"Laura Jean has the ability to make you feel instantly safe and the courage to challenge you to stretch through the hardest moments."
Male Workshop Participant
If you have a few moments, here's a bit about me and my practice:
I've been a therapist since 1988. I've been practicing Imago Relationship Therapy, in my personal life and in my work with clients, since 1991. In my journey to grow and develop as a person, a partner and a professional, Imago continually guides me as a core theory and foundational process from which I work and strive to live. I find Imago to be truly helpful and, when practiced, to be profoundly life changing, both for couples and for individuals.
I began my therapy career working with adolescents and their families in an inpatient chemical dependency program. I was very fortunate to have that experience! I practiced individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy; worked within a team of therapists, chemical dependency counselors and psychiatrists; and taught classes for parents on the subjects of family systems and chemical dependency and recovery. In addition to learning about addiction and codependency, I learned about family systems, and, I began the journey of more deeply learning about myself.
Since then, my specialty area of focus has been marriage and relationship therapy. I am strongly grounded in the perspective that marriage, by its very nature, offers a unique and deeply profound laboratory for healing and growth - both for the individual partners and the partnership itself. I believe the struggle and despair showing up in our intimate love relationships are the "nightmare" we encounter to "wake us up" to the deeper, more authentic and fulfilling parts of our own whole self ... our relationship conflicts have purposeful meaning and within them exist opportunities for our good!
My work, first and foremost, is to create safety in the therapeutic relationship with clients. I strive to be mindfully present, compassionate, respectful and authentic in our interactions. I believe, and research shows, it is the relationship that heals - when we feel safe and connected, we heal and grow.
I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, in 1984, from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and my Master of Arts Degree in Psychology, in 1988, from Houston Baptist University. I was an intensive care nurse before I became a therapist. I began working as a therapist, in 1988, and I've been in Private Practice since 1992.
I began using Imago in 1991, became a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist in1996, an Advanced Clinician in 2006, a Certified Couples Workshop Presenter in 2009 and a Certified Individuals Workshop Presenter in 2014. In addition to Imago, I am trained in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy - Completion of EFT Basic Externship. I also have training in PACT Couple Therapy - I am a Level II PACT Couple Therapist. PACT is the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy - in this approach we focus on helping couples create secure functioning partnerships. I find both PACT and EFT blend well with and compliment Imago to help create emotional safety, to enhance and deepen empathy and connection and to offer a more comprehensive couple therapy experience. I have been introduced to and am also Level 1 trained in Gottman Couple Therapy.
Two modalities I've trained in that I find very helpful and incorporate into my work are Interactive Guided Imagery and Voice Dialogue/The Psychology of The Selves. I also utilize study and skills in the areas of Interpersonal Neurobiology and Mindfulness Practice; in particular, I am excited about how these modalities validate and enhance couple therapy work.
A seasoned therapist of 30 plus years, I have gained knowledge and skills through years of experience and many continuing education hours and trainings in various adjunct areas, such as chemical dependency counseling, grief counseling, and Anger Resolution Therapy. While these and other trainings help ground me as a more resourceful and well rounded therapist, my primary focus for continuing education and advanced training is couple counseling and my specialty practice remains marriage and relationship therapy.
I know I am a better therapist today than I was 30 years ago, and I hope I am a better therapist today than I was two days ago. Perhaps of all the supervision and training I pursue, my best teachers are my clients and the therapeutic relationship, itself. When I stay open, as the therapist, I learn from my clients. I commit to you that, in my work, I do endeavor to collaborate, self-reflect and stretch into my own growth edge to be the most helpful therapist I can be for you. In our therapeutic relationship, I want to hear from you and receive your feedback.
I do this work because I care and I want to help. I am passionate about love and relationship. Connection matters. I absolutely believe in the transformative power of relationship - in particular, I believe in the transformative power of marriage, intimate committed love partnership. I do this work, as well, because I am on the journey, too. I have the incredible privilege of working with people in the most precious and sacred parts of their lives - their intimate love relationships. I am touched and inspired by them. And if I tell the truth, working as a therapist to help couples love - to help clients do the hard work of letting down their defenses; stepping into their fears and exploring the "more" of what they might find on the other side of their stuckness; grieving their pain; opening up to and sharing their deeper, more vulnerable, authentic selves; stretching out of old, familiar patterns and doing the new, different thing that will create healing, safety and connection; becoming more consciously self-aware and compassionately other-aware; of transforming and creating a more conscious, real love relationship - working as a therapist to help couples love is part of my process, becomes part of my own journey, helping me do the same.
I live in The Woodlands, Texas, with my Sweetheart, Tim. As my husband and life partner, he is my closest companion, most fervent and challenging teacher and my greatest gift on this journey of life and love. I am so grateful to tell you that I think he loves to dance almost as much as I! Dancing is "our thing" as a couple and I am eternally grateful for our health that we can do it, because dancing feeds my soul ... and dancing together with Tim feeds ours.
I wish you healing and hope, connection and growth, peace, joy and the love you desire.