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Peter Sanneman, MS, LPC, LCPC, NCC

As a psychotherapist, I am passionate about giving my clients a safe place to be themselves, explore their inner wisdom, and navigate life’s challenges without needing to face them alone.  I bring expertise in terms of the tools and process of counseling, but each client brings the expertise in terms of their own story and strengths.  Working together, deep healing is possible and new pathways open up.  

 

I work only with adults and only in the context of individual therapy.  I am happy to work with any type of issue (such as anxiety, depression, loss, trauma, or relationships), or to provide a referral if I am not the best person to help you.  However, my particular specialty areas are: 

 

  • Survivors of complex trauma and relational transgression (such as childhood abuse, toxic relationships, or betrayals by partners, employers, spiritual leaders, etc.)

  • Folks facing life transitions

  • Members of the LGBTQ+ community

  • People navigating spiritual/religious crossroads or issues

You are the expert on your life, and it is my job to help you access your internal wisdom.  As a Level 1 trained Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist, I help you as an individual to connect to different parts of yourself, different perspectives inside you that are deeply valuable but not always harmonious.  “A part of me wants to go out, but another part of me wants to stay in.  And another part of me is frustrated about not being able to make up my mind!” We each have a metaphorical family of different parts within us, with which we can cultivate better relationships.  (The “Family” in Internal Family Systems does not refer to your family of origin or any external people in your life, and you would never be pressured to involve family members in therapy or resume contact with family members you are not in touch with.)  Together, as we get to know different sides of you, we can heal trauma wounds and allow more space for inner peace.

 

In this process, I will give you my full attention, respect your values, help you identify your goals, and work to earn your trust over time to do effective work together.  Counseling becomes a journey of self-discovery, growth, and healing. After you reach out, we'll have a free chat on the phone to see if you'd like to move forward.

 

Some other things about my background:

 

I draw on other awarenesses to supplement my IFS work with my clients, including Attachment Theory, Feminist Therapy and intersectional feminism, Solution-Focused Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, and insights and interventions from the growing field of Positive Psychology research.

 

I believe firmly that the public needs access to culturally competent, trauma-informed, and LGBTQ-affirming mental health professionals, and that is what I seek to be.  I draw from an awareness of privilege (including my own), oppression, and intersectionality, especially around race, gender, class, and sexuality, and I understand that many individuals with minority identities have been hurt in the past by micro- or macro-aggressions from health care and mental health care providers.  I am committed to earning my clients’ trust and respecting their boundaries.  In a validating setting, I help my clients understand the tools and strengths they already have and use their autonomy to make well-informed decisions according to their own wisdom.  I occasionally teach about the brain or about a specific strategy in order to help a client reach one of their goals.

 

I earned my Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Loyola University Maryland, where coursework frequently challenged us to consider the spiritual dimensions that can sometimes emerge within counseling.  I am intimately aware of the healthy, grounding role that spirituality plays in many people’s lives, and conversely, the ways that well-intentioned faith practices can sometimes intensify mental health problems.  I know that there are many different ways that people can connect to God, a higher power, or the Divine - and that this relationship can change over time.  I am also intimately aware that many people lead meaningful, fulfilling lives without faith or religion. Discussion of your faith, religion, and/or spirituality is fully welcomed into counseling at your discretion, but not assumed and never forced on you.  

 

My job is to help you anchor into what is meaningful and grounding in your own life.  The decisions and directions that will be healing and empowering for you are likely to be unique to you.  I support you in blazing your own trail, rather than expecting you to follow a roadmap used by myself or anyone else.

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I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (in Virginia, verify here), a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (in Maryland, verify here), and a Nationally Certified Counselor (verify here).