Keep experiencing - you deserve to grow.
Marla Berger, LMHC, ATR, RPT-S, EMDR Trained, Eagala Advanced Certified, Natural Lifemanship Intensive Trained, PATH Int'l Certified TRI (she/her)
My story begins when I was 16 and met my friend, John. What struck me at the time was his openness in sharing about his mental health issues. He struggled with Bi-Polar Disorder, which made making good choices difficult for him. He would frequently find himself in legal trouble during his manic phases. We forged a quick bond around our love of art and expression. He had reserves of bravery that left me in awe. So it was particularly devastating when I received a phone call from his friend informing me that he had completed suicide. I was in shock. We were only 16.
John showed me the value of telling the truth, even when it can feel painful. So I shared with friends and family about his life and death. I quickly found that people were confused and upset when I would share openly about death, suicide and mental health issues. While that could have stopped me in my tracks, I kept going despite the negative feedback.
About six months after his death, someone mentioned the profession of Art Therapy. It was instantaneous - I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I immediately sought out information on becoming a Registered Art Therapist. I had found my vocation.
John's death was the first step on my journey. He had taught me so much in the time I knew him and he continues to challenge me to uphold those aspects of himself that I found most dear - honesty, bravery and self-expression through experiences.
As you may have noticed throughout this website, I share some personal stories. In many ways I am not your typical therapist - you'll never hear me ask "And how did that feel?" for one! I believe in the power of storytelling to help illustrate a concept and being open to sharing that even therapists like me struggle! I also believe that I need to be in the thick of things alongside my clients - not sitting back on a couch nodding. Our time together is a microcosm for relationships in your life. Would you rather a relationship with someone willing to do hard things with you or someone who sits back while you struggle and fail? You can see how my past influenced my desire to be a therapist, however my passions for art, play and horses have enabled me to provide lasting growth and healing over the years.
By engaging in Experiential Therapies, we can see how old patterns, behaviors and reactions can be changed and improved with instant feedback in real time.
I specialize in helping clients with grief & loss, depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse, adoption issues and gifted but struggling individuals.
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Art Therapist, Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor, EMDR Trained, PATH Int'l Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Qualified Supervisor, Natural Lifemanship Intensive Trained and an Eagala Advanced Certified Professional. I am deeply honored to have received the Viola Brody FAPT Outstanding Play Therapist Award in 2023.
Contact Marla to schedule your free, 15 minute meet and greet