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HEADFIRST COUNSELING THERAPISTS

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

Licensed Professional Counselor- Supervisor (LPC-S) 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
Supervision for Therapists and Play Therapists working towards full licensure

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 is also the founder of the non-profit extension of the practice, the HeadFirst Mental Health Initiative, aimed at providing free mental health treatment to families who would otherwise not have access to services due to financial burdens or inability to pay. More information about the non-profit can be found through the website at www.headfirstmentalhealthinitiative.com 

 

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

Divorce

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

Young Adults and Emerging Adulthood Transitions

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

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. The teenage years are full of new anxieties and defining of personal values. She is uniquely qualified in helping teens build an authentic relationship with themselves and others as well as discovering their value system and how to live in it! She also guides them to understand the connection between emotions and behavior as well as building and strengthening coping skills. Additionally, 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. You can confidently manage your child’s behavior and enjoy parenting again!

 

Lastly, Desirae loves working with young adults assisting them in navigating the transition of new found independence. This season comes with unique stressors, fears and challenges in relationships and goals. Desi can help create both understanding and implementation of boundaries, balance, and stress management as you continue to forge your identity, empowering you to create the patterns and path for lasting fulfillment. Desi believes that living the life you intend can be obscured by wounds and thinking. Her approach will help you discover new tools that will begin to shift your behaviors, feelings, and thoughts towards yourself and your life circumstances. Her approach is wholehearted and whole-person, creating opportunity and skills for sustained change.

 

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, trauma informed, educational, and strengths based.

 

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.” -Terri St. Cloud

 

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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Rebecca Jaimes, M.Ed., LPC-A

Licensed Professional Counselor- Associate

Specialties:

Play Therapy

Chronic and Terminal Illness Coping and Adjustment

Anxiety

Depression

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Trauma

Grief and Loss

Child-Parent Relationships

Activity Therapy

Services Offered:

Child and Adolescent Therapy Services

Parent Consultations

Child-Parent Relationship Training

Group Therapy

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Rebecca obtained her Bachelor of Arts in History and Art History from The University of Texas at Austin, and her Master of Education in Clinical Counseling from the University of North Texas, with a specialty in Play Therapy.  Before joining the HeadFirst Counseling team, Rebecca worked as a play therapist at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas with children with chronic and terminal illnesses and their families.  This is where Rebecca found her passion for working with children and families experiencing grief, loss, anxiety, and depression. 

 

Rebecca is a therapist and wife who spends her free time outdoors and painting. Rebecca cultivated her love for working with children through her experiences at Open Door Preschool in Austin, a non-profit preschool that accepts and caters to children with diverse needs and backgrounds.  She grew up in this environment and worked there as a preschool teacher until she was twenty-one years old.  Rebecca brings the values of acceptance, care, and inclusivity she learned at Open Door into her practice as a Play therapist. 

 

Rebecca specializes in working with children experiencing chronic or terminal illness, anxiety, depression, grief, and loss.  Through her work at Children’s Medical Center, Rebecca has gained experience facilitating growth and coping for children of various medical complications and environmental stressors.  Additionally, she has extensive experience working with parents and caregivers, including conducting Child-Parent Relationship Trainings.

 

Rebecca approaches her practice from a Child-Centered Play Therapy perspective.  She focuses on establishing a therapeutic relationship and trusting rapport with her clients in order to create a psychologically safe environment for children to process and reflect at their own pace.  Rebecca utilizes empirically proven counseling modalities to ensure her clients are receiving effective and holistic care.  Her approach raises her clients' emotional baseline, develops autonomy and self-trust, and provides a space for them to grow and heal.

Rebecca's current rates are $125 for all initial parent intake and parent sessions, and $100 for 45min child and adolescent sessions.

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Bailey Hill

Master's Level Student

Therapy Intern

Specialties:

Anxiety

Depression

Relationship Concerns

Self-Esteem and Self-Worth Concerns

Gender Development and Identity Development

Stress and Life Transitions

Emerging Adulthood Concerns

Services Offered:

Child and Adolescent Therapy Services

Activity Therapy

Teen Therapy

College Transition/Young Adult Individual Therapy

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Bailey is currently pursuing her Masters in Counseling at Dallas Theological Seminary. Before pursuing her masters, she attended The University of Texas at Austin where she received her bachelor’s degree in childhood education. After college she taught school for 3 years, starting in PreK and then moving to 1st grade. As a teacher, especially during the pandemic, she realized the great need for mental health awareness and practice with kids.  

 

Bailey desires to work with children and young adults to assist them in developing self-awareness and coping skills that meet their needs. In addition, Bailey will help clients cope with anxiety, emotion regulation, stress, or needs brought into the session by the client. Through a CBT approach combined with additional techniques, she hopes to help her clients correct negative thinking patterns and help create a shift in the client’s behaviors, thoughts and feelings. 

 

Bailey believes that change happens when the therapist and client build a strong, trusting relationship! She plans to approach this by showing constant empathy for her clients and providing a safe space to accompany them in their healing. 

Bailey is able to offer a sliding scale rate of $65/session for 60min parent intake sessions and 45min child and adolescent sessions at HeadFirst Counseling as part of her student internship experience.

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Meredith Moderi

Graduate Clinical Counseling Student, Southern Methodist University

Administrative Support

Meredith graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University in December 2020, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She currently attends Southern Methodist University, working towards her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

 

Although Meredith has traveled across the world - from boarding school in London to hiking Greece with National Geographic to attending college in a small town in Alabama - she still calls Dallas home. Her parents still live in Dallas, and she makes it a habit to go home at least twice a week to see them. Outside work and school, you can find her walking the Katy Trail, shopping with her mom, or catching up on TV shows.

 

Throughout her education, Meredith has had extensive opportunities to work within the counseling field. Due to her experience in therapy and a long-time desire to help others, she happily found herself pursuing a career in Counseling. She is excited to be a member of the HeadFirst family as Administrative Support.

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