Renae Marler MS, LMHC
I'm a board-certified psychotherapist specializing in marriage/couple's therapy, trauma, and working with first responders. My passion is to help people live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly known as EMDR, is a therapy method. EMDR treats mental health conditions that happen because of memories from traumatic events in your past
Person-centered therapy is grounded in the idea that people are inherently motivated toward achieving positive psychological functioning. The client is believed to be the expert in their life and leads the general direction of therapy, while the therapist takes a non-directive role.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based method that focuses on the connection between our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. It involves identifying unhelpful thinking patterns and "re-programming" the way your brain has learned to respond to perceptions. These tools can be implemented immediately and the focus is on what people think rather than what they do.
The Sound Relationship House Theory is the foundation of the Gottman Method, It provides valuable clinical information by pinpointing specific strengths and challenges in your relationship, while also suggesting actionable, research-based recommendations for therapy.
Mindfulness is the state in which one becomes more aware of one's physical, mental, and emotional state in the present moment, without judgment. Individuals can pay attention to a variety of experiences, such as bodily sensations, cognitions, and feelings, and accept them without being influenced by them. Mindfulness helps people control their thoughts, rather than be controlled by them. Those who are able to achieve this state of awareness may find it easier to implement other therapeutic strategies. Regular mindfulness practice is believed to help further psychological insight and emotional healing, over time.
I believe meditation should be a part of psychotherapy. I teach my patients to sit comfortably with their eyes closed, observing the breath. The purpose of drawing attention away from the outside world and abandoning habitual patterns of perceiving and thinking is to facilitate personal change. The focused attention, self-forgetfulness, and heightened awareness of body states are supposed to open the mind to decreased preoccupation with one's own suffering, a move from self-deception to self-understanding, and resulting changes in attitudes and behavior. The evidence has shown positive effects on the brain - persistent increased activity on the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with joyful and serene emotions.
It can become increasingly difficult to manage the many “hats” we, as adults, wear – parent, spouse, employee/employer, volunteer, classroom parent, and so on. It isn’t always easy to manage the adversity life may throw at you. Challenges like divorce, parenting, trauma (past and present), anxiety, depression, or things like illness and disease, life stage transitions, and even death, are all hard to navigate on our own and sometimes it feels like we may never get out of the darkness.
For some, talking to a stranger can be easier than talking to friends or family. During our time together I will listen to you and help you find your own answers to the things that trouble you, without judgement. It is a chance to look at your problems in a different way and with someone who will always respect you and your opinions. I will push you out of your comfort zone to help you gain self-awareness and understanding that you can grow from.
Relationship therapy helps people to communicate their feelings and needs to each other without fear of being criticized or attacked. I am trained in Levels 1-3 of The Gottman Method and this is the style of couple’s therapy I practice 100% of the time. The reason is quite simple – IT WORKS! I tell all my couple’s it’s like taking a target and making the entire thing a bull’s-eye. This is only made possible by taking an assessment the Gottman’s created out of their 40+ years of experience and training. Additionally, you and your partner will be given access to critical exercises and tools to work on at home, targeted to your unique challenges, at relevant milestones during our time working together.
Trauma & Post-Traumatic Stress
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, crime, or natural disaster. Reactions such as shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and physical symptoms. You may find it difficult to sleep, or like you can't stop thinking about the terrible event that occurred. If the feelings you have about the terrible event are as strong as the day you first experienced the event, this may be a sign you have post-traumatic stress and therapy would be very helpful in reducing or resolving your symptoms.
Our moods, anxiety levels, relationships, and choices all depend on how well we are able to manage stressors, and sometimes the way we cope with traumatic experiences just isn’t enough to help us feel better. We become desperate for something to change in order to feel less out of control and overwhelmed. That’s where therapy comes in, and that’s why you have found my website today. Trauma-focused therapy can help you find inner peace again. With every new insight gained in therapy, every bit of awareness that gets heightened, and every relationship you are better able to connect with, you are creating a new path on your life-long journey to happiness.
As the spouse of a 20+ year firefighter I know that first responders experience life differently than other people do. Over 80% of first responders regularly experience traumatic events while working. They are often the first on the scene of a medical emergency or crisis, and being repeatedly exposed to such conditions can weigh heavily on the mind.
Our marriages aren't like most peoples' either, from the long shifts away from home, to the stressors and challenges we face, all the way down to the way we heal. Repeated exposure to traumatic events can create a post-traumatic stress response and the person begins experiencing symptoms such as sleep disturbance, flashbacks, and even dissociation. Early on, talking to one's spouse can help but over time that lessens and the person begins feeling like they can't bring it up with their spouse or partner. So it gets stuffed down and ignored. Emotional numbing and avoidance are common in first responders, though it leads to strain in our relationships. Consequently, the divorce rate is 60-75%, compared to 50% in non-first responder couples. Therapy can help you by giving you a confidential space where you can talk about, and process, the things you've seen and experienced with no filter and no judgment, and with someone who understands your work and the lifestyle that comes with it. Therapy can help you find purpose again, help you reconnect with loved ones, and most of all find happiness again and some peace.
Renae has truly changed my life in the most significant and wonderful way. After seeing Renae for 10 months, I can proudly say I am off of ALL anti-psych meds for the first time in almost 10 years. Through her insight and support I feel as though I have become a brand new person, when in reality I've actually just become my true self. She's the first counselor I've had in about 18 years of treatment who has talked to me the way you'd hope a therapist would- she takes me seriously and listens to me during my low points and she's incredible at helping me climb out of my anxiety/depression and back into reality. I do know that I can recommend her to anyone else feeling like they are completely alone or in the dark emotionally- because if you're anything like I am, she'll change your life.
Renae, is an amazing therapist. What I found refreshing was her non-judgmental presentation, as well as her insight with various tools to help work through difficult situations. I highly recommend Renae without any hesitation. I was not a believer in counseling until meeting with Renae. I am now a believer.
Renae is an excellent therapist! She's very insightful, knowledgeable, and very easy to talk to. She's also very accommodating as I have a lot of scheduling issues to work through.