Learn more about
Katie Zimmermann, M.S.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
I believe that everyone has the underlying potential to experience fulfillment and satisfaction in their life, and if the roadblocks are removed, people can and will find joy, self-compassion, and balance. I believe in the powerful nature of the therapeutic relationship, and am grateful for my time collaborating with clients to increase their insight and awareness, and heighten their ability to experience gratification. I am genuine and candid with those I work with, and enjoy utilizing humor, playfulness, and exploration in therapy to promote healing.
Much of my experience stems from working with people who are overcoming significant life adversity, or feeling “stuck” in their existence. The impact of complex trauma, dissatisfaction with one’s self, or repeated experiences of feeling unloved, unworthy, or rejected can shape our view of the world, ourselves, and others in a pervasively negative and often unhelpful way. In working with several clients who have been affected by trauma, abuse, addiction, eating disorders, self-criticism, and relational difficulties, I have found a combination of approaches that when integrated and uniquely tailored to the individual, create positive change.
I integrate aspects of Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroplasticity, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy), Narrative Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and the Gottman Method when working with couples. I also frequently use behavioral, somatic experiencing, Sandtray, and Gestalt Therapy techniques to further people’s progress in therapy.
Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroplasticity relate to the scientific study of the strengths that each of us inherently have, and the power of our minds. Science shows us that we can actually change our brain in ways that will promote more of the feelings we want to be experiencing, and allow us to respond more adaptively to uncomfortable situations, thoughts, and emotions. Through gained awareness and the cultivation of specific skills and practices, we can actually create permanent structural change in our brain, which can lead to an increase in desired feelings and behaviors. I find this an incredible resource for people who are feeling stuck in their efforts to overcome discomfort with themselves, their life experiences, and their emotions.
Narrative therapy focuses on separating people from their problems, allowing us to find hope in the realization that we do not have to be defined by our history, our emotions, or our thoughts. This approach assists us in developing a more balanced and advantageous view of our experiences and ourselves.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a specialized approach for treating trauma and compulsive behaviors. According to the EMDR International Association in 2016, EMDR accomplishes effective treatment of trauma and unwanted behavior by “setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be ‘digested’ and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded.” Prior to being trained in EMDR, I felt that there was something missing in my treatment of trauma, addiction, and people’s distorted perceptions. In my opinion, EMDR fills this gap by allowing us to address the aspects of trauma and adversity that are stored in the body (sensory information) and often hidden from awareness.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy combines acceptance and mindfulness strategies with behavior-change techniques in order to help us learn to better respond to difficult situations and feelings. We learn to not fear our emotions, and how to not react in undesirable ways in response to uncomfortable emotional states. This approach assists us in identifying our values (what is most important to us in life), and then moves us toward living a life in accordance with those values, rather than in accordance with our volatile emotions.
The Gottman Method is a therapeutic approach used with couples, which allows the couple to manage conflict more effectively, create ways to support one another’s dreams and desires, and become better friends through greater understanding and awareness of nine specific components of healthy relationships that research shows are present when romantic relationships are thriving.
Overall, I enjoy getting to know the people I work with on a deep and meaningful level, where we are able explore life’s brilliance and tragedies as respective partners working toward the same goal. I enjoy creative freedom in my therapeutic endeavors with clients, and often employ intuitive and novel activities in therapy to increase the progress and energy in the therapeutic work. Our existence is filled with struggles and despair, and if we are going to work through that in therapy, I believe we also need to explore the fun, adventure, love, humor, and goodness that accompanies living. Rather than waiting for these positive aspects of life to occur and be experienced after healing has taken place, I intend to highlight those qualities of life during all stages of therapy, including bringing them into the therapeutic relationship itself.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Here are some links to learn more about the approaches Katie utilizes in therapy:
EMDR (for trauma, adverse life events/abuse, compulsions, addictions, and negative self image):
The Gottman Method (for couples): https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/
Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroplasticity:
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT):
Check out Katie’s recommended reading list…
For Anyone Human
“When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times” – by Pema Chodron
“The Mindful Path to Self Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions” – by Christopher Germer
“Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” – by Kristen Neff
For Understanding Complex Trauma
“The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” – by Besse van der Kolk M.D.
“Walking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” – by Peter Levine
“The Relationship Cure” – by John Gottman
“The Science of Trust: Emotional Attunement for Couples” – by John Gottman
“Gott Sex?” – by The Gottman Institute
For Anyone Who Knows Addiction
“Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy” – by David Sheff
“Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery” – by Eric Spiegelman
“In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction” – by Gabor Mate
“Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary Way of Understanding Addiction” – by Maia Szalavitz