My name is Laura Schenck and I am a PhD candidate in Counseling Psychology. I am committed to building meaningful therapeutic relationships with clients and helping them learn how to make better choices in their lives to increase fulfillment and achieve their goals. It is surprisingly easy to “get in our own way” in life. When bad things happen, many people deal with their pain by choosing suffering rather than choosing thoughts and behaviors that eliminate suffering. My goal is to provide clients with the tools and techniques of mindfulness, acceptance-based behavioral therapies, and choice theory, to empower them to recognize their own personal power to change their circumstances.
I believe that life is a combination of determinism and free will. There are undoubtedly events that happen in life that are painful, sudden, and unwanted. Our free will is involved with how we choose to respond to the inevitable pain of life (as well as the joy). I believe that we are all fully responsible for our behaviors, even though we often “didn’t ask for” many of the individual obstacles that we must overcome. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) tells us that while we didn’t ask for many of our problems, it is still up to us to solve them. By integrating principles of DBT, choice theory, and mindfulness into therapy and self-help resources for clients, I hope to allow people to become more “present” and aware of their personal power to choose alternative behaviors that lead to greater joy and meaning.
Like most people, I have had my own set of hurdles for which I never asked. I haven’t always responded well to the inevitable pain of life, which has led me to create a great deal of unnecessary suffering for myself. The more that I learn about mindfulness and choice theory, the more I recognize that it is up to me to mindfully respond to whatever life brings. No matter what the external situation is, I have the personal power and freedom to choose how I let it affect me… my attitude about the situation is entirely up to me. I don’t choose everything that happens to me, but I will always be able to choose my response. So can you.
I graduated from St. Edwards’ University in Austin, TX magna cum laude in 2007 and received a Faith and Charity in Action Scholarship for my active role in community service at For the Love of Christi and the Center for Child Protection. I attended the M.A. program in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College, graduating with a 3.84 GPA in the spring of 2010, and passing my Masters Comprehensive Exam “with distinction.” I worked as a counselor in the second year of my M.A. program at Fitchburg State University, where I completed a 600-hour internship with 240 direct client contact hours. I began a PhD program at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) in the fall of 2010 and have been actively seeing clients and taking coursework towards my PhD ever since. I am currently working on my dissertation and seeing clients at UNC’s Counseling Center, where I am engaged in an advanced practicum. I am the recipient of a recurring Graduate Dean’s Scholarship for an essay that I authored on the impact of the stigma towards people with mental illness. My anticipated graduation is in the spring of 2015.
Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested and involved in yoga, an excellent form of self-care. I enjoy Ashtanga Vinyasa and Bikram styles of yoga, and look forward to exploring more in the future. My yoga practice is a wonderful accompaniment to my valued goal of becoming increasingly present and mindful in daily life. In my experience, yoga serves not only as a form of recreation and self-care… it also facilitates the process of learning how to mindfully tolerate discomfort and consequently grow from its acceptance.