PIONEER. + HUMAN BEING.
MEd. EdS. LLMSW.
Life is hard enough. Don't do it alone. You're exhausted. You're tired of faking it. You just need space. You're feeling stuck. And maybe a little unsure about beginning therapy. I get it. I’ve been there. We all have shit to figure out. I want you to be unapologetic. Yell, scream, cry, swear, vent, share your deepest secrets, whatever – I will ALWAYS accept you and care about you. I strongly believe there is often no more profound experience than being heard, understood, and accepted. So I will listen and accept who YOU authentically are – always. Let's talk and work through the hard stuff together.
I'm Lauren – founder and CEO of River Oaks Psychology, psychotherapist, and professional grounded in theories of empowerment and resiliency. But more importantly, I'm a human – a daughter, sister, friend, wheelchair-user, advocate, lifelong learner, and soul-searching woman on a mission to make the world a kinder, more wholesome place.
I became a therapist and built this company because I never want ANYONE to ever feel alone. We all need to feel heard and authentically understood. That’s why I work so hard to create safe environments for people to genuinely be themselves and feel like they belong.
I work with all genders and backgrounds. I am especially passionate about working with teens and young adults with stress, anxiety, or depression, college students, perfectionists, people-pleasers, high-achievers, families affected by disabilities or medical conditions, those with minority identities facing stereotypes or systemic oppression (including members of the LGBTQIA+ community), and individuals concerned with confidence, self-esteem, attachment, boundaries, unmet emotional needs, vulnerability, acceptance, empowerment, or life transitions.
Diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age 2 and using a wheelchair since age 5, I grew up with severe physical impairments. I can barely move my muscles, but I never thought I was that different from anyone else. I adapted my body in such profound ways that flexible thinking, problem-solving, and resourcefulness became second nature to me. I ignored stereotypes and decided to blaze trails instead. Sitting on the sidelines was never an option for me.
But as I threw myself into the world, I quickly learned about social inequalities and judgment that make life harder for people who are different or who otherwise might need a little extra help. It became my mission to recognize those who were not living their most empowered lives – including those facing minority oppression, people who feel chronically misunderstood, anyone who has ever minimized their authenticity for the sake of fitting in, those with broken relationships, unresolved trauma, unachieved dreams, and those who generally feel stuck. I became fascinated with how people of all backgrounds and identities are able to cope in healthy ways when faced with challenges. As a psychotherapist, I strive to help people unlock their potential by examining intimate relationships with themselves and with the world around them. No matter what your barriers to self-fulfillment are, I want to work with you and wholeheartedly honor whatever pain you are facing. There is nothing ever too big or too small to talk about in therapy.
I approach psychotherapy with the understanding that no single theory or technique can explain our complicated histories, identities, or abilities. My work tends to be very person-centered, as I closely hold the values of empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard for others. I consider effective therapy to be possible when the relationship between patient and therapist is team-oriented. Recognizing individuals as the experts on their own lives, I desire strong therapeutic alliances with people and view therapy as a partnership in which we work together to determine the direction and content of the therapeutic process.
In my work, I listen to and organize the narratives and presenting problems of my patients. This allows me to attend to particular themes and issues, which in turn lead me to identify particular etiological pathways and consider potential treatment goals and desired outcomes that frame the work we engage in. I value the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques and trust in the importance of challenging and changing unhelpful thinking patterns, improving maladaptive behaviors, and developing effective coping strategies. I also draw from dialectical behavioral therapy, specifically mindfulness and skills for emotional regulation. By incorporating different therapeutic techniques, my goal is to collaboratively create tailored treatment plans that can be successfully integrated into the daily lives of my patients.
Lauren provides psychoeducation to organizations, businesses, nonprofits, schools, boards, and other groups through virtual webinars that address a wide variety of subject areas. Lauren works closely with groups to identify speaking agendas that specifically meet the needs of the given audience. Topics may focus on stress management, coping skills, psychological resiliency, personal growth, healthy relationships, trauma, boundaries, managing anxiety and depression, shame, identity, empowerment, goal-setting, grief, vulnerability, self-esteem, and related subjects.
Given Lauren's unique expertise on the intersection of mental health and disability, she also provides tailored presentations to audiences seeking content relating to the psychology of disability, chronic illness, or medical conditions. Lauren has pioneered a truly extraordinary life from the depths of her own adversity and passionately speaks on social inclusion, ableism, stereotypes, disability strengths, self-advocacy, accessibility, accepting limitations, and overcoming barriers.
For many people, a support group may fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for belonging in one’s community. Lauren partners with organizations to facilitate support groups via virtual platforms. Many of the same virtual speaking subjects listed above – including general mental health subjects such as managing anxiety, depression, healthy relationships, and coping skills, along with specific subjects tailored for those affected by disabilities – are embedded into Lauren's support groups as she teaches participants how to enhance their mental health and wellness. These groups provide opportunities for people to share personal experiences, emotional reactions, and stories of empowerment. As a psychotherapist, social worker, and individual living with Muscular Dystrophy, Lauren blends her unique perspective into group dynamics but ultimately strives to uplift the voices of each group member.