My Approach

Therapy, counseling, coaching? Regardless of what you call it, counselors and therapists are in the business of helping people improve their lives. That’s our purpose and mission. However, every practitioner is different, so here is a little bit about me and how I work.

Firstly, my approach has been shaped by my educational and professional experience. I received a B.A. in Psychology in 2011 and a M.A. in Counseling and Guidance (with an emphasis in couples and family therapy) in 2014— both from UMKC. I have experience working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families in various settings, such as private practice, community counseling centers, and higher education.

Secondly, if you decide to work with me, you will be provided with a judgement-free environment where you can engage in open and honest self-exploration. Your agenda is my greatest concern, not mine. It is also worth noting that I use an integrative theoretical framework, which includes Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Existential Therapy, and Family Systems Theory.

Lastly, I will carefully help you address difficult truths, but at the same time, we should identify your strengths too and, more importantly, put them to good use. The goal is always balance, embrace the positive while addressing the negative. This appears to be the healthy way.

Therapeutic Topics and How I work

  • Depression- What’s on your mind? I want to fully understand this first, then let’s take a look at behavior. Because as much as we feel depressing feelings and think depressing thoughts, our behaviors can play a crucial role in perpetuating depressive cycles. This is why we will take a multi-faceted approach that addresses emotional processing and expression, belief systems, and behavioral change.
  • Anxiety- One’s relationship with uncertainty, worry, and discomfort come into play here. This is the mental component, but anxiety is not just in the mind. It is a dis-ease of the body as well, which means that routine movement, exercise, and meditation can be helpful additions to your anxiety reduction program.
  • Substance Abuse- I am open to both the moderation management and abstinence-only models of substance abuse treatment. The most important aspect to determining which is the best fit is to fully and honestly process how drugs and/or alcohol have impacted your life. We will also take a deep dive into how environment, stress, relationships, and routine affect your substance use patterns. Lastly and most importantly, I will not impose a specific system of morality on you, and you will be provided with a judgement-free atmosphere.
  • Relationship Conflict- My instinct is to try to keep couples and families together and work things out. If we can get back to the basics– listening, respectful communication, and compromise– great things will happen. There will be less anger and resentment, and joy can be restored.
  • Career Concerns- Figuring out how you want to spend at least 40 hours a week is a big deal. This is time of your life that you can never get back, so it’s important to get it right. I like to think of careers from a fulfillment perspective that consists of four parts: interests, skills, lifestyle, and values. That’s where the conversation begins.
  • Grief and Loss- Losing a loved one can force you into moment-by-moment living, so it is wise to slow down and take things one step at a time. Being patient with the ebb and flow of emotion and cultivating compassion towards yourself are essential. It’s much easier said than done, but I’ll help you learn to trust your natural healing process.
  • Loneliness- 1 in 4 Americans report having 0 close relationships, yet we are supposed to be more connected than ever with the internet and social media. This is the mental health issue of our time. Some of us have lost track of how to talk to each other, so let’s learn how. Communication is relationship.
  • Disordered Eating- I have experience working in collaboration with doctors, nutritionists, and other support system members. It’s a team effort. That said, I see YOU, not just your eating concerns. I promise to employ a holistic approach that moves our work beyond symptoms.
  • Trauma- Let’s move at a speed you are comfortable with. This is often a situation where I use lower levels of guidance, but I am constantly mindful of keeping our explorations in the window of productivity. Wherever you are in the healing process is okay, and when you’re ready, you can begin moving towards empowerment.
  • Sports and Performance- Does your effort match your goals? Do you struggle with mental toughness? What is holding you back– performance anxiety, fear of failure, fading commitment? These are the types of questions that will propel us forward.


If you have made it this far, thanks for taking a thorough look at my counseling approach. I want to make one last point, though. If you choose me as your counselor, come prepared for a journey. Of course, working on your life is serious business, but it is also deeply interesting and rewarding. It’d be an honor to be a part of the process.

-Scott Thode

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