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Pronouns: she/her/hers
Telehealth link:

**Cara currently only has limited openings for adults. Website will be updated when child openings come available**

Cara received her Master's and Education Specialist degrees in counseling from the University of Central Missouri. Prior to working in a private setting, Cara worked as a school counselor for five years. She sees clients ages 4 to 99+ and specializes in the areas of anxiety, trauma, body image, perinatal (pre-conception through postpartum) and the Autism spectrum. Cara utilizes a blend of approaches, tailored to fit each client's need. Cara is trained from a person-centered perspective, where client and counselor partner to reach the client's goals. In this mindset the counselor treats each client as the expert on their own life and believes that partnering can help the client discover solutions they already possess. The relationship between counselor and client is key, and Cara strives to create trusting, safe, non-judgemental, and compassionate relationships with all her clients in order for them to reach their highest potential. Person-centered therapy involves mostly talk, with the counselor in the primary role of listener and reflector. Cara also utilizes a variety of other therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT),  Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and Play Therapy, depending on to each client's needs and strengths. 


Samantha Kates, MS, PLPC, NCC - Counselor
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Supervised by Cara Gruhala

Samantha received her Master’s in Counseling from the University of Central Missouri. She works with clients ages 4 to 99+ and has experience in the areas of anxiety, depression, self-esteem, life transitions, school issues, and relationships. Through an integrative approach,Samantha utilizes a variety of therapeutic tools to support clients in discovering and building their strengths. Operating from a person-centered lens, she values the counselor- client relationship and desires to create a space that is trusting, compassionate, empowering and safe for all. Implementing tools from Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Expressive Arts Therapy, and Person-Centered therapy allows for counseling to be tailored to the needs of each individual. There is something beautiful in walking alongside others as they discover their own solutions and strengths. Samantha is passionate about supporting people in their journey to deeper understanding, processing, and healing.

Krista Gomez Gonzalez, PLPC, NCC - Counselor
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Supervised by Cara Gruhala

Krista is passionate about walking alongside others in their journey to unlocking and embracing their authentic self. Krista graduated with her Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in clinical mental health from University of Central Missouri. Krista primarily uses a person-centered approach to counseling, meaning that the individual, couple, or child directs the session as they are the experts of themself. In counseling, Krista works alongside her clients to aid them in reaching their goals and uncover the tools and solutions they already possess. Krista sees the counseling relationship as transformative, and seeks to fully understand her clients. She is gifted in creating a safe, accepting, and non-judgemental environment that allows people to explore their fears and pain, develop their strengths, try out new behaviors, and experience healing and integration. 


Krista sees clients from age 4 to 99+ and has experience working with individuals with depression, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), people exploring their LGBTQIA+ identity, and those on the Autism spectrum. She is also passionate about supporting people as they navigate body image issues, relationship challenges, and spiritual and religious trauma. Alongside person-centered counseling, Krista also uses a variety of approaches based on her clients needs, including self-compassion practices, sand tray therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and play therapy techniques.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who needs counseling?

Most anyone can benefit from counseling! There is almost always room to grow in our relationship with ourselves and others. Some people might decide to seek therapy if they find that intrusive thoughts or unhelpful coping patterns are affecting their daily life in ways that prevents them from functioning at the level they would like to. Some people come when life situations are extra stressful and they want non-judgmental support from a professional outside of the situation. Many of us have experienced something traumatic in life, and would like to process through the thoughts and feelings with someone trained to help.


Parents sometimes choose to bring their child if things at school, home, or in both settings are causing undue stress, or a child is reacting in ways that parents or teachers are having a hard time understanding or responding to. Sometimes parents come because they would like more effective ways to interact with their child.


People in relationships sometimes come if conflict becomes overwhelming or they have come to an impasse in a certain area of their connection. Some clients come for pre-marital counseling, or "tune-ups" in committed relationship to keep things running smoothly. 


What will counseling be like?

Each person is an individual with individual needs, and no two sessions are exactly alike. As a broad overview the first session is usually spent going over intake paperwork to gain a full history, talking about information the client needs to be successful in counseling, an idea of how many sessions counseling may last and what techniques may be used, and some time for the client to ask questions and begin work. Subsequent sessions usually begin with where we left off the previous session, or with whatever the client brings that particular session.


Counseling involves back and forth conversing, typically the counselor is in a listening role for much of the time, psychoeducation (gaining information to better support and cope with struggles and mental illness), skills practice, goal creating, problem solving, and a number of creative therapeutic techniques as needed. The client drives the speed and direction of each session

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