My office is set up like a living room to provide a comfortable setting. Formalities are addressed in the beginning relating to the initial paperwork as to what is/not confidential, the rules and practices of therapy, and various other common general information gathered. I will not ask you to do anything you are not willing to do or not comfortable with. You always have a choice; and if you do not feel comfortable with me as your therapist, at least three other referrals will be made for you to seek treatment. Safety is always my number one concern as well.
I have studied psychology all my life as I grew up in an
alcoholic family with a military style and very strict father. Of course, my
mother was passive; and I became a mix later in life. As a child, however, I
grew up in fear, chronic fear. And now, looking back, I know I was in basic
training to become a mental health counselor.
In midlife, I decided to make a career change and I went back to school to get
my Master's in Mental Health counseling. Right before I graduated in 1995 from
Nova Southeastern University in Florida, I began working in crisis intervention
programs where children were at risk of removal due to abuse or neglect. I
found the work fascinating and little did I know I would spend the next ten
years in that field. With school and on-the-job training, I learned a lot about
family therapy, child therapy, improving communication skills, domestic
violence, substance abuse, various treatments for mental health diagnoses and
creating a healthy environment for children so they can grow up as productive
While formal education is a must, I believe that life's teacher is the best. As
I worked on my own issues of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, divorce, PTSD from
the sudden death of my son who died in front of me from cancer (I did not know
he was sick), and reinventing myself, growing up, standing up to my father, and
making my own decisions for the first time at age 40.
There were a few things that kept me going: a good therapist, a good friend,
two good grief support groups, and God. Yes, I was raving, ragingly mad at God
at first for quite a while. As a result of losing my son, it triggered me into
therapy because I was having panic attacks, anxiety attacks, hyperventilating,
and flashbacks of my child’s death. EMDR was not well known or had not been
invented yet; so I relied on the good, “old-fashioned” talk therapy.
All of life issues came up for me all at once and I learned
to deal with one issue at a time—the one that was on top. I am happy to say
that I am happily, re-married for twenty years now and still “growing.” I
believe God has trained, guided, and equipped me with the skills that few
others have—the understanding, the knowing, the compassion, the empathy, and
the knowledge to give HOPE to others.
Everyone survives—if only you hang in there, do your “work,”
and grow from life’s experiences. I would be happy to be your facilitator. Warm regards,Diana
Sillence, LMHC, DAPA
Diana Sillence ReachesLand O Lakes FLWesley Chapel FL