Audra Kurth, LCPC, CADC
Trying to describe myself, my approach to therapy, and my stance on mindfulness in a short blurb is a difficult task. So here’s my best shot and if you’re interested in the longer version, read on...
I see therapy as a place to be in a really good relationship, take an honest look at yourself and figure out what to accept and what to change. I specialize in helping people with mood, personality and anxiety disorders, as well as chemical dependency issues, relationship issues or all of the above. I practice mindfulness myself and it pervades my style as a therapist. This can be an overt part of treatment if desired but it is also just my way of showing up - present, honest, humorous and supportive.
If you are looking for specific styles in addition to my mindfulness based approach, I use DBT, ACT, interpersonal/attachment theory, and person- centered approaches, with many additional influences-feel free to ask me if you want to know more! With addiction treatment, I believe in the 12-step program of recovery as well as harm reduction; I tailor recovery plans to the individual. I see a diverse range of people, with lots of experience with LGBTQ folks. Mostly, I care very deeply about this work and love going on the journey with people. Looking forward to meeting you!
CADC-CERTIFIED WITH EXPERTISE IN ADDICTIONS
SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND SUICIDE INTERVENTION
SPECIALTY IN TRAUMA/PTSD
EXPERTISE IN WORKING WITH LGBTQ POPULATIONS
INTENSIVE TRAINING IN DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY
I’d like to explain a bit more about my path with mindfulness, with the hope that knowing my story will make you feel less afraid and more hopeful in trying this thing too! So, I thought that meditation meant turning into a mellow crunchy Buddhist who never feels angry or upset. I was afraid I would have to stop swearing and would have to love everyone around me at all times. I was also very concerned that I would have to trade in my high heels and make-up! What was really going on was that I was afraid, in fact threatened by this meditation thing. Was it going to change who I am?
But what actually started happening was I stopped walking around in a haze of my own obsessive thoughts, allowing feelings and impulses lead the way. Insead, I started showing up to my own life. At first I began to think of meditation as a way to “know the enemy.” I’m carrying all of these thoughts and feelings around whether I want to or not, so I might as well tune in and use them for my own good instead of against myself. I began watching my desire stomp around in my head, demanding my attention and demanding to be satisfied at all costs. I felt my insecurity twist around in my guts, begging me for reassurance, any reassurance, please! Now!!!! I sat with grief, feeling it wrap its hand around my throat, stealing my breath and trying to keep it choked inside of me. Do I enjoy feeling all of this? Yes and no. See the thing is, I’m aware now. I can name these emotions for what they are. I can offer myself some acceptance, reassurance and that beautiful thing called choice. How do I really want to deal with (grief, anxiety, etc)? Is it necessary to do anything about this right now? Who is in charge of these decisions, me or my feelings? (Feelings...such fickle, fickle creatures.) Recognizing the changing nature of emotions gives me so much more space and relief. I don’t actually have to do anything about this right now, or buy what my brain tells me to do. *Sigh,* that’s nice!
And on the topic of nice... I started being nicer to myself! When I pause, show up, and listen to what’s going on in my head, I can much more clearly hear the tired old negative self-judgments start up. Once you start listening, you quickly begin to hear patterns: “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t do enough,” “If ___ happens my world will end!” “I’m not capable of that,” and on and on and on… Now I can call these thoughts out for what they are and stop having to believe and identify with them. Meditating gives me a chance to practice being nice to myself. And I’m finding that the more I do it, the easier it’s becoming. My mind is less of an enemy and more of a constant companion.
It also started shifting my relationships with others. If I take even two seconds to get to know someone and anything about their story I find it easy to engage in genuine compassion and caring and I like the feeling of being connected. So I’m finding that being more aware of my thoughts and emotions helps me be more open and soften with others a lot more easily, which leads to that thing that I really want - connection.
It has also been a revelation to unplug from having to “always do it right” and be “the best” including with meditation! I have discovered yoga, which can be meditation in motion (who knew?). I offer compassion and kindness to others while I’m walking down the street. I meditate on the things I see and hear as I go through my day. When I forget to meditate for whatever reason, I can always go back with no questions asked and no judgment. That loving, accepting awareness is always there - waiting in the next breath. Something I can still offer myself even when I’m not “doing it right.” So did this actually change me?
My conclusion is that it doesn’t change who I am, it changes how I see myself and allows me to be in touch with who I really want to be. I can take a stance of curiosity and kindness towards myself and others. I can notice my struggles and all of my good stuff and am big enough to contain it. I can watch my striving and yearning and avoidance and see just what makes me tick. I can see where I am willing and where I am not. I can realign with my actual values. And… I can keep my heels and makeup!