Trauma-informed therapy

to help you feel authentic and alive.

Hello.  I'm rebecca pancoast, lpc.  

I'm passionate about experiential therapy that is science-informed, non-pathologizing, and rooted in relationship.  My clients tend to be thoughtful people who are interested in discovering new ways to relate to themselves.  

I specialize in Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy, working with complex trauma and dissociative disorders, and helping individuals with chronic illness heal their relationship to their bodies.  

I might be your therapist if: 

  • You value self-discovery 

  • You want to feel more embodied 

  • Learning about your brain feels helpful & supportive 

  • You are looking for a relational approach to trauma healing that honors working at your pace

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It is possible to feel better. 

I'm excited to help you learn how.

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introduction to

my specialties

True self-discovery.  There is a way to feel safe to be yourself , heal trauma, and return to center in even the most challenging circumstances.  IFS works with the natural energy and information flow of our brains to understand and honor protection, differentiate hurt or traumatized parts of us from our Self, and learn how to live in the present.

Finding Peace in the Body.   When you live with chronic health issues, it's natural to feel angry at your body.  No one plans for a future of pain, invasive medical procedures, and unexpected limitations.  While people often "get" that the anger and self-criticism that comes with chronic health issues can make physical symptoms worse, simply pointing that out is unhelpful and shaming.  Compassion-focused therapy welcomes all facets of your experience and opens up new possibilities in your relationship to your body and your health. 

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therapy When trauma was ongoing.  When a person experiences shock and abuse, their body learns to stay alive by staying in a stress-response state.  Though necessary during the time of the trauma, eventually, prolonged activation of the nervous system takes a significant toll on physical, emotional, and relational wellbeing.  Therapy that moves toward this activation without agenda or judgement can help shake loose the the pain and shame that accompanies trauma while offering a new experience. 

therapy when survival meant separation.  Dissociation occurs when the brain, body, and mind lose coherence and begin operating as if separate.  Dissociation can be small, like getting a little foggy when a big emotion is at the door, or bigger, like feeling as if your reflection doesn’t really belong to you.  Sometimes, when it's necessary, the brain will adapt to trauma by creating significant disconnection between thoughts, parts (sometimes called states), and memories.  Approaching dissociation with respect and curiosity supports your internal system in its natural desire to move toward healing and coherence.  

 

the science of healing:

how therapy informed by ipnb leads us home 

Often too much of our time feels lost in efforts or activities that have no real substance or meaning for us.  We want to feel free, creative, and authentic, but we get caught up in self-criticism, perfectionism, or just surviving day to day.  What we need most is flexibility and choice, but we feel trapped in rigid patterns or a sense that it's impossible to plan for what's coming next.  When we try to change by enforcing an external structure that works against our native patterns and adaptations, we might feel successful for a moment, but most of the time we find ourselves back in the same cycle of rigidity or chaos.  By learning to follow first, lead second, we can return home to what really matters and begin to live more authentically.   

What is IPNB?

Early in his career, Dr. Daniel Seigel recognized that across psychological disciplines there was no coherent definition for “mind” or even what the fields meant by “mental health.”  With that observation, he began to develop a theory that emphasized the importance of relationship and integration.  He called this new field of inquiry "Interpersonal Neurobiology" (IPNB).  In the decades that followed this discovery he and dozens of other visionaries would weave together knowledge from neuroscience, physics, anthropology, mathematics, computer science, and other disciplines to begin to understand the true nature of the human mind.

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As an IPNB-informed therapist, I hold that the mind is an emergent and relational process.  This means that human beings require an "other" to come into being and in each moment of connection we co-create our realities.  I use this knowledge as a reminder that therapy rooted in safe, healthy relationship is inherently a collaborative process.  Both client and therapist are changed in the therapeutic space.  

 

I also hold that the natural state of the human brain is integration.  IPNB defines integration as a moment when the various structures of the embodied brain are in communication with one another.  We can assess integration by how flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized, and stable we feel.  Moving between integration and dis-integration is a normal part of daily life, however, dis-integration can become our default state when reactivity to threat or dissociation from terror or pain is what is most adaptive in our early environments.  As your therapist, my job would be to help you discover areas where dis-integration was advantageous to your survival then help you learn how to step into a compassionate, observational state to witness that experience.  Over time, the more neural integration you experience in and our of the therapeutic space, the more your brain will naturally heal itself. 

Author Bonnie Badenoch says that it's more important for therapists to trust their clients than for clients to trust their therapists.  I trust you to move at the pace that's right for you, to protect yourself however you need, and to take in new information only when you're ready.  That's why I don't believe in "resistance" or "regression" in therapeutic work.  Everything you bring to our time together is important information.  My hope is that over time I can help you learn to trust yourself as much as I will trust you. 

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why Deep Healing is

Always Radical

It can be frightening or painful to hear a therapist say that you aren’t broken.  Part of you knows that can’t be true.  Your trauma, your body—something about you—needs to be fixed.  Why else would you be in therapy?  Yet, I believe there's something more essential inside of all of us that longs to strip away the grinding expectation that we need to change somehow in order to be loved and accepted.  What would it be like to engage in a healing process that steps outside systems that degrade, dehumanize, and diminish you and step into true self-love?  

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One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began.

- Mary Oliver