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Jennifer Gauerke

Mental Health Therapist
LaJendi Counseling, LLC

Every person has the potential for growth and healing. My role as a therapist is to help you remove barriers that prevent growth while nurturing your natural healing instinct, in a non-judgmental space. You are unique, so are your challenges, relationships and goals. While I utilize best practices to ensure success in our work together, I also take you into consideration; supporting your individual life goals, values, and choices. Your personal autonomy will be valued and respected.

Healing from past wounds and trauma is often part of the work I do with clients. With the knowledge and skills I possess, clients are enabled to move out of trauma responses into post traumatic growth. These trauma responses show up in multiple ways and many do not realize they are a result of trauma – feeling overwhelmed by emotions, difficulty sleeping (including nightmares), avoiding conflict, overthinking situations, feeling the urge to flee or fight, use of substances to cope. Healing work begins as I provide information about what trauma is, how affects the brain, how it impacts present emotions and behavior, and the damage it does to self. With this knowledge, clients are empowered by the wisdom of their emotions, understanding themselves in a new way which enables their natural mind body connection to heal. (Without these interventions, many remain stuck in fear, frustration, and loneliness.) The next phase of healing is changing harmful behaviors and ways of thinking, opening the door to post traumatic growth. This could show up as improved and satisfying relationships, greater confidence, more creativity, and moving with more ease through daily life. I received a Mental Health Counseling degree from Drake University, and am fully licensed in the state of Iowa (LMHC) to provide therapy. As a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) I provide support for co-occurring disorders (mental health and addiction). After completing hundreds of hours of group facilitation and education, I achieved the Certified Group Psychotherapist designation by the American Group Psychotherapy Association.

As a Certified Alcohol and Drug Therapist (CADC), I have vast experience in supporting clients in recovery from multiple addictions and co-occurring disorders (mental health and addiction related diagnoses). My goal is to support, encourage, and motivate people engaged in the fight to be free of addiction and the shame which perpetuates it. Providing support through my private practice, I am an effective support for those with mild substance use disorders, or those interested in maintaining their recovery. I also provide much needed support and education to those with loved ones trapped in the painful disease of addiction. Participation in group therapy can aid the healing process. As a Certified Group Psychotherapist (CGP), I facilitate groups that promote connection and growth. Life satisfaction and happiness often greatly increase when we have a sense of belonging and enjoy healthy relationships. Groups provide a place for people to grow together, while learning about themselves and improvingrelationship skills. I enjoy being the mother to four and step mother to two, raising a family with my husband. Our blended family means I understand the complexities of divorce and blending families after remarriage. Our family also includes a handsome grey bunny named Gandalf and a large furry dog named Maia.

As a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Iowa, I supported clients in both the residential and outpatient programs at House of Mercy in Des Moines from 2015 to 2018. This included facilitating various psychoeducational groups and providing individual counseling, utilizing Solution Focused and Motivational Interviewing techniques. While in private practice at Vida Psychotherapy, I grew as an individual and group therapist, offering groups for recovery from addiction and to support clinicians, which are ongoing. Moving to Full Heart Family Therapy in September 2020 has enabled me to continuing growing as a clinician and finding balance in life. I am constantly learning and have grown from additional trainings in the following areas: ethics, addiction, trauma, disordered eating, grief and loss, telehealth, process groups, mentalization, and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

As I move forward with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained, I actively seek out and participate in activities to improve the community, including presenting about trauma and addiction to professionals at the state andregional level.