Experience Synopsis

With a over a decade of experience practicing in the field of emotional and behavioral health, Kelli C. McLeod began her career by pursuing her education at the Pennsylvania State University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in 2000. While actively working in the field of behavioral health, she continued her education, focusing more specifically on the art of counseling and psychotherapy and completed her Master’s Degree in Counseling in 2004 at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. McLeod’s experiences include the treatment of a broad range of psychiatric conditions and in a variety of therapeutic venues. Ms. McLeod has provided therapeutic services in outpatient counseling settings, inpatient hospital settings, emergency department settings and court service settings. In these settings she provided treatment to individuals with various mental health and addiction disorders via group therapy, individual therapy, mental health assessments, treatment and discharge planning, and referrals.

Ms. McLeod served as clinical coordinator for a community based mental health facility where she supervised mental health clinicians’ work with clients suffering from a wide variety of issues including mood, personality, anxiety and substance abuse/dependence disorders. She also provided diagnostic evaluations for individuals seeking mental health services, as well as designed and coordinated the start up of a group therapy program where none had previously existed. Additionally she provided individual and group therapy.

Ms. McLeod served as a substance abuse/dependence therapist for a rehabilitation facility where she provided group and individual therapy to clients who suffered from chemical dependency. Ms. McLeod served as the primary therapist of an intensive outpatient therapy program, and supervised counseling student interns. Ms. McLeod coordinated patient care and determined readiness for discharge.

Ms. McLeod served as a therapist at the student counseling center at the university where she received her master’s degree in counseling. In this role, Ms. McLeod provided individual counseling to students with a broad range of demographic backgrounds and a variety of personal concerns (e.g., anxiety, panic attacks, adjustment difficulties, depression, drug and alcohol abuse issues, past/present physical/psychological abuse, sexuality issues and others).

Prior to obtaining her master’s degree in counseling, Ms. McLeod served as a therapeutic staff support, providing behavioral and mental health services to children. Ms. McLeod facilitated behavior modification with children that were diagnosed with various disorders (e.g., Autism, Asperberger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder… etc.). Ms. McLeod provided services in the home, daycare, school and other child centered environments.

As a graduate student, Ms. McLeod served as a research assistant and co-wrote grants, articles, and a book-review. Working with university faculty she, conducted literature reviews on topics such as intersexuality, technology and teaching, and birth education. She also participated in the facilitation and teaching of graduate level community counseling courses. As an undergraduate, Ms. McLeod also served as a research assistant. In this capacity she participated in literary searches, research observations, collection of data, data entry and assessment scoring.

Prior to Ms. McLeod’s pursuance of counseling psychology, her educational and employment experiences were artistic in nature as she pursued the endeavor of human expression through the visual arts. Ms. McLeod is an artist and has both two and three dimensional works in the mediums of bronze, oil, graphite and acrylic. Ms. McLeod continues to create works today and also utilizes this creative side in her work as a therapist. Ms. McLeod produces the photography and other graphic art design presented in this website integraladjusters.com.

Christian Counseling

Christian Counseling Certification

The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling for People Helpers
By Gary R. Collins, PHD.

In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Counseling
By: Emmanuel Y. Lartey

Competent Christian Counseling: Foundations and Practice of Compassionate Soul Care
By: Dr. Timothy Clinton and Dr. George Ohlschlager

The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling for People Helpers
By: Gary R Collins, PHD.

This book preceded to discuss several different topics of interest that are commonly asked questions of clients regarding Christianity. These questions prefaced include: Who Christ is and what he did for us to enjoy a life with him both in heaven and on earth, correct and thorough interpretation of the Bible, How God is incorporated into counseling, Human nature and how it is used to illustrate a working comprehension of God, Sin, Guilt and forgiveness in counseling, The Holy Spirit, Supernatural agents, The church in unity with counselors as the Body of Christ, New Age Counseling, and Spirituality, and Counseling. As supplementation to these topics, how the world view of a counselor effects clients and the different ways that we assess other people and apply this learned knowledge are discussed.

Our world view in counseling affects how we interpret and process information, our techniques used, and even our emotions. Different methods are discussed in detail such as medications, past experiences (The subconscious drives and desires), Family and Systems theoretical basis, and the physiology of the human body pertaining to treatment. Different points of view are needed to form an eclectic or prescriptive form of treatment for clients. “It is popular to assume that using a variety of approaches is healthy. Since no two counselors, clients, or problem situations are identical, shouldn’t we develop an assortment of techniques that can be pulled out and adapted to each unique counseling situation? (Collins, G; pp. 13-14).

How to test and choose a world view are imperative in how we counsel our patients. There are 5 different methods that are discussed which include using, reason, contemplating past experiences, checking/ comparing with other people, looking at the data, and testing it out. This process can aid in the transformation of our world view and identity as Christian counselors. “Christian counselors need a basic understanding of what they believe and why they believe” (Collins, G; pp. 19).

The Bible was discussed in its relevance and application to counseling in conjunction with how we observe the world around us in chapters 2 and 3. There were two types of revelation that form the basis for God’s counsel. General revelation which is how God communicates through what we observe in the world and universe. Special revelation is another type that are words of God recorded in the Bible. Through- out the book, Collins interprets how counselors can use the words of scripture simultaneously with what we observe in nature about God. The verification of the Bible is discussed in detail regarding the manuscript evidence, the internal evidence, and the external evidence. One of the discoveries marked by a non-Christian Archaeologist asserts that there is no evidence that contradicts of disputes the statements of the bible and that an impressive body of literature supports the accuracy of Biblical statements (Collins, G, pp. 38-39).

In summary, theorizing the basic premise of this book, The Holy spirit and the role of the church are discussed as many Christians discount the role or even comprehend who the Holy Spirit is in the Trinity. How we are to use and interpret our observations in nature and human behavior in conjunction with the living word of God via the Bible are described in expansive detail through-out the book. The role of counselors and how we test and verify information to form our world view is addressed.

Reactionary Essay

In my opinion, this book is relevant to my world view and the way I will counsel my clients. An excellent point that I will ascribe to is using various methods of Christian theology in conjunction with the counseling methods such as Rogerian, Adlerian, and Cognitive Behavioral Theories. I agree that these theories are can be integrated along with the Holy words of God through- out the scriptures. Although many of the theories are not Christian based, I believe that they hold some “Surface level” truths that are vital to our understanding and application of counseling. For instance, even non- Christians recognize the beauty and splendor of God’s creation by observing the splendor of the stars and nature itself even if they do not ascribe to the one who is creator overall.

In addition to how eclecticism was described, I enjoyed how the author discussed we often establish referral connections and community resources. This is the same principle that should be applied as Christian counselors to use the Church as a source of exhortation and support in both our personal lives and our professional lives as counselors. The importance of the church and its role in counseling. As a Christian counselor it appears that the author does have a balanced view of how the Gifts of the Spirit and the natural/ supernatural all are integral parts of our relationship with God; however, I do not agree that the gifts of the Spirit and supernatural experiences are limited as referenced by this author in page 243 “Discernment is important so that we distinguish between the unusual experiences that are genuinely from God and those that are not. The real essence of spirituality is living a Christ- pleasing life in the midst of our activities, far removed from thoughts of ecstasy and excitement (Collins, G. p. 244). Although I do not believe we should rely solely on the gifts of the Spirit or supernatural experiences, nor knowledge alone; I believe that supernatural experiences should not be feared nor limited as we cannot keep God in a box. It depends upon how open we are to his presence and to the discretion of the Holy Spirit as to what gifts he bestows upon each of us.

In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Counseling
By: Emmanuel Y. Lartey

Lartey details how we can use an integrationist method pertaining to different cultures (A group of people that celebrate similar traditions/ customs and have similar belief/ value systems) in conjunction with our own personal beliefs. Interculturality is the heart of the text as it combines the basic principles: Contextuality, multiple perspectives, and authentic participation (Lartey, E, p. 33). Lartey discusses the definitions and roles of pastoral counseling and how these are related/ create today’s pastoral care in the context of counseling as a profession.

Lartey discusses the various definitions of pastoral care which have included such definitions as “Consisting of helping acts done by representative Christian persons, directed toward the healing, sustaining, and guiding and reconciling of troubled persons, whose troubles have arisen in the context of ultimate meanings and concerns” (Lartey, E. p.21) as referenced by Clebsch and Jaekle 1967. Transcendence is discussed in the context of characterizing pastoral caregivers and how we view the world. Transcendence is defined as “More to life than what meets the eye” (Lartey, E. p. 26).

Interculturality is the perspective that the author asserts as vital to using in our counseling practices. This view point contends that there are three principles known as contextuality, multiple perspectives, and authentic participation. Contextuality explains how we take into consideration that every piece of behavior and every belief must be observed within the framework within which it takes place (Lartey, E. p. 33). Multiple perspectives asserts that we may observe the same issue and still have varying opinions on a particular issue per our individual experiences. Authentic participation observes and respects the view- points of other people and recognizes both the strengths and weaknesses in every approach.

In Chapter 3, different models of pastoral care are discussed. Different models include pastoral care as therapy, ministry, social action, empowerment, and social interaction. The implications of pastoral care in therapy are of improper functioning in the bodies, minds, and spirits of people and how we as counselors aid in the removal or correction of suffering and dysfunctionality of people’s live. (Lartey, E. p. 55).

Pastoral care in ministry is discussed in context of acts of service in the forms of communication skills and sacramental rites put into action to direct and guide individuals. Pastoral care carried out in the form of liberation theology is another model of pastoral care. This model of study engages in the core belief of the poor and needs being oppressed by social systems. Liberation theology is a socially active vehicle that is used to liberate the oppressed. “The theologian first commits him or herself to being in a particular place and engaging with others in a particular place and engaging with others in work that aims at liberating the oppressed” (Lartey, E. p. 114).

This book discusses the various roles of pastoral counseling such as ministry, social action, therapy, and empowerment. The different roles that we play as counselors including healing, sustaining, guiding, reconciling, nurturing, liberating, and empowering in the context of an intercultural approach are of great resource for the counselor today. Lartey summarizes how the needs of the oppressed and needy are important; however, this must be evaluated in the context of one’s personal beliefs, their culture, and other implications of other societies influence upon those cultures.

Reactionary Essay

In my opinion, this book forms an excellent conclusion of how counselors today can incorporate interculturality into daily practice. There are many times in my experience in which people have discounted the experiences of either the culture of a person or the individual themselves. For instance, our society has a strong emphasis on the person as an individual. Such statements as “You can be whoever you want to be” and Living the American dream” are statements that are recognized and encouraged in our society. In other societies such as Hispanic, Asian, and African cultures believe in a collectivist society “Honoring your parents and society.” In the Holy scriptures God combines both of these approaches as he tells us to “Love our Neighbor as we love ourselves.” (Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31.)

The Liberationist theory and practice is important and I do recognize the issues with social domination, the large gap between the poor and the rich, physical ailments, and lack of education of certain groups of people as a result of social oppression; however, I recognize that this is not the only factor/ issue in the world that we should focus on. One can be rich and socially affluent and still lack/ suffer in another area. In my experiences in Guatemala, I witnessed malnutrition as I saw children with distended bellies and a sparse hair. My experience in Guatemala assisted me in recognizing that malnutrition in America is experienced in a different way. We are malnourished in social relations as many are imprisoned by lack of time spent with their families and children working 40-60 hours a week. We live by the principle of living for work instead of working to live.

In conclusion, I believe that as Lartey detailed in his excerpts of “In Living Color”, we should consider the context of one’s individual experiences, the culture, and the differing points of view and influences that other cultures have upon that particular culture.

Competent Christian Counseling: Foundations and Practice of Compassionate Soul Care
By: Dr. Timothy Clinton and Dr. George Ohlschlager
Atlantic Coast School of Religion

This comprehensive guide to implementing the ideologies/ theories, and applications of competent Christian counseling are detailed in Dr. Clinton and Dr. George Ohschlager’s book. Intake and assessment, working through client resistance, pastoral care and lay helping, the different theories of psychology, marriage and family counseling, child and adolescents, multicultural and special applications, and practice management are discussed in direct correlation to our identity as Christian counselors and how we incorporate practices that are in line with God’s word and his character.

The first several chapters discuss how Christian counseling is defined. There are many critics of Christian counseling that would oppose its application in the counseling arena. According to a recent poll, 66% of Americans believe that there is no absolute truth (Clinton and Ohschlager, p. 104). There are also counselors that are nervous regarding labeling themselves as Christian counselors and/ or how to integrate Christ into counseling. Clinton and Ohcshlager address this issue through discussing Christ’s truths in the context of our world today “At this stage of Christian development, we believe that the question is not how are psychology and theology integrated but rather how does God’s special revelation in Christ relate to and direct his general revelation in nature?” (maid whiz & Clinton; p. 57.)

The counseling skills of empathy such as advanced listening, reflection of feelings, nonverbal listening, and physical attending are discussed. Empathy is one of the vehicles used in the helping relationship along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the client’s narrative. “Truth drawn out of the client’s own life tends to be more deeply understood and more actively embraced, and it motivates the change process.” (Clinton & Oschlager, p. 204). In other words, counselors are to assume the position as “travel guides” more so than giving people directives. “The spirit of God lives within every believer (Clinton & Oschlager, p. 204).

Intake and Assessment combine the techniques of attending to your client. Including SOLER-Facing the client squarely, adopting and open posture, leaning on toward your client on occasion, maintaining appropriate eye contact, and staying relaxed (Clinton & Oschlager, p. 298). I recall a time during a therapy session in which I was not using my attending skills due to my own anxiety. I was looking at the clock repeatedly and the client soon noted “My lack of attending.” This indicates that if we do not attend to our clients, there will be less discourse from the client to assist in the assessment and intake process. The GAF of Christian Counseling along with standardized psychological tests were discussed as imperative to the counseling process.

Change and client resistance are realities that are faced in clinical practice. There are several implications to client resistance that include low motivation, learned helplessness, genetics blame, extreme self-sufficiency, and transference, and counter transference (Clinton & Oschlager, p. 386). Counselors can manage client resistance via accepting and addressing the reality of existence by incorporating God’s strength and guidance, understanding that avoidant behaviors are a type of resistance, remaining flexible and look at the issue from various angles, staring small and going at the pace of the client through desensitization as referenced in “Using the path of least resistance initially, and bringing in others to help (Clinton & Oschlager, p. 390).

In summary, Clinton and Oschlager synthesize formal research methods that are used in the secular world and the truths of God as revealed in special revelation and general revelation in the practices of counseling professionals. The identity of the Christian counselor is of relevance in our ability to counsel as our values are inextricably integrated into how we counsel and direct others. In other words, we cannot separate our identity from the way we counsel others in spite of how we label ourselves. The basic fundamentals of counseling such as assessment, intake, treatment planning, and diagnosing are imperative in the counseling process to guide our clients.

Reactionary Essay

In my opinion, I enjoyed reading about the differentiation between how our values in counseling still affect what counseling methods are used and how we counsel the clients. At the same time, we have to be careful as counselors not to impose/ force our ideas upon clients. This is illustrated through a question that was posed by my clinical supervisor recently during the implementation phase of Private Practice. He asked “How can you wear two different hats in counseling as there are different ideas posed in both secular counseling and Christian counseling.” I responded “God has given me knowledge of his general responses in nature as well as his divine nature through Scripture and observations. To me I will use both of these and I cannot separate the love that I have for God from the knowledge he has given me through basic truths taken from counseling regardless of what I label myself as.”

Oschlager and Clinton addressed the “Paracentric” mindset as we are parakleets that assist and guide our clients. I agreed with his point of view regarding lay helpers being just as important and effective in the counseling process as counselors with professional licenses and degrees. As cross referenced in The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling for People Helpers by Collins, he spoke about a passionate disciple of Christ whom was bestowed with the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit; however, he was not a scholarly man that read many books. This is not to discount the expertise of scholarly books and different methods we learn about; however, we are also not to discount how personal experiences can be just as sufficient in supplying us with the knowledge and wisdom of Christ to become a competent counselor.

In summary, this book was an excellent reference detailing the skills that are needed in counseling and how the Holy Spirit is the source of all guidance and truth. I am looking forward to implementing his principles in supplementation with the general revelation of observation through clinical studies and research. I am proud and unashamed to call myself a “Christian Counselor” and a “Mental Health Therapist” simultaneously.