Christine Vazquez, LPC-A, ATR-BC verified by GoodTherapy.org
 

Who I Am

I'm Christine; therapist, listener, nature-lover, poet, faith-full creative

The work that I do is gentle, but full of energy, enthusiasm, and determination.

In other words, I will take a "spirited" approach to helping you, at your own pace, take an active role in your own healing.  My goal is to be with you on your journey of deepening self-awareness and seeing life through the eyes of your True Self. 

I work best with people who:

  • Are overwhelmed by stress, grief, or past trauma

  • Feel discouraged or disempowered

  • Want to use imagination and creativity as a fresh way of approaching therapy

  • Want to slow down and feel more connected with their bodies

  • Are willing to explore and challenge old patterns and beliefs that may no longer serve them

 
My experience:

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina and a Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist.  I am also a Certified Mind Body Medicine Practitioner (I meditate and help others to do so too).  Creativity and Mindfulness have been an important part of both my professional and personal journey.  I love encouraging my clients to use imagination and relaxation for healing because they are amazed and convinced of its value every single time.  My own creativity practices include drawing, writing and reading poetry, music, digging in my garden, spirituality, and meditation. I have worked as an art therapist for over ten years in many different settings and with many wonderful and diverse people.  I am aware of the importance of leading with my patient and compassionate Self and promise to always relate to you from Self in our sessions together.

My Credentials

Counseling

Licensed Professional Counselor, South Carolina #7514

Art Therapy

Registered and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist (ATR-BC)

Master of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy from Hofstra University (2009)

 

Mind Body Medicine

Certified Mind Body Medicine Practitioner

Comprehensive Mind Body Medicine Training at the Center for Mind Body Medicine, Washington, D.C. (2011-2013) 

 
 

Art Psychotherapy

I like to think of therapy as walking a labyrinth.  A labyrinth is not a maze, but a walking meditation tool with a single winding path that leads you to the center and continues as you return to the outside.  It represents the journey inward to our True Self and then back out into the world.  Just like walking a labyrinth, therapy can help calm our anxieties, help us during periods of transition or stress, guide healing, deepen self-awareness, enhance creativity and foster personal and spiritual growth.  Each person's journey is special, meaningful, and unique.

What to expect:

Depending on what is happening in your world or in your thoughts or feelings, I might encourage you to use one or more therapeutic techniques to help you move through uncomfortable or stuck emotions.  In sessions I might ask you to create a picture or writing, I'll lead you in a meditation or guided imagery, or help you to have a dialogue with parts of you that are becoming activated.  I'll explain more about these below.  You can also learn about some of the other techniques I use here. 

My work is rooted in three major modalities:

What is Parts Work?

We all have many "parts" within us that help us and protect us.  These parts may consist of thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations ("A part of me thinks, or a part of me feels...") that may be pleasant or unpleasant.  We also all innately hold within us our "True Self".  Your True Self is the real you, the person you are at the core, the person you can be if nothing were to hold you back.  When we are led by our True Self, we see the world and relate to ourselves and others more clearly and authentically.  Parts Work involves having a dialogue with those parts within us that have become unpleasantly extreme and have taken over the pureness of our True Self. 

What is Creative Arts Therapy?

"Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality.

Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns,

to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions."

(creativityatwork.com) 

You don't have to be an artist to benefit from art therapy.  You just need to tap into your imagination which can be easy to do when you are feeling focused and relaxed.  Everyone has the potential to be creative; whether it be in thought, speech, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, praying, loving, or just being.  Art therapy helps us to connect our inner world of thoughts, feelings, and perceptions to our outer world and experiences.  Being creative can be therapeutic and cathartic.  Being expressive, or creating pieces in therapy is not always about the finished product or meeting any societal standards of beauty or value.  You will not be judged by the works you do.  Creative expression is about the process, self-discovery, insight, and allowing space for our non-analytical brain to have a voice and to share its wisdom. 

 

What is Mindfulness and Meditation?

Mindfulness is being aware in the present moment, of thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations without judgement, by observing and just "being".  It feels good to slow down, slow and deepen our breathing and focus in on the moment without thoughts of the past or worry for the future.  Meditation helps to untangle confusion in our minds, helps us make more sense of things and can even help solve problems.  Depending on what is happening for you, or what you need to work on, I will lead you in a specific guided meditation for that purpose.  

Parts Work   /   Expressive Arts   /  Meditation/Mindfulness

Additional Techniques

Deep Breathing

With the stress of daily life, many of us tend to breathe shallowly, which raises blood pressure and heart rate and increases anxiety. Deep breathing (either slowly in meditation or fast when dancing), on the other hand, improves your body’s ability to bring in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Deep breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body.  Such breathing also lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, and improves cardiac function.

 
 

Groups 

In 2011 I was given an amazing opportunity to attend an intense training over two years with the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Washington D.C. and San Antonio.  As part of the training, I learned to facilitate Mind Body Skills groups and was a participant of one also.  In 2013 I became certified as a Mind Body Medicine Practitioner and have witnessed the transforming effects this model has had on the people I have had the pleasure of working with including, Vietnam Veterans with PTSD, female adolescents with trauma backgrounds, and individuals in a substance abuse recovery program, to name a few.  

Personally, I have immersed myself in the techniques I learned and over the years have implemented them into my own life and work.  I am proud to now offer Mind Body Skills groups virtually along with my colleagues from CMBM.  There are many benefits of being part of a group, however, if you choose to work with me individually only, you will find that I incorporate the techniques into counseling sessions as well.

 

 

What is a Mind Body Skills group?

Mind Body Skills Groups are facilitated according to the guidelines CMBM and provide a safe and supportive small group environment to gently begin the journey towards self-discovery, reducing and relieving stress and creating optimal health.  Participants learn a series of powerful and effective, research-based healing tools to help explore life changes, stress, and well- being in an intimate and supportive group setting.  Anyone can benefit from the deepening self-awareness that comes from these explorations, as well as people who have a particular health or life challenge they want to understand more about.

 
What are the benefits of being part of a group?

Group-work has many benefits for participants including increasing awareness of how one relates to others, having the opportunity to give and receive support, and realizing one is not alone in their suffering, among others.  It is a powerful tool for growth and change.   Mind-Body Skills Groups offer a supportive atmosphere and an exploration of many mind-body approaches,  The group is designed not only to teach mind-body skills, but also to help participants develop a deeper level of awareness in the sharing of experience among group members.  The result is an increased ability to cope with the emotional, physical and psychological challenges that face us in our daily lives.  Groups naturally facilitate deep wisdom and connection among members.​

 

Benefits include:
  • Decreased Physical Symptoms of Illness

  • Better Coping Skills

  • Positive Perceptions on Life                                    

  • Increased Self-Awareness

 

 

 

What can I expect from participating in a group?

The practice of relaxed, moment-to-moment awareness is essential for proper self-care.  The key to stress management is experiencing your emotions fully and moving through them, rather than becoming stuck in them.  The first step is to become aware of your emotions; the next step is to express them.  Meditation helps you to develop self-awareness; verbal and creative expression (art, journaling, movement) helps you to move through those emotions. ​

 

Group participants have experienced:
  • A Decrease in Depression and Anxiety - a heightened sense of well-being and engagement in life

  • Better Coping Skills - useful tools for managing pain, chronic illness, stress, anxiety and depression

  • Fewer Physical Symptoms - less pain, less fatigue, and more energy

  • Enhanced Immune System Functioning - to help the body mobilize itself against illness

  • Greater Self-Awareness, Positive Perceptions of their Life - making it easier to handle stress and illness

 

 

 

Mind-Body Skills Groups help people to transform the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions of their lives:

Reduce and Relieve Stress / Increase Resistance to Disease / Create Optimal Health

 

 

Mind-Body Skills are the single most important and best decumented way to deal with the stress that contributes to chronic illness. Groups offer significant benefits for people with chronic illness including:

Cancer, Depression and Anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Fertility Issues,

Arthritis, Diabetes,  Post Traumatic Stress

 

 

Mind-Body Skills Groups are beneficial for people dealing with life changes:

Divorce, Separation, Bereavement, Severe Stress, Menopause

What Skills will I be practicing?

Groups are highly experiential and integrate techniques that will empower your growth through effective research proven skills.  For a description of each skill visit the techniques page   ​

 

 
Who can benefit from joining a Mind Body Skills group?

Anyone can benefit from joining a Mind-Body Skills group including people who already practice some mind-body skills.  Groups are comprised of people of all ages and backgrounds.  The common theme is the desire to seek support and develop internal resources to make changes - whether to decrease stress, pain or anxiety, enhance health and well-being, or find clarity about important life decisions.  The Mind-Body Skills Group model recognizes and embraces individual differences: participants are given an opportunity to explore a variety of methods, and to take the time to listen inwardly to learn more about their own needs.

 

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The Center for Mind Body Medicine

I am proud to be a part of the Center for Mind Body Medicine's family of practitioners.  As a Mind Body Medicine Practitioner, I am certified to facilitate Mind Body Skills groups. You can learn more about groups here.

The Center for Mind-Body Medicine is the world’s leader in successfully addressing population-wide psychological trauma.  Since its founding, CMBM has developed a model of self-care, social support, and community building that has transformed practices and outcomes in health care. The Mind Body Skills Group is a meditative group model involving Mind Body Medicine theory and practice. According to Dr. James Gordon, a psychiatrist and founder of the Center for Mind Body Medicine in Washington DC, “self care is the true primary care” and “health promotion is a way of life”. Dr Gordon advises health care professionals and patients to embrace a holistic, individualized approach to health and draw upon the wisdom of ancient medical traditions.  There is growing evidence of the immense healing potential of this program for diverse populations. These include healthy people who want to enhance self awareness and well being as well as those with clinical conditions, such as cancer, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and severe stress, particularly when used in combination with conventional health-care services.

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CMBM has successfully worked with population-wide trauma in communities challenged by war, poverty, mass shootings, climate-related disasters, opioid addiction, and genocide. In response to the unprecedented psychological trauma of the Covid-19 pandemic, CMBM  most recently launched an innovative online program of  self-care and social support for healthcare workers and those afflicted by Covid-19 that is designed to strengthen their resilience as well as relieve the symptoms of psychological stress and trauma.

For more information, visit 

CMBM in the Media

 

Contact Me

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803-681-3326                    CHRISTINEVAZQUEZ.ATRBC@GMAIL.COM

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