About Me - Gretchen Stockman
My Education, Experience & Credentials
Hi, my name is Gretchen Stockman. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) serving in Puyallup and Lakewood, Washington. I am trained to work with adults, adolescents, couples, families, and groups. Although I work with depression, anxiety, and a wide variety of life challenges, my specialties are marriage/premarital counseling, substance abuse and addiction, eating disorders, blended families, health and nutrition, and spiritual development.
I received my Bachelor of Science in Health and Lifestyle Promotion from Central Washington University and my Master of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University. My eight month practicum was completed at the Army Substance Abuse Program at Ft. Lewis, Washington and involved working with active duty military personnel struggling with chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders.
I have over eighteen years' experience working as a Registered Counselor in the State of Washington, focusing primarily on young girls and women struggling with eating disorders and other addictions. My professional goal is to continue working with this and other areas of expertise, providing counseling and therapeutic intervention from a Biblical perspective.
My specialties stem from life experiences that I have dealt with personally or in relationship with a loved one, therefore I delight and derive an enormous sense of purpose in assisting those struggling with similar issues. We aren't talking about just theories here--I have walked it out!
Many times I have been asked what led me to become a counselor. As a child, I remember being really impacted by the suﬀering I saw around me in the world. First, I was moved by the plight of animals that were injured or abandoned, and I wanted to build a shelter and take care of them all....literally! During my grade -school years I was moved by compassion for and often befriended children who were the "underdogs" - those who were ignored, unpopular, and frequently picked on by their peers. By the time I was in Jr. High I was the local "counselor" to my friends and acquaintances. I was a natural helper, and people tended to feel comfortable opening up to me. There was no doubt this is what I wanted to do with my life.
Raised in the church, I took a harrowing decade-long detour from my Christian faith and tried living life on my own terms. During that time, an eating disorder, a serious drug addiction, and living in an abusive relationship drove me to my knees. It was at the end of my rope that I fully recognized my need for God and recommitted my life to Jesus Christ. This began a journey into healing for me, and my vision for counseling intensiﬁed and took on a whole new meaning.
The relationship, wisdom, and skills I have gained in my walk with God are what inﬂuence my work in counseling the most. There is no better comforter, teacher, or counselor than the Holy Spirit. I spent many of my teen and young adult years on the receiving end of counseling-mostly secular-only to have my life continue to unravel. I didn't become free until I became willing to measure my thoughts and behavior against the yardstick of the Bible and make adjustments accordingly. The maturing "new nature" provided at the New Birth and the power of the Holy Spirit in my life made that possible. Learning to depend on God instead of self was essential to recovery.
Today, I am super happily married with 5 wonderful children in a blended family. I am committed and involved in a local church. In my spare time, I love to hike, camp, work out, spend time with family and friends, read, and drink espresso. Some of my favorite things are chocolate, sunshine, traveling, and talking with people about nutrition and health, overcoming, and the goodness of God - not necessarily in that order!
Since no two people are exactly alike, it stands to reason that there is no one-size-ﬁts-all approach to counseling. Your journey is unique, and solutions to stressed relationships and life's diﬃculties must be tailor-made. Jesus Christ is our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)-that means He is my counselor too! God's wisdom surpasses anything that man can come up with, therefore the Word of God is the centerpiece of what I believe, how I think, and what I do in therapy. I rely heavily on my personal relationship with Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to enable me to see, hear, and help. Concepts, interventions, and "gold nuggets" from Cognitive Behavioral, Solution-Focused, Values-Based, Narrative, Family Systems, and other therapies are employed when helpful and harmonious with God's thoughts and ways as revealed in Scripture.
My goal is to assist clients to learn about themselves, grow, and put together their own emotional and mental health toolboxes so they can overcome present challenges and any future problems encountered in life. I provide a safe and supportive place for people to come and unload and be who they really are right now, ﬂaws and all. For some people it takes a lot of courage to allow themselves to be vulnerable and let someone into the most painful places in their lives. I am patient and gentle, and take as long as needed to build rapport and trust with each person. Facing diﬃculties in life can be become opportunities for tremendous change and growth. When we trust Him, God has an amazing capacity for turning even painful experiences for good, weaving the events of our lives into beautiful tapestries for His glory. In the end we have more peace and are more whole than we may have dreamed possible, and are thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I believe profound healing can be found in intimate connection with God. His Word contains the "prescription" for living a healthy, productive, loving, and authentic life in relationship with yourself, God, and other people. Christians come from all walks and have many variations in believing. I will respect and treat you with dignity regardless of your church aﬃliation (or lack of), spirituality, estrangement from God, if you are mad at God, or if you are just curious about perhaps inviting Him into your life and circumstances for the ﬁrst time.
It is my honor and privilege to accompany you on your journey into healing. In fact, I can't think of anything I would rather do! If something I said resonates with you, let's talk!!!