Alumni Honors Spotlight: Lauren Disner, MCFT ‘12
Alumna Lauren Disner, Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy ’12, recently earned the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s (AAMFT) Leadership Certificate at its annual conference in November. The Leadership Certificate recognizes therapists who complete a series of intense and in-depth leadership training activities, including leadership symposium and conference attendance; leadership style assessments; self-directed leadership study; mentorship; and portfolio creation. Disner says the process took three full years to complete, and she was specifically acknowledged for her “drive and stick-to-it-ness” upon receiving the certificate.
Currently serving in NW Portland/Beaverton at her private practice, Working Together Family Therapy and Counseling, Disner provides feminist-informed therapy services in both English and Spanish. She previously worked in substance use treatment and mental health.
“Lewis & Clark’s Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy (MCFT) program taught me to think critically about the institutions and groups in which I work and interact so that I can be a mindful advocate for the marginalized populations that I serve,” says Disner, reflecting on her academic preparation for this career path. “This awareness has allowed me to bring relational and systemic foci to substance use treatment programs that were traditionally more focused on the individual, and to improve accessibility for non-native English speakers looking for therapy services.”
In addition to performing the standard duties of a therapist, Disner also incorporates leadership work into her daily routine.
“I’ve recently begun dabbling in podcasting,” she explains. “My podcast, Private Practice Push, is aligned with my leadership goal of supporting new private practitioners in developing business skills.”
Disner says the graduate school’s social justice mission is deeply ingrained in her daily work, and is the foundation for many of the strategic decisions she makes regarding how she runs her practice. She makes a point of monitoring and investing time in her caseload management so that she is able to accept clients who need a reduced rate on a regular basis, reserving 20% of her caseload for clients who have financial need; she is a member of the Returning Veterans Project referral network and provides pro-bono services to veterans who need couple or family therapy services; and she makes it a point to discuss issues of equity and oppression in the therapy room, with colleagues, with treatment stakeholders and with family and friends.
“Open dialogue about social justice issues has become an integral part of my regular activities and basic interactions with others.”
She has some advice for students considering a graduate degree in counseling or therapy as well: “Graduate studies are a significant investment of time and energy. This is something I experienced first-hand as a student/spouse/mother/pregnant woman going through the MCFT program. You will learn a lot along the way about how to do therapy, but I also encourage you to remain open to personal change. Learning how to be a therapist will change you and in very rewarding and positive ways. Let it! It will be hard sometimes, but it is totally worth it.
For more information about networking or Disner’s private practice coaching services, she can be reached at email@example.com.
To learn more about counseling and therapy programs at the graduate school, visit our web site.