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
It is possible to feel better.
I'm excited to help you learn how.
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 constant pain, invasive medical procedures, and unexpected limitations. While people often "get" that the anger and self-criticism that comes with these experiences 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.
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
For many of us, too much of our time feels lost in efforts or activities that have no real substance or meaning. 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. By following the natural energy and information flow of our brains and learning to relate to our experience in a new way, there is a way to return home to ourselves.
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 how the true nature of the human mind.
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 as a reminder that therapy rooted in safe, healthy relationship is inherently a collaborative process and both client and therapist are changed in the therapeutic space.
I also hold that the natural state of the human brain is integration. In this case, integration means that 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. Dis-integration can become our default state when reactivity to threat or dissociation from terror or pain is what is most adaptive to our environment.
For example, if I didn't know whether or not my caregiver would be joyful, depressed, or enraged in a given moment, my embodied brain and nervous system might adapt dis-integrated states of hypervigilence and shut down. As an adult, I might vacillate between feeling incredibly anxious and lost in depression. As your therapist, my job would be to help you discover areas where dis-integration was advantageous to your survival and help you learn to step into a compassionate, observational state to witness that experience. Over time, the more neural integration you experience, 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 work 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.
why Deep Healing is
It can be frightening and 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 who we are and step into true self-love?
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began.
- Mary Oliver