Dr. Elsbeth Martindale, Psy.D
I have a passion for effective psychotherapy. I’m a Licensed Psychologist in Oregon, and have been since 1991. I am invested in making my therapy work engaging and educational. I tell my clients, “My job is to work myself out of a job.” I want to teach, empower, and support my clients to live a conscious and designed life, to the degree this is possible.
To serve these intentions I collect and make tools for therapy, tools that keep clients invested in their own growth, and tools that keep me alive to my work as psycho-educator. Because I am a visual and kinesthetic learner I like to use these means in my teaching. I enjoy taking both basic and complex psychological concepts and creating tools that are relevant and accessible. I make handouts so clients can have something to take-away from therapy and possibly practice at home. I’ve made a variety of hands-on teaching tools, in the form of card decks and touch-ables, so clients can be actively engaged in their own learning.
These teaching strategies have helped my work be playful, engaging, and integrative. I do not grow tired of my clients complaints and concerns because I see their challenges as indications they are in need of more effective strategies for running their lives. I figure out, with them, which psychological concepts would make their situation more manageable, then we explore those ideas and apply them to the dilemmas in their life. Finally, I support and encourage my clients to take these new strategies and practice using them as skillfully as possible. They are encouraged to learn from what doesn’t work and hone their abilities so they can practice being the man or woman they most want to become. Clients feel empowered when they are able to make changes and improve their circumstances. I feel rewarded by watching their successes.
The Garden Shop Metaphor
I often tell my clients, “I am like the garden shop, you go there to get really good tools to fix up your garden. At the garden shop you can purchase effective and specific tools for your needs. You can learn how to use the tools in different circumstances, and can find new ideas for fixing up your yard. You can’t come back to the garden shop the next week and complain that your yard is still a mess without the merchant asking you about if and how you are using your tools. Likewise, if you make your yard gorgeous, you don’t give the credit for this beauty to the garden shop. It is your design and hard labor that created this goodness. Therapy is like buying effective and specific tools and then being asked to go home and do the work to use these tools to create a life within your design.
For the longest time I assumed all therapists did what I do, made tools to explain psychological principles so they could be integrated into effective living. As the years have gone by I realize that I am somewhat unique in this pursuit. Not all therapists like to create teaching tools even though most therapists find them valuable to use in their practices. Change-focused therapists need good teaching materials, ones that are presented in a clear and concise manner, so their clients can understand and incorporate these ideas and improve their lives.
After getting feedback about the usefulness of my tool focused approach, from both clients and colleagues, I decided to offer my collection to the world. My Courage to Bloom website is a place for therapists interested in skill, solution, and strength focused work can find helpful tools for their own therapy practices. You will find a variety of useful handouts and kinesthetic teaching tools to enhance your work.
If you are a therapist, please use the tools I offer to enhance your effectiveness. Give me feedback about what works or doesn’t work for you in the strategies I offer. Tell me about the tools you are using and creating. If you’d like me to include these in my resource list please give me appropriate links.
In the fifth decade of my life, I am finding that my work is moving more and more toward training and teaching young professionals. There are two topics which I enjoy talking about. I love sharing my Psychotherapy Toolkit Workshop. This allows me to demonstrate the use of handouts, visuals, and kinesthetic tools in therapy to empower clients to fully understand and implement change. I offer this to therapists, counselors, and social workers. I want the next generation of therapists to be equipped with effective tools for helping their clients unfold into their fullest potential.
Additionally, I have developed a model of healing and wholeness, based on a synthesis of my work and training. The model, called Healing Old Wounds, provides a method for clients to use their early psychological injury as a means to form a connection with self. Through the bonding, between woundedness and wisdom, self-soothing can be learned and practiced, beliefs can be identified and restructured, and an enduring sense of self-compassion can be established. This is the most powerful work I know to do in psychotherapy. I’m enjoying the privilege of teaching this model through workshops and clinics to other professionals to expand the knowledge of effective psychotherapy.
Questions & Contacting Me
Feel free to contact my office if you wish to speak with me. I am open to questions about my philosophy, training, and personal values. I offer professional coaching for therapists and continuing education training on effective and strength based psychotherapy. Let me know if I can help you have the courage to bloom.
You may also view my resumé if you wish to see a more formal accounting of my professional interests and accomplishments.