DR. AMBER SYLVAN
I am an animal lover, a geek, and food adventurer. I live with my family and two cats and a golden retriever puppy who is a future therapy dog hopeful. I am a lifelong big nerd and love video games, the ren faire, books, and nature photography. I also love trying new foods, different restaurants, and cooking. As an introvert myself, I am understanding of those with a similar personality style.
Everyone enters therapy with different concerns, needs, and backgrounds, so therapy looks different for everyone. I place a strong emphasis on the the therapist-client relationship, and view psychotherapy as a collaborative process.
My theoretical approach to psychotherapy is integrative, and I pull most heavily from Emotion-Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Humanistic approaches. I also find it helpful to use approaches from Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and mindfulness-based approaches.
Everyone holds different identities that weave together to form a unique person. Particularly, special attention must be paid to individuals coming from marginalized and underprivileged backgrounds. My approach to therapy tries to respect and empower those coming from the full range of racial identities, gender identities, class backgrounds, cultural & national backgrounds, able-bodiedness, and religious/spiritual identities.
Some individuals who hold marginalized identities may feel uncomfortable working with therapists who come from a privileged identity. This is valid, and you deserve to feel safe and empowered in therapy. Because of this, I want to be upfront about my own identities if you believe it may impact your ability to engage fully in therapy: I am a white, cisgender, able-bodied woman.
As someone who comes from so many privileged identities, I find it tremendously important to continually strive for self-growth in unlearning oppressive behaviors and addressing oppressive systems in our society. I try to stay educated and engaged with these concerns, particularly about racism, heterosexism/homophobia, and trans & gender identity issues.
Education & Experience
I graduated with my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan in 2017, my M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas in 2008, and my B.A. in Psychology from Southern Illinois University. I completed generalist training, meaning I am qualified to work with a wide variety of clinical issues.
Throughout my doctoral training, I have enjoyed working primarily with college students. I completed my predoctoral internship training at the University of Akron's Counseling and Testing Center. I also have experience working as a part-time intern at the counseling centers and training clinics at Kalamazoo College, Albion College, and Western Michigan University. I additionally have experience interning at Michigan Behavioral Consultants, a chronic pain inpatient clinic.
I have a wealth of experience providing career counseling and assessment to individuals who need help deciding on a career path or college major. My primary experience focusing on career counseling was gained at Western Michigan University's Counseling Services, where I worked as a career counselor and taught an introductory career exploration class to undergraduate students.