Deborah Bergmann, M.S., LPC-Intern supervised by R. Keith Franklin, Ph.D., LPC-S, LCDC, CEAP
My work as a counselor is grounded in a commitment to helping clients value their strengths, clarify their values, and build new skills so that they are better equipped to live in ways they find satisfying and meaningful. I believe the basis of any effective therapy is an empathic, authentic, and attuned therapeutic relationship, and I use evidence-based practices within that context.
I work with people experiencing:
· Chronic Illness
· Chronic Pain
· Life Changes
I use the following approaches:
· Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
· Behavioral Activation
· Exposure Therapy
· Problem Solving Therapy
· Motivational Interviewing
· Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Sometimes we come to therapy to grieve—to give our pain a shape and a name and to take some time and space to feel things that our routines may not afford us time and space to feel. In this case, the therapist is a companion and creative collaborator in the work of grieving.
Other times, we come to therapy because anxiety is taking up too much room in our lives and there’s not enough space left to think and act in ways that feel grounded and intentional. In this case, the interventions I use include relaxation training and mindfulness practices, as well as exploring what kinds of thoughts are keeping your anxiety going. If you are experiencing anxiety or panic about particular situations (e.g. flying in an airplane, socializing) we will take some time to build distress-tolerance skills and replace unhelpful thoughts with helpful thoughts; then we will slowly expose you to aspects of these situations in order to increase your ability to handle the stress they bring.
Sometimes, anxious worry is a way of avoiding something that pains us. If this is the case, we may incorporate interventions for depression and grief. Other times, anxiety is a by-product of relational dynamics that may not be healthy. Together we can explore ways to communicate effectively, invite and practice greater openness and flexibility, and/or set boundaries as needed.
If you are experiencing depression, our approach will depend on how long you’ve had depression and what form it takes for you. Behavioral activation can help by creating a schedule of daily activities that will break the depression-withdrawal feedback loop; CBT can help us start uprooting depression-reinforcing thoughts; ACT can help us locate and loosen the emotional and cognitive stuck-points that might be at the root of feelings of indifference, sadness, or hopelessness. We may also take up the thread of grief in the process of this work and spend some time grieving productively.
Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain
Living life with a chronic illness can be extremely stressful. It becomes a significant organizational undertaking to manage the specialist appointments, medications, treatments, and lifestyle recommendations meant to optimize your health. Life can begin to feel medicalized, and your mental and emotional health can be forgotten in this process.
As a counselor with an interest in chronic illness and chronic pain, my goal is to meet you wherever you are in adjusting to life with a chronic illness and to support you.
I have experience providing behavioral health support in a primary care setting for individuals with diabetes, chronic lower back pain, migraine, obesity, and health anxiety. I use psychoeducation, pacing, assertive communication training, problem-solving therapy, CBT, and ACT for individuals with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.
You may be seeking support in finding motivation for a change you want to make, or you may just need a place to sort out your ambivalence about whether to make a change. If so, we may use an approach called motivational interviewing to sort out your values, feelings, and intentions.
If you are entering a new stage of life, such as being newly coupled or single, becoming a parent, or starting retirement, therapy can be a place to sort out your thoughts, feelings, needs, and desires during these shifts.
I use CBT for Insomnia, which includes stimulus control and sleep restriction.
More about Deborah
Deborah Bergmann is a licensed professional counselor-intern supervised by R. Keith Franklin, Ph.D., LPC-S, LCDC, CEAP. She has a bachelor’s in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Yale University and master’s in clinical mental health counseling from UTSA.
She is interested in treatment-resistant depression, social determinants of health, access to mental health support, and mental health as a public health issue.
Deborah is originally from Mexico and grew up in San Antonio. She enjoys mothering her two children, cooking, listening to music, and reading—especially poetry, memoir, and other non-fiction.