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Our Featured Therapist

Grace Schuler Spencer, M.A., LPC, NCC

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What would you consider your main specialty?

There are two areas I find especially fulfilling in my work as a therapist. First, I enjoy working with emerging adults, especially in this unique time when so many emerging adults are a part of the millennial generation. The challenges of development during a time of exceptional socio-political and cultural change are nuanced and complex, making it an especially rich area for growth in therapy. Second, I enjoy working with women’s issues, particularly as it pertains to issues such as identity development and gender equality.

 

 

Why did you chose that specialty?

I choose to work with members of the emerging adult population because I sincerely respect the complexity of self-growth and self-development through this phase of human development. I find that emerging adults are living in an in-between place where the journey of self-discovery is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. Supporting emerging adults in the exploration and identification of their values is especially fulfilling for me. Helping them reach their own “ah ha!” moments is one of the most rewarding parts of this work.

 

I choose to work with the topic of women’s issues because I see myself as an advocate for those who need support in exercising their own voices, particularly in instances of gender inequality. Addressing issues specific to women is one way to contribute to the betterment of human community. I value promoting a sense of mutual thriving and celebration across genders, so encouraging and empowering women to maintain a posture of honor for self and others is part of the work I do.

 

 

 

What are some signs/symptoms that would indicate a person should see a counselor?

We are not supposed to know how to figure everything out on our own. Humans are social beings and we thrive on meaningful connection with others. Sometimes, stresses and traumas from life overwhelm our personal resources and we need to reach out for support. Watch for cues of being emotionally “maxxed out” or socially isolated. Also, if the problem you’re facing is unlike anything you have faced before, consider counseling as a resource to help navigate the waters of transition.

 

I am not a Christian, so why should I see a Christian counselor?

There are a number of nuances when it comes to one’s faith and one’s profession. For some, they identify as Christian counselors. Others may identify as counselors who are Christians. The difference is subtle, but distinct. As a client, you may be curious about your counselor’s particular stance. Regardless of an individual counselor’s personal faith, clients can rest assured that the extensive training counselors receive is committed to supporting clients with their mental health needs with specific sensitivity to each client’s personal faith convictions. This means that the counselor’s role is to support the client’s unique self-growth process. If you’re seeking counseling and do not have an allegiance to the Christian faith, you can rest assured that the role of the counselor is as a mental health professional who has specific training in psychology and human behavior to support anyone in their therapeutic process. For those interested, Christian counselors often receive additional training in therapeutic modalities that support growth and exploration in the areas of faith and spirituality.    

 

 

 

What do you like to do in your off time?

As a former barista, I enjoy spending time in coffee shops learning about the different processes of making a cup of coffee. I also aspire to actually make some of the things I’ve pinned on my many Pinterest boards. More than coffee and Pinterest though, I love spending time with my family.

Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago