Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Complex/Developmental Trauma, Relational Health, Veterans
Leah offers free consultations, please contact her to see if you all are a good fit.
Currently, all appointment times are full. Contact Leah if you'd like to join her waitlist.
Leah is passionate about supporting new moms and dads, helping them navigate their transition into parenthood both individually and as a couple, and adults whom struggle with maintaining their long-term relationships. Leah is a clinician who can meet you in your worry and pain while being encouraging and motivating. She loves to work with improving how people talk to themselves and others, while not losing motivation to keep (or get) their lives and relationships where they want them to be. She is trained at the Masters level in NeuroAffective Relational Model, a specialized training for Complex/Developmental Trauma, Emotional Transformation Therapy, and Relational Life Therapy for couples.
Leah is a clinician at IPNB Psychotherapy of Austin that helps new moms, veterans, and emotionally distant couples develop an authentic connection with themselves and others, so they can experience genuine acceptance, joy, and fulfillment in life.
She believes that as children we are all forced to disconnect from our true, authentic selves and develop adaptive relational strategies in response to environmental failures. Although at the time strategies like perfectionism, people pleasing, caretaking, ruminating, self-shaming, and extreme independence are brilliant and highly effective at maintaining the attachment relationship with our caregivers, they later become a barrier to deep connection with ourselves and others.
She came to this work after her own liberating therapy experience. At an early age she decided it was her responsibility to break the cycle of generational trauma in my family. Under the weight of that burden, she developed perfectionist strategies with a fierce inner critic. These strategies served her well throughout High School and her military career in the Marine Corps, allowing her to perform well and achieve recognition, but they wreaked havoc on her self-esteem and interpersonal relationships.
Through her self healing and professional journey, she has learned to meet herself with compassion and curiosity in place of shame and judgement. It sounds simplistic, but this shift has been the cornerstone to her healing and is at the heart of her therapeutic work. She believes holding a space of genuine curiosity, compassion, and acceptance for her clients and their experiences creates a space for them to discover and overcome the early adaptive strategies that are now getting in the way of their heart's pure desires. She feels honored to have the opportunity to hold a safe space for others to reconnect with their authentic selves.
During her downtime, she loves spending quality time with her husband and her three boys. She enjoys outdoor activities, and deepening her understanding about complex trauma. Leah also takes pleasure in flexing her creativity muscle through crafting, woodworking, and painting.
Q&A with Leah Parker
How does talking to someone help?
Most conversations we have in our daily lives are superficial. We are constantly filtering our thoughts, words, and actions to maintain social norms because we desire approval and acceptance. Unfortunately, this means the opportunity to fully put down the social mask is rare. The opportunity to talk to someone without the fear of being judged is freeing. Having all the restrictions and expectations stripped away creates a space to be vulnerable, and we can express the uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even shameful things that are bothering us. It is important to have this space, because when feelings are silenced they tend to grow and can become quite scary. The ability to give voice to your inner turmoil and have it reflected back gives clarity and insight. The very act of applying words to our experiences, feelings, and fears releases some of their energy and power over us. They start to become more manageable, and over time need less attention and resources.
Another benefit of talking with someone is their ability to offer a fresh perspective and additional resources. It is easy to get stuck in a negative loop and only see the deficits in our lives. An outside perspective can help us find the silver lining, and remind us of our strengths. It is also easier for someone who is not directly affected by a problem to think of possible solutions we may not have. When facing difficult feelings it is comforting to have someone close. They are able to offer courage during our fear, be a calming source during the chaos, and act as a beacon of light in the darkness. In the event the feelings and thoughts become overwhelming, they can offer tools to ease the intensity. Finally allowing those big emotions to be tolerable and get the attention they need. In turn, the parts that are crying out have the opportunity to be heard, met and find peace.
What is your first question for a client, and why?
“If our time together provided you with everything you need to live your best life, how would you know our work was done?”. I phrase the question in this way for two reasons. First, I take a collaborative approach and want to ensure I have clarity about my client's goals right away. Having them explain what their best life looks like, gives us very clear and tangible goals to work towards. This way, I can ensure every decision I make during our time together is in service to their overarching desires. Second, It invites their mind to drift into a happy place. This shift in thinking allows the mind to accept the possibility of a positive outcome and sets a productive tone for the session.
What is the best thing you have learned from one of your people?
To be transparent, I really struggled with this question, because I don’t know that there is any one best thing! I think moreover, the best thing I have learned about people is how incredibly resilient people are. It has taught me no matter how ugly the scar, how deep the hole, scary the thought, or traumatic the event there is always hope for healing and growth. We can overcome our darkest moments, but sometimes we just need a little help finding the light to guide us.