Blu Wilkins, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
My compassion and dedication to every client’s therapeutic process shines through my work. I honor every client’s individual values, perspectives, and goals and will embrace your uniqueness with open arms. I understand on a personal level, having gone into therapy to overcome many battles myself, that working on oneself is not always easy. You must be brave, motivated to heal, and have the strength and self-awareness to seek help. If you have the strength to take these steps, you have the strength within yourself to address your issues and heal your struggles. With dedication, strength, and guidance you will find your healing path.
Throughout the last eight years I have worked with a vast range of diagnoses, which has given me a wide spectrum of understanding and experience. The outcome of this is finely illustrated in my work with my clients today.
My extensive work as a therapist began in Santa Barbara, where I worked at The Community Counseling Center. There I was given the opportunity to work with Children, Teens, and Adults from all walks of life. I worked closely with children suffering from Attachment Disorders, ADD, ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Educating parents during family sessions was a large piece of my work with children. I also worked with teens struggling from Eating Disorders, Abuse Issues, Social Phobias, as well as many of the common disorders affecting adults. These disorders include: Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Divorce and Bereavement.
During my two years at the Community Counseling Center I also ran a support group at the Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club. At the Boys and Girls Club I worked with low-income families from a variety of ethnic backgrounds suffering in many ways. These families often had domestic violence issues going on in the home, which lead to acting out behaviors in the children that I worked closely with.
After two years of working at The Boys and Girls Club and at The Community Counseling Center, I transitioned into working with Mentally Ill clients at Sanctuary Psychiatric Centers of Santa Barbara. While at Sanctuary I became very skilled in working with patients suffering from debilitating mental illnesses. These mental illnesses consisted of Bipolar 1 and 11, PTSD, Delusional Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia, and several others. Ninety percent of the patients at Sanctuary were also dually diagnosed, which meant that patient’s treatment plans focused heavily on their relapse prevention plans.
After working at Sanctuary for three and a half years I moved on to a new population in hopes to continue my growth as a therapist. My new focus became working directly with teenagers in gangs and gang families in Los Angeles as well as with foster kids who had found themselves in the Juvenile Justice System. I worked closely with these teens, meeting with them on a daily basis. I helped them learn new coping skills, I taught them communication skills, I helped each teen find a healthy release for their anger, I helped them understand generational patterns, I prepared them for the obstacles that they were likely to encounter when returning home, and I helped them to set goals for their future. I worked with this population for two years before finally moving back home to Wisconsin, to be close to my own family.
Shortly after my permanent return to Wisconsin, I was given a position as a therapist at the Oshkosh Counseling Wellness Center. Through my new professional connections in Oshkosh, I was also invited to write for the Oshkosh SCENE newspaper. I now have a permanent monthly column, titled “Take Care,” that reaches a regular audience of 15,000+ per month. With the increased community recognition, I have been invited to speak at a variety of local events with many organizations such as: The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, the Boys and Girls Club, and various other Diversity and Women’s Events.
As my personal experience and professional paths expanded, I outgrew the confines and outdated practices of conventional therapy offices. In July of this year, I branched out and opened the doors to Respect Counseling Center, LLC in downtown Oshkosh, where I utilize new technology, research and expertise. As I moved to my new location, I was dedicated to creating a warm, inviting and comfortable atmosphere, where I now see clients.
My education is also worth noting, as I attended two very respected and innovative research Universities in psychology and social science. I received my B.A at the New School for Social Research in New York City, a prominent school in the most diverse city, increasing my cultural awareness first hand, in a way I would have never been exposed to in Wisconsin. As a student at the New School I was accepted into their Art Therapy program, a two-year program that focused solely on finding self-expression through creative processes. Through this program I perfected ways of using modalities such as music, sound, imagery, role, movement, and creative arts. Using the creative arts in therapy with clients has helped me to tap into their expressive aspect of the mind, body, and spirit promoting self-actualization and healing. The wealth of knowledge and understanding I absorbed at the New School has played a pivotal role in my work with my clients and provides a wonderful base for my additional studies and master’s focus.
After graduating from the New School I moved to Santa Barbara California to attend Antioch University’s specialty-focused Marriage and Family Therapy program. Antioch utilizes a very unique approach to teaching students how to become the best Marriage and Family Therapists possible. With every lesson taught, the students were asked to show their understanding of each concept through writing essays about how a therapist would apply this if they were working with our own families. This approach caused every one of us to completely analyze our individual upbringing, our family patterns, traditions, and unspoken rules, from every possible angle. Going along with that same approach of self-discovery before one attempts to help others, Antioch also required their students to be in their own personal therapy. Having gone through self-analysis through this program, I uniquely understand both sides of therapy and how and when to apply the many therapy models. The innovative and hands-on program at Antioch helps me relate to my clients and sets me apart from conventional therapists. This training has given me the ability to stay entirely focused on the client’s issues.
MASTER’S IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 2005 Antioch University, Santa Barbara, CA Major – Clinical Psychology Educational Emphasis in MFT – Marriage and Family Therapy
BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 2003 The New School for Social Research, New York, NY Major – Psychology, Educational Emphasis in Art Therapy
ADDITIONAL WORKSHOPS, TRAININGS AND SEMINARS: Structural Family Therapy, Eating disorders, Using Metaphor, Crisis Intervention, Patient Rights, Recovery Through Social Skills, Sand Tray, and the use of Counter Transference.