What’s your story? I ask because our stories say a great deal about who we are, what we value, and how we struggle. Many counseling approaches forgo working with client stories because doing so requires contending with the past. They prefer discerning what is problematic about client behaviors, cognitions, and emotions in the present, and developing routinized behavioral strategies to curb their impact. I say ‘curb’ because Cognitive-Behavioral strategies only teach clients how to recognize and work on their problems, not understand how and why they arise.
Understanding why we think, feel, and act the way we do can be very important, though. Without this understanding, there is a tendency for clients to believe they are innately problematic – that they are the problems. Such convictions can lend a sense of shame and futility to the endless cycle of self-work.
Narrative counselors like myself, on the other hand, believe understanding why is essential towards achieving sustainable personal change and growth. We seek this understanding by examining clients stories in search of insight about their presenting concerns. The work of therapy involves deconstructing the conflux of biopsychosocial, developmental, and traumatic factors which cause clients to feel, think, and act in maladaptive ways, and using this insight to re-author their stories in ways which better reflect their authentic values, capabilities, and circumstances.
The ultimate purpose of these processes of Deconstruction and Re-Authoring is to free clients from the tyrannies of context and shame, which prevent them from living happy, healthy, and generative lives. The purpose of this kind of therapy is bring clients into contact with a single, unassailable truth: You are not your problems. Your problems are the problem, and you the unfortunate maleficiary of their consequences. I sincerely believe that each of us are beautiful and perfect, just the way we are, when afforded the opportunity to grow and thrive as our genuine, authentic selves. I am passionate about bringing clients face-to-face with this truth.
Hi folks! My name is Lane Smith. I am a graduate counselor, working under the supervision of Isabel Kirk. Currently, I am finishing my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Marymount University. Many years ago, I earned a Bachelors in Music from Davidson College.
Before becoming a counselor, I worked in Marketing and Business Development for almost two decades. Though I loved creating insight-driven narratives to help customers fall in love with products, the field of Marketing changed, necessitating a rebrand my own. I began wondering aloud if my abiding love of philosophy and psychology, long dormant, might come alive once more in helping clients, more directly. I am delighted to report these musings have become reality.
Like many in our field, my passion for helping others was born in the muck of my own therapeutic journey. My own personal slurry involved undiagnosed ADHD, poor Attachment quality, and an RSD-informed Anxiety so intense that I feared to speak of it with a professional, lest I be committed to a higher level of care. With the remove of decades and considerable hindsight, I now see how ridiculous this last assertion was. Nevertheless, I will never forget how real it felt, back then. I spent decades hiding who I was for fear of being discovered as something truly vile and different. I was different, of course. ADHD and other neurodivergent populations do perceive reality differently than neurotypicals. But that doesn’t make us vile or inherently wrong. We are merely different; beautiful in a way all our own. I have felt the same about every client I have worked with thus far.
My therapeutic orientations:
In addition to the Narrative techniques mentioned above, my counseling approach is informed by Cognitive-Behavioral, Existential, and Person-Centered perspectives. I love beginning client work within an Existential framework to understand the kind of story we are telling. I then enjoy working within a person centered approach to glean salient plot points in the most empowering, respectful, and discursive way possible. I then use Cognitive-Behavioral techniques to separate and work upon what may seem real, but often isn’t, before returning to a Narrative framework to help clients re-write what seems real and authentic into powerful storylines that encompass their beauty and truth.
In terms of style, you will likely find me pretty silly. I don’t take myself very seriously, though I can when the situation calls for it. I love when clients are proactive about their story and actively correct me when I get something wrong. In my experience, we learn far more from our mistakes than perfect execution.
So, now that you know all that, what’s your story? I would love to know. Particularly, if you are contending with ADHD, Anxiety, or Depression. I also enjoy working with Familial and Vocational concerns. I work with individuals, couples, and families.
In my free time, I enjoy Fly Fishing, live music, existential absurdities, and freestyle walking.
Education, Credentials & Memberships
● Graduate Counseling Intern practicing under Isabel Kirk, LPC
● Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University.
● Student member of American Counseling Association