Who I Am

Teresa Heesacker
MASF, MCFC, LPC, RPT

Who I Am

Teresa Heesacker
MASF, MCFC, LPC, RPT

Counseling is about making your life and relationships better.

My desire to work in the counseling profession started when I was a teenager. Fueled by my own life experiences and those of my family and friends, I became passionate about wholeness, healing, self-growth, and healthy relationships.

In my lifespan, I have had the honor to engage with people of differing ages, cultures, faiths, and life circumstances—helping, serving, teaching, mentoring, counseling and encouraging. I consider it a privilege to walk alongside others on their journey toward wholeness.

Why Seek Counseling?

This is such a good question. Why would someone decide to engage in the counseling process? My first answer is, “Don’t do life alone.” There is only so much we can do by ourselves. That is why we join a yoga class or get a group of people together to do a big project. We need the support of others.

And there is only so much we know and understand. That is why we make an appointment with a physical therapist or hire an accountant. We need insight we don’t have.

Family and friends, while they often feel close to us, may also carry bias or influence that can complicate our deep, authentic processing. A counselor’s neutrality and newness to your story may help create the emotional safety to take a fresh look at life.

Lastly, counseling isn’t just about problem-solving. Partnership in exploring everything from daydreams to life goals, developing dormant strengths, or searching for new coping skills are also good reasons to reach out. Your hopes and needs are what you and I will spend our time on.

Your unique story has provided you with one-of-a-kind experiences to navigate. If you feel you and your future would benefit from confidential support, trained insights, and proven relationship methods, counseling might help you move through a difficult season of life—and move through it in a way that empowers you for the future you desire.

Personally, I want to help you feel at home when you come into my office. I want to hear your story, including your hurts and hopes. I want to hear where life and people have been good to you, and I want to help you explore your choices for self-discovery, healing, growth, and restoration. We already have one thing in common: we are both human beings trying to navigate our lives and relationships and manage our time and our energy. I hope you will experience me as a real person, just like you.

I utilize researched methods proven to work for personal compassion and understanding, healing and growth, thought and behavior modification, increased emotional regulation, trauma processing, and interpersonal communication for relational and parenting effectiveness. The counseling session contains a blend of attentive listening, reflection, curiosity, expressive techniques, validation, empathy, and insight. I believe you are the expert on your situation, or, if you are a parent, you are the expert on your child.

For children specifically, I engage them through play therapy, which allows the child to express their experiences and emotions in their primary language of play. In short, the toys become their words. Working with children includes a balance of parental-caregiver involvement and therapeutic sessions geared for each child’s specific needs.

What about qualifications and experience?

Another really good question. It is important that you find the right fit in a counselor, in particular, a counselor who is qualified in your concern. The choice is always yours as to engage or continue with services. Let me share with you what I bring into the counseling room.

I didn’t have a perfect childhood. I didn’t have perfect schooling or college performance. I don’t have a perfect marriage. And I wasn’t a perfect parent, nor am I a perfect grandparent now. When our four children were small, I worked in the school, serving on and heading various committees, chairing non-profit boards and providing marketing services. As our children entered middle school, I became an art teacher. I taught art education and encouraged art as an expression for youths’ strengths and personal stories. For over two decades, I have served children and teens in varied capacities, and this prompted me to pursue a degree in counseling in order to serve them in an even greater capacity. After receiving my masters in Spiritual Formation, I went on to receive my Masters in Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling. I worked with children in the Head Start program and in Community Mental Health, providing play therapy and child-parent relationship therapy, before opening my private practice in Newberg in 2016.

Why Seek Counseling?

This is such a good question. Why would someone decide to engage in the counseling process? My first answer is, “Don’t do life alone.” There is only so much we can do by ourselves. That is why we join a yoga class or get a group of people together to do a big project. We need the support of others.

And there is only so much we know and understand. That is why we make an appointment with a physical therapist or hire an accountant. We need insight we don’t have.

Family and friends, while they often feel close to us, may also carry bias or influence that can complicate our deep, authentic processing. A counselor’s neutrality and newness to your story may help create the emotional safety to take a fresh look at life.

Lastly, counseling isn’t just about problem-solving. Partnership in exploring everything from daydreams to life goals, developing dormant strengths, or searching for new coping skills are also good reasons to reach out. Your hopes and needs are what you and I will spend our time on.

Your unique story has provided you with one-of-a-kind experiences to navigate. If you feel you and your future would benefit from confidential support, trained insights, and proven relationship methods, counseling might help you move through a difficult season of life—and move through it in a way that empowers you for the future you desire.

Personally, I want to help you feel at home when you come into my office. I want to hear your story, including your hurts and hopes. I want to hear where life and people have been good to you, and I want to help you explore your choices for self-discovery, healing, growth, and restoration. We already have one thing in common: we are both human beings trying to navigate our lives and relationships and manage our time and our energy. I hope you will experience me as a real person, just like you.

I utilize researched methods proven to work for personal compassion and understanding, healing and growth, thought and behavior modification, increased emotional regulation, trauma processing, and interpersonal communication for relational and parenting effectiveness. The counseling session contains a blend of attentive listening, reflection, curiosity, expressive techniques, validation, empathy, and insight. I believe you are the expert on your situation, or, if you are a parent, you are the expert on your child.

For children specifically, I engage them through play therapy, which allows the child to express their experiences and emotions in their primary language of play. In short, the toys become their words. Working with children includes a balance of parental-caregiver involvement and therapeutic sessions geared for each child’s specific needs.

What about qualifications and experience?

Another really good question. It is important that you find the right fit in a counselor, in particular, a counselor who is qualified in your concern. The choice is always yours as to engage or continue with services. Let me share with you what I bring into the counseling room.

I didn’t have a perfect childhood. I didn’t have perfect schooling or college performance. I don’t have a perfect marriage. And I wasn’t a perfect parent, nor am I a perfect grandparent now. When our four children were small, I worked in the school, serving on and heading various committees, chairing non-profit boards and providing marketing services. As our children entered middle school, I became an art teacher. I taught art education and encouraged art as an expression for youths’ strengths and personal stories. For over two decades, I have served children and teens in varied capacities, and this prompted me to pursue a degree in counseling in order to serve them in an even greater capacity. After receiving my masters in Spiritual Formation, I went on to receive my Masters in Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling. I worked with children in the Head Start program and in Community Mental Health, providing play therapy and child-parent relationship therapy, before opening my private practice in Newberg in 2016.

Education and Training

I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and Journalism from Oregon State University—GO BEAVERS! Yes, the chairs in my office are really orange.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling from George Fox University. My studies focused on understanding family systems and providing systems therapy, human growth and development, human sexuality, grief and loss, trauma impacts and interventions, play therapy methodology, child-parent relationship therapy, and expressive interventions.

I also hold a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. My studies focused on knowing self and knowing God, prayer and inner healing, images of God, spirituality and suffering, spirituality and children, and shame and grace. Spirituality can be an essential part of one’s life and can leave some big, big wounds in one’s life. If this is part of your story, I will honor you, no matter what your experience is. We can talk about both, or not. Just let me know.

Because of my interest in trauma recovery, especially for children (and the child within each of us), I have sought additional trainings in child-centered and synergetic play therapy, Theraplay, family trauma recovery, abuse recovery, EMDR (Eye Movement, De-sensitization and Reprocessing), grief and loss, attachment, and interpersonal neurobiology. I am committed to continuing my education, regularly attending relevant workshops and training so as to provide clients with a competent and quality counseling experience.

Licensure and Certifications

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Oregon (C5652).  Additionally, I am registered in the State of Oregon as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (R4341). As an intern, I have acquired the necessary hours of experience for licensure under the regular and qualified supervision of Tony Lai, LPC, RPT-S; and plan to take the licensing exam in the Fall of 2020.

Additionally, I am a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with the Association for Play Therapy, a certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) provider with EMDR International Association, and a certified Spiritual Director.

Ethics

The Oregon State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists is the governing agency ensuring ethical standards for registered interns as well as licensed practitioners in the mental health field. I have studied the Code of Ethics set forth by the American Counseling Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and am committed to abiding by them.