Leah Guarino, MS, LCMHC, LCAS
Substance use | Life Adjustments | Communication skills | Anxiety | Depression | LGTBQIA+
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore.
My Approach & Philosophy
When I was working toward becoming a therapist, I struggled with my own anxiety as I adjusted to not only a new school but a new state and culture, and I also realized I was holding onto grief that I had locked away for over a year. The combination of these struggles hit me hard, but through my own work I found ways to celebrate my own culture and identity, as well as my own grief, while creating a life in this new area that had become my home. Through my own healing process I found Touche Amore’s “Stage Four,” an album that helped me feel supported and not alone in my grief and life experiences.
From there, I have found I truly enjoy making connections to pop culture through my work. If you have music you are playing on repeat, what is calling you to that song? Are you relating to characters in tv or in movies? Maybe you feel like Chicken Little, and feel you constantly have to prepare for the worst. Perhaps you feel you have to hide your issues like Will from Stranger Things, or that you are misunderstood like Eleven. You might feel like Rue in Euphoria, and struggle with substance use or staying clean. It is huge when we experience representation in media, and it can normalize our experiences. In addition to incorporating media, I enjoy exploring negative thinking patterns and checking in with what is the “reality.” So often we accept our thoughts as true, which is not always the case.
As a therapist, I feel a person-centered approach is necessary, as no two people are the same and you deserve treatment tailored to your needs and style. I integrate modalities like motivational interviewing, acceptance and commitment therapy, brainspotting, exploring maladaptive thinking patterns and boundary setting. The first step towards change is reaching out.
As Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn 99 once said, “Two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward.”
When I am not counseling, I can be found doing something crafty, from sewing, to macrame, to painting and more, rock climbing, (unfortunately) keeping up with my Philadelphia sports teams, checking out the latest hit show, or out and about with my dog, Coby.