Today we’d like to introduce you to Michela Parisi.
Hi Michela, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I have had a passion for mental health since I was young. I remember the first day I learned what the definition of “psychology” (shout out to Ms. Keever and my 8th-grade biology class!) and was immediately hooked on the notion of understanding people better. I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from CU Boulder, graduating early at the age of 20. Then, the prospect of being a 20-year-old counselor was a little too lofty so I decided to take a break from mental health and focus on experiences that would build me up to be a more interesting person instead.
I lived my early twenties in a “yes to everything” mentality, both in work and my personal life. I bought a one-way ticket to live in Italy as an English teacher before I could legally drink in the United States. When I came home, I worked in private aviation, private investigation, food service, I taught group fitness classes, I hired engineers at a startup for product development…the list goes on. I was also a consistent therapy client for an amazing therapist located out of Boulder, CO – Sara Graham. With her unconditional positive regard for me and two loving parents to call at any time of the day, I felt confident to take on the world.
During this time, I was exposed to a vast array of people in the professional world that my experience growing up in Nevada and Colorado would not have been able to offer. Simultaneously, my personal life became more colorful. I traveled internationally as frequently as I could. I said yes to going on dates with (…erhm, a lot…) of men far different than myself. Turns out, dating as a woman in your early twenties is a rollercoaster in and of itself. I lived my life in a way that was equal parts stress-inducing and fulfilling. Though I don’t miss the breakups, job changes, late-night bar scenes and anxiety of my early twenties, I am so grateful for the intimate exposure I had to life that soon would translate into my career in mental health.
Because of these experiences, by the time I pursued my Master’s in Counseling from Regis University, I was confident in my ability to speak to anyone and find some level of common ground. Even if it was just a shared smile, I learned early on that people have an innate need for connection and to feel seen/heard. Everyone from my angry customers at the pizzeria I managed or a client sobbing after an out-of-the-blue breakup…I harnessed the idea of connection and empathy and brought it with me through my career in mental health.
Therapists are not required to have lived experiences that are relatable to their clients. Master’s degrees do not care if you are a homebody or a socialite, old or young…they are just degrees. However…from my experience, therapists who are both interesting and interested tend to fill their client load the quickest. When therapy is less about money or following a particular intervention/model and more about connecting to your client…clients stick around and clients feel better more quickly.
This is where Connected Brain Counseling stemmed from. A private practice devoted to women’s mental health while also offering Neurofeedback, a modality I picked up during my graduate program while working for a Neurofeedback clinic, focuses on the intersection of data and emotion to bring a healing space to anyone who walks in the door.
Neurofeedback and therapy combined to create a unique approach to counseling where clients have both their therapist on their side while giving their brain an extra “push” it needs to release old, stuck patterns of electrical activity and learn new ways of being in the world. These stuck patterns can be due to attachment styles, historical trauma, TBI, PTSD…the list goes on. Our goal at Connected Brain Counseling is to offer clients a multi-modal approach to therapy that is both successful and ultimately leaves them feeling better than when they walked in the door.
Connected Brain Counseling quickly filled within the first five months it was open and continues to blossom as a place for clients to reconnect to themselves. We love the science-backed modality we utilize in both counseling and neurofeedback and feel this is where more therapists are choosing to take their counseling practices as well.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Life or the practice? 🙂 The answer to both is absolutely not. You are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I have grown to see this as a strength, where if I am confident in who I am and someone doesn’t love an element of that…it means I am actually filtering out the wrong people for me. But boy, it’s not always fun! Whether this is the disgruntled client who hits a wall in their therapeutic program and blames it on the therapist or the boy you fell in love with that doesn’t quite love you back…life is full of these hurdles and I am no exception to the rule.
As a therapist, I have learned I cannot work harder than my clients. As a go-getter…it’s hard to let go of this energy. I have learned I can only meet clients where they are at, and sometimes letting clients simply “be” is more important than any technical intervention I can bring into the room. Not letting myself feel this as a personal failure is a challenge at times.
Many clients are not ready for change. Even when showing up for therapy, they are not ready – and that is okay! I have learned (and am still learning) how to let clients evolve at their own pace. My goal for Connected Brain Counseling is to offer a space for clients to come to show up imperfectly (myself included) and offer them the best tools, knowledge and unconditional positive regard that I can…then let them do the rest of the work themselves. Easier said than done 🙂
As a woman, I hurled myself into many different forms of failure in my early twenties. Jobs ending, friendships ending, relationships ending (and yes, many beautiful beginnings, too)…but this road was the opposite of smooth. More accurately, it had deep ditches in the dark. Steep cliffs I walked right off of. A lot of bad directions, missed turns, flat tires, mistakes. It also had some gorgeous green pastures and some of the most beautiful blue skies I could imagine. My stubborn nature needed these experiences and I empathize with women in their twenties just trying to navigate life even more strongly now than I used to because of them.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Connected Brain Counseling?
Connected Brain Counseling is a private practice for therapy and neurofeedback located near Sloan’s Lake in Denver. We specialize in Women’s Mental Health and those who have endured trauma, though we accept clients of all ages and genders. We are known for providing a holistic treatment plan for individuals who seek counseling but are also sick of counseling alone.
I have heard it many times before, but not everyone loves counseling. And not everyone has good experiences taking medication, as well. Instead of medication, we offer neurofeedback in conjunction with counseling and are continually in awe of the transformative impact these have on mental health. Our practice believes in a well-rounded, holistic approach to mental health and data-driven techniques to pull from along the way.
Most of our clients start out with a qEEG, a Brain Map, that gives us a baseline level of electrical activity in the brain indicating patterns of trauma, sleep issues, attachment styles and more. From there, clients are educated on what their options are for supplements, neurofeedback training, counseling and other referrals that are out of our scope.
Counseling is right for some people, neurofeedback is right for others. We love operating from a “no pressure” business model, where clients are informed of what may help them feel better without the sales pitch that other larger clinics who promote neurofeedback may rely on.
We see the greatest changes in clients who do neurofeedback and consistent counseling together. This is because while we are changing electrical patterns in the brain that are associated with symptoms on the back end (largely involved with regulating the nervous system), we are able to verbally process the emotional side of things in counseling as well. Both are important, both are valuable. Together they offer a unique intervention that very few therapists are able to offer. We are proud of our team’s ability to do both and love watching clients transform in front of our eyes.
Most of our clients end their time with us feeling a greater sense of control of their actions. They feel less guided by historical trauma and the behavioral implications that can cause and more confident in their ability to mindfully choose behaviors that resonate with them. Neurofeedback is quite impactful in this way and is growing in popularity for this reason.
As far as pricing and time commitment goes, we are a cash-based practice and do not accept insurance. Our pricing is listed online at https://www.connectedbraincounseling.com/plans-pricing. We offer discounts for clients completing both neurofeedback and counseling programs at the same time to make services more cost-effective. Most clients complete 40-60 sessions for neurofeedback and counseling as needed.
- qEEG Brain Map – $600
- Neurofeedback 10 Pack – $800
- Individual Counseling Session – $125
- Couples Counseling Session – $150
- Discounts are available when doing counseling + neurofeedback together
- Website: www.connectedbraincounseling.com
- Instagram: @connectedbraincounseling
- Yelp: https://g.page/r/CXxhA0ouUMKNEB0/review