Hello! I am the newest member of the NW Family Psychology team, and my name is Laural Casal. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Arts degree in Counseling from Colorado Christian University, and expect to graduate and pursue licensure as a LMHCA in Spring of 2023.
Counseling as an intern means that you as a client are getting mental health support from not only me but my two supervisors (one from my institution, as well as my site supervisor Dr. Nuri Kahn). I chose Colorado Christian University(CCU) so that I could pursue my master’s degree without relocating or commuting on a daily basis for my education. I live with my husband and two daughters in Kitsap County, and love living in the Pacific Northwest; as such I would hate to have to uproot my family for this opportunity, and CCU has a great program that meets my family and future client’s needs.
As therapists, we are impartial listeners and must avoid imposing or projecting our own belief systems on our clients and instead step into their worldview with them. While my education is coming from a Christian University, I am not being trained in Christian Counseling. The program is nationally accredited (CACREP) and also I chose this program because it was one of the few that would be able to help me develop my personal spiritual understanding so that I may more adeptly distinguish between my own spiritual orientation and that of my client. Imagine if you will, how we cannot step into someone else’s shoes until we notice the footwear we are currently wearing and remove it before trying on that new perspective’s ‘shoes. My education is helping me do this exact thing: identifying my personal worldview ‘shoes’, and learning how to set them aside so that I may prepare myself to step in your shoes with you in our sessions together.
I am passionate about destigmatizing the pursuit of mental health treatment, connecting people with resources they were unaware of for gaining stability in their life, normalizing neurodiversity (ADHD holds a special place in my heart), and the pursuit of mental health support for new parents (yes, women AND men) who are struggling with mental illness in the first few years of their child’s life. I operate from a Person-Centered approach, believing that my clients are the experts on their life and they are in control of how the counseling relationship progresses. Once we have established an understanding of each other, and you have set goals, I like to offer tools and ‘interventions’ from other theories, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for behavior changes, or rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) for harmful thinking patterns. These tools are used within a wellness model; I see you as a whole person who lives on an ever-changing spectrum of health and wellness. I do not see counseling as a ‘cure’ for unhappy feelings/cognitions, but a space where you are safe to explore how you manage those emotions/feelings/triggers/habits as life throws you curveballs.
I see you as being the only one who can say if something is working or not working. You are in control of what happens in our time together and I believe you have the capacity to make lasting changes in your life towards whatever goals of health and wellness you may have. Many of you reading this may feel like this season of your life feels out of control or beyond your capacity. Let me come alongside you and help you find what stability might feel like, and help you find a way towards that. I see it as my job to set an atmosphere of comfort and potential. You are valued and needed in our community, if you struggle to believe this, let me help you find that belief again. I am here, just waiting to support you and hear you. You are a unique person with your own story and opinion. I can’t wait to get to know you and witness your growth, as our work together prepares you for a future where you rely on my services less and less.