Lauren Gardner, LCMHC, Ph.D.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do all those letters after your name stand for?

Lots of people wonder about this, but not many actually ask.  

LCMHC stands for Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, which is the type of professional license I hold.

In addition to my license, I hold a Ph.D. in Counselor Education. From 2014 to 2019, I worked as a counselor educator at North Carolina State University.

Why should I pick you as my therapist?

Most counselors today are trained to think of counseling as a set of skills and techniques which are “used” on a client. While this approach is helpful in some ways, my approach involves genuinely getting to know my clients and to respond to them in a personal way, tailoring our work to your unique needs. I practice a client-centered, warm, and thoughtful type of therapy.

Doesn’t “slow” therapy mean a lot of sessions?  I don’t want to see a therapist forever.

Of course! I consider that our work has gone well when a client has made some changes, and does not need me anymore.  I call this process “slow” because therapy is rarely (if ever) a quick fix.  It has some ups and downs.  That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be in therapy for years, or have a whole lot of sessions.  But it does mean that effective psychotherapy is about getting to the root of problems, and sometimes the issues aren’t what they at first seemed to be.  It can take a while to get to that level of trust.  Furthermore, I’ve consistently found it to be true that this kind of lasting, deep work is where real change happens.

The good news is, people who get this kind of therapy continue to improve, even after they stop coming to sessions. It’s an investment that lasts a lifetime.

How is what you offer an improvement?

Many therapists practice CBT, claiming that it is the most effective treatment.  Our thoughts certainly do matter, and noticing how we think can be very helpful, but many people find that changing how they think is not always enough to affect their feelings. 

A recent, major study zshows that CBT has become half as effective as it once was. (Popular media source Actual study).  Also, the foundational studies in of psychotherapy research have not found that any particular approach to therapy is consistently better than others.  However, longer-term therapy, even if there are long breaks in between sessions, shows benefits that continue to increase even after therapy is done.  (For more information, please take a look at the work of Jonathan Shedler .)

“Intermittent long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy” is the term for this form of therapy. This does not mean that people stay in therapy for decades, but that they stay long enough to feel that their therapist is able to know them quite well. Studies, including the ones cited above, have shown that this type of therapy has many advantages over CBT and solution-focused approaches.

Consider fast food.  You can eat a hamburger and fries and feel full immediately, as compared to cooking a healthy meal at home. You may lose your hunger more quickly with the burger and fries, but over the long term, your health is not improved. Therapy with me is like that home-cooked meal. In time, many people learn to care for themselves and provide that soul nourishment on their own initiative.

New clients, 

please contact me via 

Psychology Today.