A Space to Thrive is a counseling practice providing trauma-informed care, rooted in the conviction that all people deserve a kind, compassionate, and trustworthy space to heal, to restore, and to move toward thriving.

 I use the image of a pink daisy with a bumble bee–a photo I took many years ago–as a way of grounding myself in the core values of my practice.  I love that there is a petal with a hole torn in it–this imperfection reminds me that there is beauty in the rugged places and despite our scars, we still have immense value and worth.  I have this mantra that I say to myself, “Bloom Anyway” and it is a reminder that in order to bloom, we must first be buried, navigate the darkness, come through the dirt, and push our way into light.  It is an inspiring metaphor for healing and recovery.  And the bee!  I love this little beastie friend.  Bees symbolize community, light, and personal strength.  We follow the bee to find life, nourishment, and our new destination.

Counseling is at the very heart of all the services we provide at A Space to Thrive.  My passion for holding healing space for others is born out of my own experiences surviving complex trauma and traumatic grief and loss.  I’ve had some amazing experiences with therapists and some less than wonderful experiences in support groups and spaces.  I use all of these experiences along with my education and continued professional development to shape and inform my clinical practice with my clients.  I work to smash the stigmas that stand in the way of people who are hurting receiving the care, compassion, and counseling they need to move from darkness into the light.

Dreamkeepers Coaching is one of my favorite heartworks (I have many favorites 🙂 ).  I am inspired by people’s vision, dreams, and passion for whatever it is that gives them life.  Being a Dreamkeeper myself, I have a long history of evaluating systems, creating new programs, implementing sustainable changes, training others in the new system, and fostering support from those involved.  When I was a teen, I worked in a camp kitchen during the summers.  I observed the inefficient and frustrating dynamics due to lack of order and training.  I created a system of assigned roles and rotating responsibilities and pitched my proposal to the camp director.  She let me try it out for the summer and my new system became the standard operating procedure.  

Since then, I have continued to live by the idea of, “we don’t have it, but we need it?  Great, let’s create it!”  I’ve founded a number of community arts programs that have sustained over years and various leaders.  I have championed the dreams of friends and colleagues.  My brain is a unique collection of out-of-the-box creativity and highly organized executive functioning…think messy artist who loves creating spreadsheets and policy manuals.  Weird, I know!  If you have a dream but not sure where or how to start, let’s have a conversation.  I’d love to help you make and follow a plan that will move you toward and through your goals!

Cultivating a space for professional development is another of my passions.  I love the didactic component of facilitating workshops and trainings.  I like to think my creative approach and wildly hilarious wit make for an engaging and enjoyable experience.  I believe that we all go farther, together and it is a waste of our precious energy to reinvent the wheel on our own each time.  If I have resources that can help you do the work you need to do, I would love to share.  

I also realize that my area of specialization: working with survivors of complex trauma via psychological, emotional, and spiritual/religious abuse is a still-new territory for many of my colleagues in the mental health field and in other professional areas.  If I can bring trauma-informed insight, understanding, and tools to medical professionals, social workers, attorneys, spiritual leaders, teachers, and others in helping professions, there is a chance that more people will get the care they need more quickly and completely.  Whether it’s a brown-bag Lunch & Learn at your office, a professional development training at your agency, or a keynote seminar for your event, I’d love to talk with you about what trainings and topics I offer.

Creating is a vital component to the work of healing and becoming.  I believe that in the counseling process, we are actually creating the self that we have always been (but maybe were never allowed to be).  I love to engage clients in creative process using visual art, poetry, collage, art journaling, writing prompts, and movement.  There are places in our brain that have no language for what we feel and remember and think and know, creative process connects us to those parts of ourselves and shifts the stuckness of trauma to free us into deeper healing.  You don’t have to know anything about art or creating to use this process with me.  Part of our healing and recovery process includes learning how to play and wonder again.  Creative play gives us space to explore, make mistakes, paint over them, try again, practice, and in our resilience, we make beauty out of our pain.

Artwork by Jennifer Alumbaugh, LMFT

And one more C, because I am a writer who loves alliteration: Collaboration.  I’m a big believer in the philosophy that “Together, we thrive” and that very little of value or sustainability can be created in isolation.  I love to celebrate the work my colleagues are doing, refer clients to those therapists who have different strengths and areas of specialization, and work together on projects that bring healing, awareness, and empowerment to our community.  One collaboration I have is a monthly guest spotlight in my Therapist Thoughts blog where I invite or interview local professionals to share about their passion projects and areas of specialization.  I love to learn from the voices of others and want to use my platform to share those voices with you.  If you have an idea for a collaboration, contact me…I love talking about ideas!

Interested in connecting?  Contact Jennifer at: 210-382-4155 or jennifer@aspacetothrive.com.