Licensed Social Worker
I Have Experience With Therapy From Both Sides
I’ve always known I wanted to be in some sort of helping profession working with people from underrepresented communities. After considering going into either legal advocacy or social work, I realized my talents were more in line with helping people navigate their mental health struggles
I think I ultimately chose to become a therapist because I know what it’s like to sit on the opposite side of the table. You see, when I was young, my family had experiences sitting with a therapist. I still remember the fear and uncertainty I felt walking into that office. Not only was the practice not particularly welcoming, but as a child, I didn’t feel like I had a voice in the room. Since going into practice for myself, creating a warm and welcoming environment for my clients has been my top priority.
Empowerment Is A Guiding Principle Of Trauma-Informed Therapy
As a therapist specializing in trauma-focused care, I like to emphasize the importance of empowerment. Not only is my goal to help people in all stages of life process past traumatic experiences so they can move forward, but to ensure that they feel in control throughout their therapeutic journey. Building a foundation of trust with my clients helps us create a safe environment where vulnerabilities can be shared and healing can happen.
When people experience trauma, they often feel like their choices have been taken away from them. Therapy allows them to get their power back. Using a strength-based approach, I help clients to identify what they are good at and cultivate the talents and abilities they innately possess. Throughout our sessions together, I remind clients that they are in the driver’s seat. Therapy is their time to do what they want, allowing them to cultivate new habits where they have the agency to make different choices.
My specialties include individual, couples, and family therapy. Oftentimes, unresolved trauma is linked to anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance abuse, self-esteem issues, and co-dependency. I primarily work with adults dealing with unresolved trauma from childhood as well as young adults and teens who are navigating challenging life transitions.
The goal we usually set out for therapy is to build up a higher distress tolerance to whatever may trigger problematic symptoms. Developing more coping skills—and understanding when to use them—helps clients establish a stable baseline where the offshoot symptoms of trauma no longer hijack their daily routine.
Once symptoms can be managed and minimized, it’s easier to explore the root trauma that underlies what’s happening on the surface. Having had my own battles with trauma and anxiety, I offer clients a safe space to discuss the dark places our minds can take us. For example, clients may be conditioned to respond to events assuming things will go wrong. In therapy, we can ponder the question, “But what if things go right?”
In addition to a strength-based approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a foundational therapy I am well-versed in. I also draw from elements of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to help build up distress tolerance and incorporate mindfulness —such as guided visualizations—which help clients soothe themselves after they’ve explored some heavier emotions. In addition, I utilize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which helps clients stay focused on the present moment and teaches acceptance of thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Learning How To Welcome The Bad With The Good
I have learned that part of the human experience means feeling all of the emotions, whether they’re good or bad. I encourage my clients to accept struggles when they come into their life. It’s how we can achieve a well-rounded outlook that fosters self-growth and resiliency.
Rather than trying to push away uncomfortable emotions without examining why they are here and what purpose they may serve, we welcome them into the therapy room. Sitting with these emotions helps us keep perspective and realize that feelings aren’t always facts.
I incorporate a lot of humor into my sessions. While we can acknowledge some moments are heavier on the heart, it doesn’t mean that the session cannot be left on an optimistic or humorous note. By being relatable and opening up about my own struggles, I aim to establish a strong connection with everyone I work with.
A Little More About Me
I enjoy social justice work and advocating for disenfranchised communities. Although I wholeheartedly welcome everyone to my practice, I find that I particularly relate to working with POC and other minority groups, as well as the LGBTQ+ population. As someone who never shies away from speaking out against social injustice, this clientele resonates with me dearly.
I love pets: I have three chihuahuas and a turtle. I have been on a holistic health journey and found a unique balance that works for me.
Kat Moreno is a Licensed Social Worker based in Deerfield, Illinois. After receiving a bachelor’s degree of Arts in Sociology and Criminology from Dominican University in River Forest in 2021, Kat went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Applied Social Sciences in Social Work from Dominican University in River Forest in 2022. She gained extensive experience doing individual psychotherapy at a community mental health agency.
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