Welcome to TouchingTrees.
Learn about our experience and approach.
My practice and services are focused on helping individuals, couples, and families learn to manage stress from relationships. Some of the most stressful times, of course, are when a divorce or separation is going on, so that is often how I enter into someone's life. My involvement can include individual therapy, couples therapy, Discernment Counseling, decoupling counseling, and coaching.
My approach includes looking at the ways you are feeling "stuck" through emotional, physical, and financial attachments to a stressful relationship. From there, we work together to understand how you got to where you are, why you are motivated to change now, and how you can achieve your personal goals. Those goals may include goals related to parenting, to partnering, or to growing into a more authentic identity.
I use strategies from Internal Family Systems, systems theory, and structural theory, as well as values integration and vulnerability exploration. Sometimes the best vehicle for growth is a trusting relationship with a therapist, and I strive to provide that to every one of the people I work with.
Our first meeting or two is a great way for you to share as many thoughts and feelings as you want. The more I can learn from you, the better I can tailor your therapeutic experience to meet your needs. I'll be taking lots of notes during these sessions!
Depending on your needs, we will work together to figure out the patterns that are getting (or keeping) you stuck. We will also work together to create a plan to make the most of our time together. I want you to feel so much better after participating in therapy, and understanding and changing patterns and cycles is a great way to do that.
I believe that the client's needs determine the type of therapy we do together. Generally, I like to integrate any number of theories and strategies into my work with you. I'm always learning, too, so don't be surprised if I share with you some book or concept I just discovered if I think it would be a help to you.
Jenni's Experience & Focus
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Argosy University
Recipient of a Lilly Endowment Fellowship to Indiana University for Secondary Education
B.A. in English Composition, DePauw University
Jenni specializes in post-divorce issues related to emotional, physical, and financial attachment, as well as decoupling counseling. She is trained in Prepare/Enrich, Discernment Counseling, Mediation, and Parenting Consulting.
* Author of Outsmart Your High-Stress Divorce
* Presenter of Outsmart Your High-Conflict Relationship
* Author/Presenter of "Divorce, Everlasting" to Minnesota Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (MAMFT)
* Experience providing therapy to young adults with developmental disabilities, as well as their families
You may be thinking, "Hey Jenni -- does TouchingTrees take my insurance?"
There's a short answer to that question, but I'd like to start with what would probably be your quick second question: "Why not?"
"Why don't you take insurance?"
You know, until I became a mental health practitioner, I had no idea there was a unique relationship between mental health and the insurance process. We all assume that our medical and mental health information is confidential, right? And that's true, except for when we sign that little authorization form that allows our medical providers to communicate with our insurance company. Now, I'm totally okay letting my doctor tell my insurance company that I've got a need for antibiotics -- that way my appointment and my antibiotics will get paid for (or at least applied toward my deductible). Over time, I've become less okay with the idea of insurance companies having information about relationship issues.
"What's wrong with insurance companies to have information about my relationship issues?"
That, by itself, isn't necessarily the problem. The problem is that insurance companies require a diagnosis of a mental disorder in order to process a claim for treatment. If I have an infection, it gets diagnosed and I get treated. However, relationship issues aren't infections. They are specific issues related to how we communicate, trust, attach, decouple, stress each other out, and interact. In order to use insurance, you have to receive a diagnosis of a mental disorder. If you're coming in as a couple in crisis, only one of you gets a diagnosis, which can be a problem because...
"Because what if I'm a mess because my spouse is cheating and I show up anxious and depressed?"
Exactly. In that case, you'd be the one who gets the diagnosis. What I've seen happen are a few things that can be a particular bummer for the individual who gets a diagnosis. A) The couple splits up and the diagnosis is used against the partner who has it... and/or B) The couple splits up and the individual with the diagnosis -- particularly if it's a diagnosis of depression -- has a more difficult time securing life insurance later (sadly, this is a real thing)..., or C) the couple stays together, but one of them has the label of being less mentally secure than the other -- tilting the balance of power in the relationship.