Description of Angela’s Counseling Approach
What is Mindfulness?
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Angela McLean grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and in 2008 returned with her family to the Raleigh area from Nashville, Tennessee. As a trained Marriage and Family Therapist, Angela operates from a holistic perspective and concerns herself with the overall, long-term well-being of clients and their families. By forming a strong partnership with clients that focuses on finding a solution that will work for each individual. Angela has seen success in the lives of people who came to her having experienced a wide range of problems. Her approach of combining marriage and family therapy and mindfulness approaches allows her to serve individuals, couples, and families effectively.
Angela has over 25 years of experience working in the mental health and social service fields, and has provided counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families in a variety of settings. Angela has provided individual and family therapy for adults, children, and adolescents in intensive in-home, residential, and outpatient settings. She also worked exclusively with adults struggling with substance abuse for two years and children with developmental disabilities for one year. Her private practice, in both Nashville and Raleigh, has focused in large part on individual and couples therapy for adults.
Education and Training
Angela received both her degrees from Trevecca Nazarene University which is located in Nashville, TN. She first completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work in 1999 and then received a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2005. While working towards her Master’s degree, Angela received extensive training in the use of the Multi-systemic Therapy treatment model. She also participated in extensive training in Family Systems models during her work to complete licensure requirements. Other additional trainings she has attended include those in treatment of addictions, anxiety, chronic pain, interpersonal neurobiology, and attachment theory.
Angela has extensive experience with mindfulness and meditation as it applies to psychotherapy. For over 12 years Angela has participated in formal training, personal study, and the experience of teaching clients. Additionally, Angela holds a certificate from the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. This course allowed her to train directly with the current leaders in the field of mindfulness and psychotherapy over a 9 month period.
Angela’s other primary focus for training is in Emotionally Focused Therapy. Angela has completed all levels of training for application of this model with couples and individuals and is currently in the final stages of gathering required documentation for formal certification. Angela’s training in this area was completed through the Carolina Center for EFT.
Angela and her husband have been married for over 20 years and have a daughter and two sons. Angela enjoys oil painting and crafts of all kinds whether creating them herself or seeing the work of others. She also enjoys yoga, hiking, and travel. Angela’s personal journey with mindfulness meditation began in 2006. She now maintains regular meditation practice and enjoys continued study in this area as well as learning from the process of teaching others.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction was originally developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. This approach is designed to enhance your body’s ability to heal itself and maintain the balance needed for overall health and well being. Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without the filters or lens of judgment. Simply put, mindfulness consists of cultivating awareness of the mind and body and living in the here and now. While historically rooted in Buddhist meditation traditions and also found in all the other major world religions, it has expanded beyond its spiritual roots and is used in psychology and prescribed by physicians for stress, pain, and a variety of illness.
Participants in mindfulness training programs increase their awareness of their own thoughts and feelings that occupy our minds as we rush through our days on autopilot. When approaching yourself as a scientist and attempting to objectively observe your own inner state – your thoughts, emotions, sensations, and mental processes – you are likely to be surprised at what you find. Many marvel at the amount of time they spend rehearsing their future or rehashing their past. When you begin to practice living moment by moment, you will start to sleep better, cope with stressful situations more effectively, and find more peace and enthusiasm for life.
Self compassion is practice often taught alongside mindfulness which was developed by Dr. Kristen Neff. It is the opposite of the self critical thoughts many people repeat to themselves and can be defined as “treating yourself like you would treat your very best friend.” Self critical thoughts and feelings are strongly associated with anxiety, depression, and other conditions that bring people to counseling. By learning the many practices of mindful self compassion, clients are able to face personal failures and difficult times. Without having to get rid of the pain of the experience, they can provide themselves with kind attention and connection rather than isolation. For more information go to selfcompassion.org.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a well known approach to couples and individual counseling which was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Sue Johnson. It is based on the science of adult attachment which views people as wired for intimate bonding with others.
The focus of couples counseling using EFT is to create a secure, healthy bond between partners. Sessions focus first on identifying and becoming aware of the current pattern of interaction that has blocked connection. Then couples experience and practice open and bond creating communication in the sessions. Over time the experiences in sessions of safe intimacy develops into a new pattern of secure bonding that naturally spills outside of sessions into the couples day to day interactions. Finally, couples learn to trust their new bond and find safety in deep intimacy with their partner.
The focus of EFT for individuals is reshape the clients patterns of engagement with significant others and with themselves. Clients process emotional experiences during sessions in a way that allows them to integrate traumatic experiences. They learn to encounter difficult emotions and experiences with others with openness and vulnerability. A new, stable sense of themselves and a confidence in interacting with others often develops naturally following these in session experiences.
For detailed information about EFT go to The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.