A LITTLE ABOUT ME
April Starsick LICSW, SEP, NARM Therapist
What is your approach to healing and wellness?
My approach to healing is heart centered, relational, and somatic at its core. My practice utilizes advanced trauma treatment modalities, including somatic and relational approaches in order to support you in your journey toward of a more fulfilling life. In short, I specialize in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, chronic stress and illness from a somatic, attachment, and relational lens.
A brief history...
I have been practicing as a psychotherapist since 2001, when I graduated from West Virginia University with a Master of Social Work in Clinical Mental Health. I hold a Bachelor of Social Work and Minor in Sociology from WVU. I am a Trauma Specialist, certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner® and a NARM® Therapist. Over the course of my 20+ years of practice, I have spent the majority of time providing trauma therapy as well as treatment for anxiety, depression, mood disorders, life stress, life transitions, codependency, school and career stress, relationship stress, LGBTQ related issues and many others. I have been in private practice since 2010, providing integrative psychotherapy services to individuals coping with a variety of issues, with a special interest in those who have experienced trauma and prolonged stress. I do offer a variety of therapeutic modalities, and have a strong preference for and expertise in somatic and relational psychotherapy.
What specialized training do you have?
I have specialized, advanced training as a Trauma Therapist in Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) and the NARM® Model (NeuroAffective Relational Model®). I am a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner® (SEP) and a NARM® Therapist. I am currently completing the advanced Level 3 NARM Master Therapist training. I am extremely excited to bring both of these models to our beautiful mountain state! I am hoping more practitioners in West Virginia will begin exploring these highly effective, holistic, comprehensive and integrative models to address trauma, anxiety, and chronic stress. Training in these models allows me to offer an integrated top-down & bottom-up approach for my clients that most traditional therapies do not offer. Both models are an ideal combination for to addressing trauma (developmental, relational and shock trauma), anxiety, chronic stress.
What is Somatic Experiencing® (SE)?
SE is a body-oriented (bottom up) approach to the healing of trauma and other stress related disorders. In short, "bottom up" means focusing on our nervous systems as a way to heal, as opposed to the telling and retelling of stories, which can lead to re-traumatization, ongoing anxiety, and can keep us spinning or feeling stuck. Many individuals may be unable to recall their traumas, or only remember parts, or just plain don't want to talk about it. The SE approach helps our bodies resolve trauma and chronic stress by supporting our nervous systems release of traumatic shock, integration with new experiences, and our return to a state of aliveness, without having to reexperience our trauma.. This is key to transforming PTSD, traumatic and chronic stress and anxiety. As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), I feel honored to help hold space for individuals on their healing journey.
What is the NeuroAffective Relational Model® (NARM)?
NARM is an integrative bottom up (body) and top down (mind) oriented model for healing trauma. The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is an advanced clinical training for mental health professionals who work with complex trauma. NARM is a cutting-edge model for addressing attachment, relational and developmental trauma, by working with the attachment patterns that cause life-long psychobiological symptoms and interpersonal difficulties. These early, unconscious patterns of disconnection deeply affect our identity, emotions, physiology, behavior and relationships. Learning how to work simultaneously with these diverse elements is a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma. ~The NARM Training Institute
Why these interests and approaches?
Over the years, I have developed a special interest in trauma healing and post traumatic growth. This is strongly influenced by incredible clients I have worked with, as well as my own personal experiences with trauma and chronic illness. My trauma specialties include shock trauma, developmental trauma and relational traumas. These can include sexual trauma, physical trauma, including abuse, accidents, inescapable attacks, attachment and developmental trauma, relational ruptures, medical trauma, and emotional trauma and neglect. I regularly attend trainings specific to new trauma approaches, with strong focuses in healing from sexual trauma, attachment and developmental trauma. In my experience, SE and NARM have proven to be the most effective modalities for me, in my 20+ years of providing therapy for trauma, anxiety and stress related issues, for profound growth and integration.
I have been trained in and utilized many other trauma approaches, including SAFE EMDR (Somatic Attachment Focused EMDR) and IFS (Internal Family Systems). These approaches are great! For me, SE and NARM resonate more with my approach to healing. I do not currently provide SAFE EMDR treatment. I can offer referrals to great practitioners who actively practice Traditional EMDR as well as IFS if you would like.