Laken Vargo, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
I believe psychological distress arises from our own patterns of thoughts and behaviors. The patterns helped us in the past but now interfere with us living a valued life. In my work with clients, I provide a safe and professional environment for us to discuss the origins of these unhelpful thought and behavior patterns so that we can live a more intentional and valued life in the present moment and in the future. I consider each client, and each session together as unique and we will work together to identify specific, personal, and meaningful goals for our work together. Ultimately, I think the most powerful agent of change in your life is yourself and we will work together to increase your confidence in making positive changes for yourself in your life. I believe that one never stops learning, and I seek continued education professionally, interpersonally with my colleagues, and most importantly, from you and the other clients I serve. I look forward to building a collaborative professional relationship with you, one where we learn from each other and one that is built on mutual trust and respect. Thank you for having the courage to seek help to improve yourself and your life, and thank you for taking the time to read my statement.
I primarily provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) aimed at helping people overcome distress related to symptoms of anxiety and depression. I also incorporate themes from Existential Psychology to help people identify a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives, ultimately guiding people to live congruent with their values. Additional treatment focuses that typically arise in these therapies involve: Communication Skills, Coping Skills, Reducing Substance Use, Family Systems, Safety Planning, Life Transitions, Improving Self-Esteem, and Organizational and Time Management Skills.
Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology, from Western Washington University
Master of Science (MS), Clinical Mental Health Counseling, from Eastern Washington University
During my undergraduate education I conducted research aimed at reducing campus suicide. During my graduate education I completed an 18-month clinical practicum and internship, working with adolescents at a residential treatment center in Spokane, WA. There I helped them heal from past negative experiences, while also helping them look into their future and identify goals for themselves. I went on to pass the National Counselor Exam and present a portfolio of my work to my faculty at Eastern Washington University.
After my graduate education, I returned to my home community and provided individual counseling for over two years at a local community mental health agency. When my supervisor was unavailable, I served as an interim supervisor; leading my peers make sound clinical decisions. While at the same agency, I also served as an on-call mental health professional at their crisis triage facility. At that facility I helped people stabilize from short- and long-term stressors, helped them establish long term medical and mental health care, and helped them make personal safety plans to empower them to persevere through their stressors. Lastly, in an effort to help doctors and patients better understand mental health, and its relationship to physical health; I provided brief mental health evaluations at a local medical office. Often these patients had never sought mental health treatment before and I had the honor of introducing them to various concepts and internal processes.
Throughout all of these experiences, I worked with individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, and worked alongside a multidisciplinary treatment team, which helped me understand the presenting problems of the individuals I served from multiple perspectives and backgrounds.