HEADFIRST COUNSELING THERAPISTS

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Laura McLaughlin, M.Ed., LPC, RPT
Founder, HeadFirst Counseling
Child & Adolescent Therapist

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT)
ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider (ADHD-CCSP)
Certified AutPlay Therapy provider for Autism Spectrum Disorders


Specialties:
Play Therapy                                               
Attachment Disorders
Parenting Support
Parent-Child Relationships
Oppositional or Defiant Behaviors
Potty Training Concerns
Extreme Emotional Dysregulation in Children
ADHD, Impulsivity, Self-Management
Trauma
Highly Sensitive and/or Gifted Children
Sensory Processing Disorders
Autism Spectrum Disorders


Services Offered:
Individual, Sibling, and Group Play Therapy
Pre-Teen/Teen Activity Therapy
Parent Consultations
Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT)
Group Parenting Talks
In-Home Consultations and Playroom Evaluations

Laura began her counseling career in non-profit agencies working with children and adult survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse (heavy stuff!). After getting her feet wet for a couple of years, Laura founded HeadFirst Counseling to provide an approach to counseling in which clients are given the freedom to explore all aspects of themselves and while being fully supported and accepted.

 

Laura utilizes evidenced-based play therapy and activity techniques and incorporates recent developments in neuropsychology to utilize brain-based approaches for cognitive processing and emotional regulation in children and adolescents. Laura blends child-centered play therapy with other modalities of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), reciprocal social skills training, executive functioning skill development, expressive arts therapies, and attachment-based techniques in session depending on each client's specialized needs.

 

Laura believes that no two situations are exactly the same, and an openness to learning about the individual client and his or her specific needs is necessary in order for therapy to be beneficial. In the therapy sessions, Laura focuses on helping her clients feel heard, understood, and accepted. Once the client is able to feel accepted for who they are at this moment, they begin to become more of their authentic self. As the client begins to heal, the need for unhelpful or destructive coping skills diminishes and the client is able to move towards more positive, helpful, forward moving, and authentic ways of being.

Laura specializes in working with children displaying social or emotional difficulties, behavioral concerns, sensory sensitivities, attachment concerns, rigidity and high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Laura is equipped to work with clients that have experienced any type of physical, psychological, or emotional trauma, including but not limited to: neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, adoption, medical conditions, and family violence.

Laura also specializes in work with parents and offers consultations and support for parents that are struggling with the parent-child relationship. Laura helps parents identify their child's needs, and works with parents to brainstorm ways to help meet the needs of both the child and parent in order to bring back peace at home. Laura provides encouragement for biological and adoptive parents at HeadFirst Counseling and helps them find healthy ways of establishing trust, safety, and attunement within the child-parent relationship.



 

Around the Dallas Community:

Laura obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master's degree in clinical counseling from the University of North Texas. As a young adult, Laura spent a brief stint living in New York City working at the prestigious Child Mind Institute and studying psychopharmacology under Dr. Roy Boorady before returning to Dallas. Growing up as a competitive soccer player and gymnast for 15 years, Laura now gets her exercise by chasing her 3 year old toddler around the house and doing family outings at the Dallas Arboretum.

 

Laura works with Community Partners of Dallas (http://www.cpdtx.org) as part of their HEART program to provide group therapy services to child victims of sexual abuse in Dallas County. Laura currently serves on the board of the North Texas Chapter of the Texas Association for Play Therapy (www.txapt.org) as the Member-At-Large, connecting play therapists in the Dallas area with resources to expand the knowledge and impact of play therapy in the community. Laura is also an advocate with Dallas CASA (dallascasa.org), advocating for child victims of abuse and neglect so they can grow up in safe and nurturing homes where they can reach their full potential.

 

Laura's current rates are $245 for initial intake sessions and parent sessions, and $200 for all 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Lexie Sikes, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Specialties:

Anxiety

Depression

Grief and Loss

Divorce

Self-Worth Issues

Life Transitions

Foster Care

Social Skills

Services Offered:

Child and Adolescent Therapy Services

Parent Consultations

Social Skills Groups

In-Home Intake Assessments

 

Clinical Experience:

Lexie obtained her Bachelor and Master of Social work from The University of Oklahoma, specializing in Child Development and Child and Family Therapy. Before joining the HeadFirst Counseling team, Lexie worked in Oklahoma City at a local non-profit agency doing grief therapy. It was there that she found her passion for working with families experiencing significant loss. Lexie specializes in grief in the forms of death and divorce, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, and compulsive behaviors.

Lexie strives to create an environment that is comfortable and free of judgement. Her goal is to empower each client by highlighting their individual strengths and she hopes to make the therapy experience warm and safe for everyone. Lexie believes that the therapist is the greatest tool, and sometimes we just need someone to listen. Using empathy with a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, strengths-based, and solution-focused therapy, clients are welcomed to process their emotions and take control of their thoughts to help determine the best route for change.

Lexie is a therapist, wife, foster mom, and friend, and she thrives when being active in her community. Outside of work you can find her reading, trying new restaurants, or going on walks with her two wheaten terriers. Growing up, Lexie was a competitive gymnast for many years and she believes this experience shaped her into the person she is today. Gymnastics taught Lexie many lessons, though most notably, the importance of dedication and consistency. These are the very skills that Lexie uses when developing the therapeutic relationship, allowing clients to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe way.

Lexie specializes in working with children and adolescents cope with stress, anxiety, depression, grief, divorce, and self worth issues. She has lead children, adolescent and teen support groups to find resolution to issues such as moving, changing schools, bullying, and other difficult adjustments. Additionally, Lexie has experience with school counseling, adoption, and foster care.

Lexie’s first focus is building a trusting therapeutic relationship so that her clients are able to receive the support and guidance they need to create change in a healthy way. Lexie strives to create an environment that is safe, comfortable and free of judgement. She is intentional with her structure of the therapeutic environment and works to make sure each client feels heard and understood. Lexie believes in a strengths-based approach that is guided by the individual needs of each client. Lexie uses tools and interventions that are unique to each child to bring out the best in them.  

Lexie's current rates are $185 for initial parent intake and parent sessions, and $160 for all 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Laura Orr, M.A.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Registered Play Therapist (RPT) Certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Specialties:

Trauma

Family Therapy

Play Therapy

Adolescent and Teen Therapy

Parenting Support

Grief and Loss

Crisis, Suicidal, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

Depression

Anxiety

Services Offered:

Individual and Sibling Therapy

Family Therapy

Parent Consultations

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Clinical Experience:

Laura obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Markets and Culture from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego in San Diego, CA. 

 

Laura’s first therapy experience was as a counselor with Hospice, where she provided both anticipatory grief and bereavement counseling to individuals, couples, families, and groups.  Laura then briefly worked for a crisis response team where she supported individuals with severe mental health and/or suicidality concerns.  Most recently, Laura spent four and a half years as a counselor for children survivors of sexual abuse and their supportive caregivers. 

 

Laura uses a prescriptive approach to therapy, which emphasizes a thorough understanding of the unique needs of each individual prior to offering any therapeutic modality.  Laura has found that treatment works best when first practiced through a lens of curiosity and with a strong therapeutic relationship at its foundation.  Laura uses collaboration between the therapist and client towards positive change with an emphasis on openness and unconditional positive regard. 

 

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, Laura approaches treatment through a biopsychosocial model: an approach to therapy that considers biological, psychological and social factors as contributing to a person’s personal challenges. Laura uses a whole-person approach to healing with the goal of increasing long-term successful individual and interpersonal outcomes.

 

When she is not spending time with her husband and children, Laura can be found breaking out of escape rooms, playing board games and video games with friends, or watching scary movies. 

Laura's current rates are $225 for the initial intake and 60 min parenting/family sessions, and $175 for 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Desirae Terry, LMSW

Licensed Masters Social Worker

Specialties:

Family Therapy

Adolescent and Teen Therapy

Parenting Support

Crisis, Suicidal, and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI)

Depression

Anxiety

Perfectionism

Mind-Body Connection

Services Offered:

Individual and Sibling Therapy

Family Therapy

Parent Consultations

Pre-teen and teen therapy

Young Adults

Professional Development and Speaking Engagements

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Desirae obtained her Master of Social Work at the University of Southern California specializing in child, youth and family therapy. Before joining Headfirst, Desi worked at a North Texas non-profit agency serving children and families with various behavioral health challenges increasing functionality and mental health recovery. She is well versed in individual, family and group therapy.

 

Growing up, Desirae spent most of her time training in a gym, competing nationally as a cheerleader both individually and as a teammate. Reaching her dream of being a D1 collegiate athlete- she loved cheering on her university! Desirae is also a trained singer- something only her two children are privy to now! She spends her free time making s’mores with her family and doing disco dance parties before bed.

 

Desirae specializes in working with adolescents, parent-child relationships and young adults navigating the transition of new found independence. She is uniquely qualified in helping teens build an authentic relationship with themselves and others, discovering their value system, understanding the connection between emotions and behavior, and building and strengthening coping skills. Desi assists clients in understanding and implementing boundaries, balance, and stress management as you continue to forge your identity, empowering you to create the patterns and path for lasting fulfillment. 

 

In her work with parents, Desirae focuses on parent-child interaction working with the whole family to develop nurturing, positive parenting tools through effective evidence-based interventions. She assists families in developing successful systems to increase emotional safety, empathy, and adaptive skills within the home ultimately transforming your relationships.

Desirae’s clinical focus is perfectionism, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationships, mind-body connection, and social emotional skills. She believes that the therapeutic relationship must feel safe, nonjudgmental, and empowering in order to access true healing and growth. Her approach is sensitive, collaborative, positive, patient centered, educational, and strengths based.

 

Desirae's current rates are $150 for all initial parent intake and parent sessions, and $120 for 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Gracyn Costiloe, LMSW

Licensed Masters Social Worker

Specialties:

Anxiety

Oppositional or Defiant Behaviors

ADHD and Impulsivity

Divorce and Separation

Social Skills

Peer Relationships

Parenting Support

Trauma

Services Offered:

Child and Adolescent Therapy Services

Parent Consultations

Sibling Therapy

In-Home Intake Assessments

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Gracyn moved to Oklahoma where she received her Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma. Gracyn specialized in child development, child and family therapy, and child trauma. She began her clinical career working for the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center serving children and families who had experienced trauma of some kind, and then spent several years as a private school counselor working with children ages 3 to 13. 


 

Gracyn’s clinical specialties include child and teen anxiety, child defiance and non-compliance, impulsivity, social skills, peer and sibling relationships, divorce, attention disorders and parenting skills. In addition, Gracyn is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). Gracyn is passionate about helping parents and families navigate challenging child behaviors that can often feel overwhelming.  


 

In her work with children, Gracyn has experienced that positive change occurs best when the therapist is able to create an environment of acceptance, safety and trust. In this therapeutic space the child is able to be fully themselves and begin to navigate their own challenges and difficulties. Gracyn utilizes evidence-based approaches to meet the individual needs of her clients and their families and enjoys working with parents to help them support their child in the therapeutic process. Gracyn’s approach is empathetic, collaborative, supportive, solution-focused, and intentional. She enjoys partnering with a child (or teen) and providing them with the guidance and support they need!  

At home Gracyn is keeping up with a little one of her own as well as a big friendly Bernese Mountain dog. She is actively involved in her church, loves cooking for family and friends, and enjoys squeezing in a little exercise whenever she can!  

Gracyn's current rates are $150 for all initial parent intake and parent sessions, and $120 for 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Madison King

Graduate Clinical Counseling Student, SMU

Administrative Support

Madison graduated from Texas Christian University in 2020 where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and Psychology. She currently attends Southern Methodist University where she is working on her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a focus in children and adolescents.

 

Madison has lived all around the U.S. from Missouri, to South Carolina, and then Illinois. She made the decision to leave the Midwest and head to Texas for school and has been enjoying the warm weather ever since! When she is not studying or working, you can find her reading, spending time with friends, or learning a new recipe.

 

Throughout her education, Madison has had numerous opportunities to work with children and families all around the world. Those experiences solidified her passion for helping others and led to her decision to pursue a career in Counseling.  She is excited to be a member of the HeadFirst family as Administrative Support!

Now Hiring! 

PLAY THERAPY POSITION OPENING

 

HeadFirst Counseling is looking to hire a part-time, licensed (LPC, LCSW, LMFT, LPC-Intern, LMSW, LMFT-A) child and adolescent therapist for our Dallas, TX office.

 

HeadFirst Counseling is a private therapy practice located in Preston Center in Dallas, TX specializing in therapy services for children, adolescents, and parents. We provide a holistic approach to therapy looking at the whole person to enable children, teens, and parents to develop insight, empathy, and problem solving skills. We use the latest brain-based techniques and interventions rooted in helping our clients form secure attachments and increase brain integration for optimal functioning. Our main goal is to provide quality therapeutic interventions to tackle current problems and help children, teens, and parents reach their full potential and for families to succeed together.

 

OPEN PLAY THERAPY POSITION

 

Qualifications:

 

  • Candidate must be licensed in the state of Texas (LPC, LMFT, LCSW, LPC-Intern, LMSW, LMFT-A)

  • Extensive training and experience in child-centered play therapy or other play therapy modality

  • CPRT/Filial experience and training preferred

  • Flexible availability for scheduling client sessions in the afternoon and evenings between 2pm and 6pm

  • Up to date with current research in the play therapy field with a zest for continued education and training

  • Background of attachment-based therapy and brain-based interventions

Benefits:

  • W2 Employee

  • Collaborative environment

  • Open, flexible scheduling

  • HeadFirst Counseling will provide a caseload of play therapy and adolescent clients to be built over the first few months of employment

  • Automated billing and scheduling

  • Competitive pay based on experience and training

 

Contact info@headfirstdallas.com for more information. Please send resume and CV to info@headfirstdallas.com. No phone calls, please.