Merrick Laughridge Steffes
Throughout my life, I have been captivated by the importance of relationships and how they shape our lives. This fascination was evident in my childhood and was strengthened as a young adult through various cross-cultural journeys providing humanitarian relief. My work allowed me to gain a deep understanding of our unique human experiences as I joined others in their struggles, helping them achieve a renewed sense of their strength and resilience. More recently, I spent four years in Athens, GA, mentoring college students in individual and group settings, developing curriculum, and working alongside my husband in ministry, which fostered my empathic, encouraging, and empowering approach. My family and marriage have shaped my passion for couple and family therapy. All my experiences, including my own healing, have carved out a deep respect for others and a hunger to make restoration the highlight of their life stories. I have learned that though the work is not always easy, it is worth it.
My Education And Approach
I hold two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia in Communication Studies and Religion. These degrees trained me to understand the inner workings of communication and the integral role belief systems play in our lives. Currently, I am pursuing my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Liberty University. My clinical interests include ADHD, anxiety, depression, couples, families, interpersonal issues, self-esteem issues, OCD, and trauma. I am currently under the supervision and direction of Christie Poole, where my clinical focus is treating individuals and couples with Emotionally Focused Therapy.
The Role Of Faith In My Practice
My practice is rooted in my beliefs as a Christian and grounded in the love I have experienced in my faith. My educational experiences include both secular and Christian settings. Throughout my academic career, I have seen the love of God for His creation as preeminent. I have worked with people facing spiritual issues and understand how scary, confusing, and anxiety-inducing that can be. Therefore, I respect my clients’ beliefs and values, and I operate from a place of love – not imposing my values but instead seeking to understand those of my clients.
Who I Help
My marriage has taught me that each union has unique challenges, requiring bravery and empathy to maintain a close connection. Similarly, experiences in my own relationships have convinced me that families are too important and too powerful to remain stuck in patterns that aren’t working anymore. That is why I am excited to help families and couples break the cycles that keep them stuck in disconnection and pain and help them create stronger bonds that bring closeness and emotional intimacy. I have worked with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, interpersonal issues, and trauma. My time in ministry created a unique place in my heart for young adults and adolescents. Understanding the challenges and opportunities for these two age groups guides my work in navigating this life stage through issues of anxiety, depression, and personal development, among others.
Through my own experience in counseling, I know that taking the first step in healing can be intimidating. But I want you to know that pursuing freedom from your struggles is worth it, and I will journey with you. Feel free to call me at 678.631.7639 to schedule an initial consultation.