Approach:

My approach is compassionate and collaborative. I specialize in Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) and, the Prevention and Relationship Education Program (PREP) for couples. We will work together in the context of a safe, trusting relationship. Apart from that, we can look at the areas of your life that are not healthy or satisfying.

Relationships Counseling:

Today, we know that we are biologically wired to connect to another human being. In therapy you’ll discover that we heal through relating. Without a doubt, the wounds from former relationships (childhood and otherwise), can be healed in the present within the context of a healthy relationship. Disruption of secure connections with others is the reason for all emotional pain and suffering. Every issue that any patient brings to my office is, inevitably, an exploration and healing of a relationship trauma or disruption of connection with a significant person in his or her life.

I work to understand the unconscious motivation to continue patterns of behavior from the past. The understanding of the past and its influence on our mind is very important. Many times, our current actions can often be dictated by old coping strategies. The adaptations that were useful in the past, usually become a source of suffering in the present.

I will ask for you feelings, I want to find out who you are underneath the words, ideas and fantasies. I want to invite you to a different relationship, to look at what’s going on within you, or between us, or with other people in your life. This will open the door to change and, ultimately, well-being.

Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy(ISTDP)

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a unique form of psychodynamic treatment that facilitates the rapid resolution of a broad spectrum of emotional disorders. ISTDP is an evidence-based psychotherapy strongly supported by current clinical research studies. In fact, the treatment interventions are specifically designed to resolve anxiety, depression, somatization and personality disorders.

Likewise, ISTDP alleviates a variety of self-defeating behaviors, many of which derive from unstable or troubled early life attachments.

A big part of this model is to to work with emotions. Our feelings are what make us feel alive and vital, energize us to meet and deal with life’s challenges, and point us in the best direction to get what we really want. Our feelings are what bridge the gap between ourselves and others, enliven our relationships, and help us feel close. And it’s our discomfort with our feelings that keeps us detached from the wisdom and power inside us, and at a distance from others.

Most of us are afraid of our feelings. We might be afraid to feel the full extent of our emotions and afraid of being emotionally alive and present with others. Most people are afraid of being vulnerable, of drawing attention to ourselves, of looking like a fool. We’re afraid of being overwhelmed, of losing control, of getting out of hand. We’re afraid of being seen for who we really are. What do we do? We avoid our feelings and do everything we can to steer clear of them, to keep them hidden. We distract ourselves, push our feelings aside, stuff them back in, and hope they’ll go away. Unfortunately, they won’t.

This is where Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) comes in. In ISTDP we pay attention to the healthy parts of you that want freedom. Sometimes we will need to attend to the part of you that wants to avoid getting in touch with our feelings. We are repeatedly reminding you of your healthy longings for health and freedom and inviting you to experience your true feelings. Sometimes avoidance gets in the way of progress, we will use gentle and compassionate interventions to soften the not longer useful defense. Ultimately, you come to realize your true potential to feel fully alive, vital, and deeply connected to your experience of yourself, others, and the world. You will overcome your fear, awaken to the emotional richness inside you, and feel more intimately connected to the people in your life.

The Prevention and Relationship Education Program (PREP)

The Prevention and Relationship Education Program (PREP) is an approach for couples on how to communicate effectively. Essentially, this is a more hands on approach.

The specific techniques will help us focus on the specific needs of your relationship. Some aspects that we often address are:

  • How to communicate with emotional safety – to talk without fighting.
  • Tips to protect your relationship from conflicts that damage closeness.
  • Skills to deepen your commitment, nurture a vision for a future together, and become better at making decisions.
  • How to keep fun and friendship alive.

Psychotherapist Clinical Training

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington, DC and VA. Specialist Degree as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Group Analytic Psychoanalyst from Denmark.

Graduated from The Danish School of Education in Copenhagen, Denmark with a master’s degree in Psychology.

As a person that loved to continue to learn, I completed:

  • a three year Group Analytic Psychotherapy program.
  • four years of post graduate training in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy at the Washington School of Psychiatry.

Clinical Services

Couples and individuals dealing with relationships issues are my main specialty. Depression, anxiety, grief, family of origin issues and any life transitions.

Currently, I am providing teletherapy and in-person services. My psychotherapy office is located at 6007 Mayfair Ln, Alexandria, VA 22310. There is convenient parking in front of the house.

Languages: English, Danish