Jen Leftwich, Supervisee in Social Work

Supervised by Tina Motley, LCSW

I have dedicated my clinical focus to the treatment of psychological wounding. Like physical trauma leaves visible scars as evidence of something having happened to you, wounding experiences also can leave a trail of evidence in our thoughts, emotions, bodies, beliefs, and perceptions that can impact our senses of self and safety, relationships, and quality of life. While what happens to us matters, how we respond matters more, and I believe we are more capable than the lies trauma can create would have us believe. I believe we are all just trying to feel safe and secure in who we are and what we do as we try to reconcile life’s competing truths, part of which has sometimes been us just trying to survive. I see adults ages 18 and up for traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, general “life stress” and changes, divorce and relationship stress and strain, and chronic pain. I am highly conscientious of the roles moral injury, grief, and loss play in these experiences, and I use evidence-based treatment interventions. I believe in the importance of safety, trust, empathy, and empowerment in the therapeutic relationship, am person-centered and strengths-based starting where you are and emphasize how attachment experiences have impacted your sense of self, identity, and safety. I am trained in basic EMDR and am under consultation to become certified, utilize lots of trauma and brain science psychoeducation, incorporate ego state therapy and parts work for dissociation/fragmentation as trauma impacts our personality development, and apply a meaning-centered/existential style that is strengths-based with the belief in growth from pain and our body and brain’s innate capabilities for healing. As a Christian who believes in the restorative truth of Jesus’ teaching, I also support my clients in integrating their faith, as comfortable, through the use of applied scripture and prayer, as well as provide a safe and nonjudgmental place to explore crisis of faith responses to distressing and traumatic events.

I was raised in southern California, played NCAA Division 1 college volleyball, got injured (hence my understanding and empathy surrounding chronic pain), and found my way into the console under the headset in 911 emergency communications. That was followed by experience in inpatient psychiatric care where I treated military veterans and first responders within the VA healthcare system. I have a soft spot and big heart for providing care to law enforcement, firefighting, pre-hospital EMS healthcare, 911 emergency communications, and hospital healthcare professionals. I blend my personal experience as the family member and spouse of first responders and USMC/USA/USN veterans, and my professional experience working in 911 emergency communications, with my clinical education and training. I can appreciate what comes with a life of service from many perspectives. I understand the slowly changing hyper-stoic culture of paramilitary organizations where help-seeking is accompanied with shame and feelings of weakness. I understand that it’s not always the calls that are getting to you, but the leadership and culture and sometimes feeling betrayed by the very people on whom you depend for survival. You are not weak. It takes guts to show up for yourself the way you show up for others. I’d be humbly proud to walk with you as you do this.

The basics:

MSW Clinical Social Work – Virginia Commonwealth University

MA Trauma and Crisis Response Human Services Counseling – Liberty University

BS Psychology – Regent University

Certified Trauma Professional

Certified First Responder Counselor Associate (CFRA)

CCISM and peer support – ICISF, Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program, UMBC PACE