Why do people struggle with their mental and emotional health, and what helps them heal?
Answers to these questions are not always evident and often differ from person-to-person. Growing up, many of us received inadequate nurturing and instruction about navigating through life. Without these necessary supports, individuals can develop unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that interfere with their functioning and well-being. Problems may manifest overtly (e.g., substance abuse, self-injury, relationship conflict) or in more subtle ways (e.g., perfectionism, workaholism, rigidity, suppressed emotions).
As your counselor, I am here to help you identify roadblocks to living a fulfilled, connected life and develop adaptive coping responses to challenging situations. Working as a psychology researcher and psychotherapist, I embrace a multi-modal perspective of mental health that recognizes the complex biopsychosocial forces contributing to psychological distress. Counseling allows for in-depth exploration and processing of these factors in a safe and supportive setting tailored to your individual needs. I believe strongly in the power of the therapeutic relationship to heal and transform. My approach is highly collaborative and honors the inherent strengths and unique capacities each client brings to treatment.
I grew up in Madison, WI and received my B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2018, I completed my M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C., and I am currently enrolled in Northwestern University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling track. Since 2014, I have trained and worked extensively with the global Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT) community on clinical and research projects (for more about RO-DBT, see https://www.radicallyopen.net/about-ro-dbt/). I also have experience with traditional Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), traditional Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and trauma-informed approaches. My training in yoga and mindfulness over the past 15 years also informs my holistic perspective of the mind-body connection and its role in counseling to integrate and heal. I have worked with individuals in inpatient, outpatient, and community mental health settings and have been instrumental in creating and leading student groups for several professional organizations. Advocating for underrepresented and stigmatized groups is an important aspect of my identity as a mental health provider.
Sara B. Austin, MA
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Intern, Northwestern University
Master of Arts (Clinical Psychology), Simon Fraser University, 2018
Level 3/Intensively Trained RO DBT Practitioner
Sara is our Advanced Counseling Intern.
She sees clients with select Insurances and on a Sliding Scale basis.