22 Oct

Is this counselor a good fit? Featuring Stephanie Ratner, LCSW

Tell me a little bit about yourself:

I’m a Colorado transplant who relocated years ago from Southern California. I love being physically active, and as a former longtime crossfitter, I now spend a lot of my time doing triathlon training and keeping my dog in shape as much as possible. He loves to go for walks or runs, play fetch, swim, and do agility courses. I like to read a good book, cook healthy food, venture out to new or my favorite restaurants, travel, and explore the mountains- hiking, snowshoeing, and camping. I’m committed to serving at my church and investing in relationships that breathe life into me. I’m known for being intentional, committed, authentic, responsible, disciplined, organized, and witty.

How long have you lived in Colorado?

My official “Den-ver-sary” is Thanksgiving weekend. This year will hallmark my eighth year living in Colorado. God called me to follow Him to start my career in the mental health field shortly thereafter graduating from USC’s School of Social Work.

What do you like to do on the weekends?

I love being physically active (i.e., alone, with my dog, or friends), spending time with my friends, cooking, reading, watching my favorite television shows, adventuring near or far, resting, and connecting with God. Overall, the weekends give me an opportunity to reset, get organized, caught up, and prepare for the next week ahead. I’m very organized and responsible with the demands of life so it gives me joy to accomplish my to do list on a daily and weekly basis.

What clients are you best suited to help?

My heart is drawn to two particular age groups: teens and millennials (e.g., in case you’re wondering if that’s you, those born from 1981 to 1996).

My most recent work has been with middle to high school aged students and their families at a local school campus. I love being able to connect one-on-one and see the growth that occurs during their education. I’m proud of designing and co-facilitating several groups to meet the interests and needs of the student population.

How do you get teens involved in therapy sessions?

I’ve learned from experience that being authentic is the best and only way to develop trust with our current generation of teens. I’m 100% myself with them in therapy sessions. Over the years, the feedback that I regularly get from my teen clients is that I’m real and easy to talk with. I make it very clear from the beginning that my teens are the ones in charge of their treatment. They can decide whether to keep attending, participating, and working on themselves. As a result, they feel empowered, respected, and in control of something that has the possibility of transforming their lives for years to come.

For many of my clients, their first experience with therapy is with me, which is a great honor and privilege that I don’t take lightly. I want it to be a safe, good, and life giving therapeutic relationship where they can be themselves without fear of judgment. I’m known for checking in regularly to ensure that I’m hearing, understanding, and supporting them in the ways that meets their needs.

What can a client expect in their first session with you?

Before the first session, you’ll sign a number of consent forms either at home or in our office prior to your scheduled appointment. We’ll discuss them, review the limits of confidentiality, and explore any questions you have about therapy. I’ll spend the remaining time getting to know you by asking a number of questions (e.g., main concerns, medical, psychiatric, family, social, education, and employment history to name a few), including most importantly, the reasons that bring you in to see me. I know that most of us hate when others are quick to judge, stereotype, or claim to have us all figured out. The best way for me to understand who you are is by trying to put a number of the puzzle pieces that make up your life together during this first visit. The sessions thereafter we can further building that rapport, trust, and exploring what’s going on in your life.

Do you offer any specialized types of therapy?

Yes, my experience includes treating those battling with depression, anger, suicide risk, anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, relationship struggles, and life transitions.

What drew you to become a counselor?

Over a decade ago, God called me to walk alongside those feeling broken-hearted, marginalized by society, and ultimately, left without a voice to advocate for themselves. He’s used my gifts, passions, and skills to redeem, restore, and reclaim what’s been lost by those who have suffered greatly.

What is your favorite part of being a counselor?

I love being able to witness my clients journey of transformation from sorrow to joy, fear to confidence, and brokenness to redemption.

How do you use your faith to guide your patients?

My faith in Jesus has radically transformed my life, including the person that I am today and in the process of becoming in the future. It gives me the heart and mind of God to love my clients well; and the strength to continue working in this profession. I’m praying for them before we first meet and in between sessions, too. I’m willing to incorporate their faith into treatment as much or little as they like or feel comfortable with. I love prayer and will pray for them if they ask during session.

Stephanie Ratner is accepting new clients, especially teens and young women.  She offers evening and weekend hours to her clients to work with school and work schedules.

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