Lauren McMillan AMFT
Reaching out for therapy may be the hardest part. I know the thought process to make that initial call, which may be an experience of feeling stuck, wild, and anxiously pacing in your head, even if your feet have been glued to the floor. You may be unsure, but this is the first step and I welcome you. I am going to believe that you can take another step even if you can’t fathom it.
A native to Los Angeles I get it; the constant hustle, traffic, the grind of working to pay for life, not psychotherapy. I know you may have valid reasons for why this is not the best time for therapy, but I am calling your bluff.
You are not too busy, too old, too Black, or too broken. Now, it may possibly never feel like the “right time” because there will never be a right time to get well. This is your moment. I’m going to say you have slowed down just enough to feel; running errands with tears streaming down your face. Hating your spouse, your kids, but hating yourself more because you’re still hurting, still invisible, still in your trauma recreating scenes and acting out in ways that reverberate later.
Is your kiddo dealing with separation anxiety or disability and a new diagnosis? Is your teen crying out through self-harm, anger, or drugs? Are you afraid to ask? Are they wrestling with gender/sexuality? Is the whole family on edge from loss, divorce, and “old” traumas making it hard to be a present and engaged parent? If you’re nodding along with any of this, then I am here.
I graduated from Antioch University Los Angeles with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology specializing in Child Studies. Antioch prepared me for this field through a culturally sensitive and expansive lens, that honed in on the emotional and neurological development of children and teens specifically. I have worked with children/teens (newborn to 18) for the last 20 years as a live-in au pair and Behavior Interventionist for children/teens on the spectrum. I feel privileged to have experienced so many different families, homes, and classrooms in Los Angeles witnessing first-hand the need for mental health support that covers the whole family.
My therapeutic approach is collaborative; focusing on strengths, with an emphasis on Family Structural Therapy, Narrative Work, and Attachment. Believing the relationship is paramount and can affect progress especially when treating children/teens. My “tool kit” brings in play, art, music, bibliotherapy, and movement therapy allowing for an authentic and shared bond to develop.
When I’m not wearing my therapist hat, I spend as much time as I can with my dog Casey and claiming my own mindfulness practice of Afro-Brazilian Dance and Samba. Dance is my medicine and sometimes talking isn’t good enough and the pain needs to move to a Bossa Nova, the grounding of the drum and the clarity of the cowbell. Samba comes from the root, the earth, from the bottom of my feet and the feet of my grandmothers. Dance fuels the healer in me, and I am able to hold all your details, good memories, and awful truths.
I am not asking you to dance, but I am inviting you to come in and sit with the drum and be, just be in the room with me as your guide. Begin to notice how the drum’s rhythm catches up and attaches itself to the beating of your own heart; alive, pumping, in-sync, willing, and ready to begin healing.
Lauren is an Associate Marriage Family Therapist #97895 and practices under the supervision of Erica Ives, LMFT#34566.