Jennifer Gauerke, tLMHC, CADC
Jennifer Gauerke, tLMHC, CADC
I believe that each person is born to grow. My role as a therapist is to help you uncover your growth capacity, providing a safe non-judgmental space in which to explore your life, thoughts and emotions. This enables clients to reach their goals and improve their lives. I support clients in the choices that are unique to their life and relationships, realizing that personal autonomy is vital to each person’s success.
Healing from past wounds and trauma is often a part of the work I do with clients. As a trauma specialist, I enable clients to move out of trauma, into post traumatic growth. Providing education and information about trauma – the way it affects the brain, how it impacts present emotions and behavior, and the damage it does to self – enables clients to work with their natural mind body connection to heal, instead of remaining stuck in the upheaval and fear that causes continuing distress. To encourage healing, I teach, and practice with clients, a toolbox full of coping skills – mindfulness, grounding, breathing exercises, meditation, art, and humor!
As a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, I have vast experience in supporting clients in recovery from multiple addictions, and dual diagnosis (mental health and substance use disorder diagnoses). My goal is to help you in the fight to be free of addiction, and the shame which perpetuates it. With an active knowledge of the brain disease of addiction, I can walk with you through the stages of recovery, and provide a safety net of effective coping skills and relapse prevention. Those who have addicts in their lives are also greatly affected by addition and I am sensitive to that heart-wrenching difficulty. I can provide much needed healing and support to those with loved ones trapped in the disease of addiction.
Relationships are a large part of every person’s life. When relationships are lacking the connection we seek, there can be confusion, stress, and hurt. The therapeutic relationship I have with clients can be a foundation for exploring other relationships- to resolve the confusion, reduce stress and heal the hurt while improving the connection to others we all need to be happy and effective. Without healthy and supportive relationships the growth we seek can be elusive. I support clients in their work for healthy relationships, with an awareness that even when both parties are seeking growth, barriers can arise. Together, we can turn these barriers into stepping stones, nurturing your growth together as a couple, a family, and part of the larger community. This process can be advanced by participation in groups at Vida psychotherapy. These groups can be a place for everyone to grow together, while learning, and experimenting with change.
I enjoy being the mother to four and step mother to two, as well as wife to my husband. Our blended family means I understand the complexities of divorce and blending families after remarriage. I am also the caretaker of a handsome grey bunny named Gandalf.
I received a Mental Health Counseling degree from Drake University and am provisionally licensed in the state of Iowa (tLMHC). Currently, I am growing as a clinician by continuing to learn from trainings and receiving clinical supervision from Carlos Canales, Psy.D., FAGPA. I am also licensed as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Iowa. I supported clients in both the residential and outpatient programs at House of Mercy in Des Moines from 2015 to 2018. This included facilitating various psychoeducational groups and providing individual counseling, utilizing Solution Focused and Motivational Interviewing techniques.
While completing a Masters degree I completed additional trainings in the following areas: ethics, addiction and trauma, disordered eating, grief and loss, and am currently receiving training to become a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP).
Prior to my education at Drake University, I worked as a direct support specialist in the special education department of Ankeny Community School district where I learned that each child with a disability is unique and should be treated as we all want to be treated, as a valued individual. I supported the foster parenting program at Lutheran Services of Iowa by co-teaching the foster parent informational groups, and assisting potential foster families in the application process. I had the privilege of foster parenting numerous children in Pennsylvania from 2009 to 2011. While providing that service I achieved the highest ranking in supporting parent child relationships and reunification.
As I move forward with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained, I actively seek and participate in activities to improve the community, by providing presentations and collaborating with other professionals.