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Rachel Wills, LPC

Trauma Informed Therapist

Welcome! I have a true passion for working with people ages 15 and up. I’m a trauma informed therapist who specializes in working with individuals with ADHD and co-occurring challenges like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem (especially involving career progression), and substance use disorders. Life transitions, conflict resolution, mindfulness, stress management and communication are all part of my work. I can also help with childhood and family issues, grief, mood disorders, trauma, and women’s issues.

Life presents us with a variety of obstacles and we are constantly experiencing change. It is not uncommon to find ourselves feeling anxious, depressed, confused, and/or stressed. Even grief is part of daily life.

However, sometimes based on our histories and if life hits hard, we might need some extra help. Having another person and a safe environment to process life sometimes is all we need to move forward. Other times, we might need specific interventions. There are techniques that can help our brains rewire if they are stuck, and our bodies release any traumatic experiences that aren’t letting it be its best.

I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor with a primary focus on 3 areas:

1) ADHD counseling (working with adults with ADHD).

2) Career Counseling (assisting others to redefine their idea of success and work-life balance).

3) Substance Abuse (helping those who currently struggle to stay away from alcohol and drugs, are sober-curious, or are engaged in long-term recovery).

ADHD Counseling:

As an individual in long-term recovery who has wrestled my whole life with ADHD, I understand how easy it is to beat yourself up for things that are largely out of your control.

I provide ADHD assessment using a combination of screeners, in-depth interviews, and full review of school and career life. I work with individuals who are concerned that they might have ADHD or already have a formal diagnosis. My passion is for helping individuals to recognize that individuals with ADHD aren’t deficient and that they can sustain attention and they can succeed.

How can I tell if I have ADHD?

ADHD presents with both, inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Examples of inattention include:

  • Problems with focus and concentration
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Trouble completing tasks
  • Poor organizational skills
  • Avoiding tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Losing important items
  • Forgetfulness

Examples of hyperactive/impulsive symptoms include fidgeting or squirming while seated, restlessness, interrupting, and excessive talking.

Teens and adults with ADHD may exhibit risky behaviors, financial troubles, problems maintaining employment, and relationship struggles.

I’ll listen to you and work with you to help you feel more confident and rooted. I truly believe that there are no bad dogs – just bad behaviors. What does this mean? It means that you are not inherently bad, flawed, or unlovable. I’ll help you identify traits and behavior patterns that no longer work for you. I’ll work with you to help you achieve measurable progress. 

There are many successful therapeutic approaches for helping someone with ADHD. Evidenced-based treatment for ADHD draws primarily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Somatic interventions. Besides, I draw from theories such as Psychodynamic, Family Systems, and Humanism to process deeper issues.

Career Counseling:

Our careers and our sense of self are usually tightly linked, yet we don’t always recognize this tie. I integrate my formal training in mental health and vocational counseling to assist individuals in redefining their concept of self and success.

Managing your career is not a one-time decision, but a series of decisions you make over a lifetime. Obtaining information about your personality type, interests and values allows you to make appropriate decisions. Also, counseling offers a step further than coaching. Career counseling takes you to deeper level of awareness and processing. I will help you understand the unconscious parts of your mind that sometimes are in conflict with each other. This tends to result in paralysis analysis or continuous dissatisfaction with whatever decisions you make.

Choosing a career pathway can be a daunting experience. Many individuals feel pressure to live up to familial or cultural expectations, or are influenced by the media and friends. Usually, career decisions are made early in life, when we might still not have a developed sense of self. Therefore, you might feel stuck and confused with the “right decision to make.” 

Furthermore, deciding to change an existing or long-term career can be even more frightening and overwhelming. Because of the possible losses and price a change of career might have, people get stuck.

As a career counselor, I understand these pressures and frustrations and offer you tools to make informed decisions. This can involve yourself, your environment and your particular life stage and situation.

In career counseling, my areas of specialization are Anxiety, Job Stress, Burnout, ADHD, Workplace Conflicts and Communication, Upward Career Mobility, Career Counseling, Performance and Productivity, and Career and Life Satisfaction.

Substance Abuse Therapy:

My interest in trauma lead me to my interest in substance abuse treatment. Considering that there is a high co-occurrence between substance use and trauma, my approach is to treat both to provide the highest level of care to my clients. Sometimes, it can be obvious trauma. Other times, can be ordinary trauma, which is harder to identify because it happens in the best families. Look for complex PSTD. However, if the symptoms are there I will help you identify the causes and heal from within. The addiction is just the symptom of something deeper that you can’t control because you might not know it.

Substances are mainly mood regulators. Some people use to calm down, some people use to feel something. Substances abuse and alcohol can ruin families, jobs and lives. However, for many people, it might not be at that level. They might still be in control. You might be drinking a bit too much or get in trouble sometimes, but not be in need of rehab centers. We recognize that drug/alcohol use ranges. Individuals who struggle with substances are not necessarily “alcoholics” or “addicts.” This is the area where I can help you with, from an outpatient therapy setting. If you think you might have a problem, it is better to take a look at it before things get bad. If thing are not bad, but you just want to be healthier and learn better coping mechanisms to deal with life.

With several years of experience working in the area of behavioral health and addiction, I bring a comprehensive understanding of the multiple components of diagnosis and treatment. Overcoming addictions is not a matter of willpower at all. It is treating the symptoms while addressing and healing the underlying causes of it.

My Background and Counseling Approach:

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in VA and Washington, DC. I hold a Master’s Degree from University of the District of Columbia in Rehabilitation/Vocational Counseling. In my previous life, I was a Montessori Teacher.

My style is to operate from a strengths based and trauma informed framework. I am an integrative therapist who utilizes a warm, accepting and empathetic approach. I have a holistic integrative approach that incorporates Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. I teach concrete skills building that will assist you to better manage your emotions, stay in the moment,  and respond in time versus react “right now!” I combine DBT, CBT, and IFS techniques in my work.  I understand the specific goals for each individual may be different. At the same time, my hope is that my work will foster an opportunity for growth, integration and wholeness for all of them.

As you start therapy – remember, you’re doing this for you and you’re worth it!