“The Me I want to Be" offers mental health therapy services

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Diane Baumgartner, a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist (Individual), opened her new business in Guttenberg on July 6. She will offer mental health therapy services via Telehealth until further notice. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

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The Me I want to Be, LLC, is located in the former Juanita’s Folly location at 3 Goethe Street, Guttenberg. Diane Baumgartner, a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist (Individual) opened her new business on July 6, 2020. She will be offering mental health therapy services via Telehealth until further notice. Eventually she plans to see clients in her office. 

Education/Training

Baumgartner received her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Social Work from Clarke University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work (Mental health emphasis) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She previously worked as a mental health therapist and substance abuse counselor in community mental health as well as volunteered as a mental health therapist in the surrounding communities. 

In addition to her college education, Baumgartner is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and is working towards her EMDR certification. EMDR is an evidence-based treatment found to be very effective when working with trauma as well as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, complicated grief, phobias, and PTSD (this is not a comprehensive list). She also utilizes several other techniques/therapies, including but not limited to: EMDR with Sandtray, Trauma Focused, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Mindfulness, Strength-Based, Eclectic Therapy, Compassion Focused, Attachment, and Motivational Interviewing. 

Connecting

Although education and ongoing training are necessary to be a therapist, there is another very important piece. While in graduate school, Baumgartner learned that approximately 70% of the success in therapy comes from having a good therapeutic relationship. She stated that “Being genuine and compassionate, while meeting clients where they are in their lives, are crucial components to being an effective therapist. This helps clients feel understood, valued, and connected.”

After meeting with a therapist, an individual may find that the relationship is not a good fit. In addition to The Me I want to Be, LLC, Guttenberg also has two LISWs located in Cornerstone Family Practice. This gives individuals a variety of therapists to choose from in order to find the one who best fits their needs and personality.

Services

Therapy at The Me I want to Be, LLC will be focused on helping individuals work through current and past traumas as well as learn new coping strategies. In addition to trauma work, Baumgartner will also focus on PTSD, codependency, high sensitivity, life transitions, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, attachment, and complicated grief, to name a few. She noted that individuals decide what they want to work on as their therapy goals. They also tell her if they are not comfortable addressing certain challenges. 

What is Trauma?

Trauma is often times thought to be related to combat, natural disasters or accidents, but it is so much more. There are many circumstances that may result in an individual experiencing trauma, such as violence; abuse (verbal, sexual, physical, or emotional); neglect (physical, emotional); medical injuries, illness, or procedures; traumatic grief; loss; witnessing domestic violence in the home; unhealthy childhood attachment; and preverbal experiences that affect the child (unwanted pregnancy, medical complications around birth, or any number of experiences prior to three years of age). 

Although trauma may result from a single incident or multiple exposures, it is related to how an individual’s brain encodes the event or series of events, not the event itself. When a person’s emotions overwhelm their ability to cope, their brain encodes the memory in sensory fragments (visual images, smells, sounds, tastes, or touch) rather than in cognitive memory. When memories are encoded as fragments, an individual may become triggered by an event, smell, sound, image, etc., and they re-experience pieces of the original trauma as if they were going through it again. This re-experiencing may lead to fear, anger, avoidance, jealousy, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, addiction or any number of responses throughout a person’s life. A child may experience chronic trauma through abuse or neglect, which over time may impact the child’s behavior, emotional development, and mental and physical health that will carry into adulthood if left untreated.

When people have experienced trauma, they may use unhealthy coping strategies to avoid feeling the difficult emotions. Some people may use alcohol or other drugs to numb their feelings, while others may try to cope by lashing out, harming themselves, shutting down, or avoiding people/situations, to name a few. 

Community Resources

Guttenberg is very blessed to have several resources available in the community, or referrals to those resources, to assist individuals struggling with a variety of needs. Please call the Family Resource Center at 563-252-3215 or visit their website at https://guttenberghospital.org/family-resource-center/ for a list of current resources.

Stephen Ministry is an additional resource for individuals in the Guttenberg area wanting to speak to a caring listener but do not feel as though they need to see a therapist. Several individuals of different faiths in the community are trained as Stephen Ministers and are willing to walk through this journey with you. For more information about Stephen Ministry, contact St. John’s Lutheran Church at 563-252-2355.  

Hours/Contact

The hours of operation for The Me I want to Be, LLC are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Baumgartner offers a free, 15-20 minute phone consultation to see if the services she offers will fit well with the client’s needs. She will offer referrals to other therapists if the needs are outside of her scope of practice.

If you are ready to start the journey to become a healthier version of yourself, please give The Me I Want to Be, LLC a call at 563-362-2379. 

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