Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT

Aaron Kirkwood View Specialties

  • Licensed Associate Marriae and Family Therapist
  • 1 Huntington Rd Suite 703, Athens, Georgia, 30606
  • Phone: 706-534-8558
  • Send A Message To Aaron.
  • Session Fees: I offer reduced fee services for clients who cannot comfortably afford to pay full fee.
  • ca4wellbeing.com/about/aaron-d-kirkwood/
  • This member is also available for online counseling.
  • Online-counseling methods: Webcam

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As we become aware of ourselves as storytellers we realize we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole. – Susan Wittig Albert
 
Do you ever feel like a character in someone else’s story? Do you ever feel as if life is happening TO you? As a therapist, my favorite moments are those when my clients discover that there is a voice inside that has long been silenced by the dominant voices of others. This voice represents who they are at their core but it has been stifled by everyone else; from parents to teachers, from employers to spouses, from television to the internet. I believe therapy is about making a space for your voice.
 
My background in marriage and family therapy has given me the tools to work with individuals, couples, and families. Each presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges, keeping therapy interesting and engaging for everyone. Clients should feel comfortable and safe in therapy. It is, after all, a sanctuary where a person can just be without fear of judgment or the dismissal of their thoughts and desires. Within the comfort of the therapeutic relationship, it is my hope that clients will become equipped to seize those opportunities and face those challenges.
 
I enjoy working with individuals, couples, and families from a variety of backgrounds. I have been married over a decade, so I relate to many of the trials and tribulations that couples face as well as the immense joy that can be shared in this most intimate of relationships. I work with a diverse range of couples and families, and welcome all types of relationships and families, including LGBTQ.  I welcome people who may be feeling especially distressed, alienated, or afraid because our current political climate.
 
In my work with couples, I frequently use tools from the Gottman Method which is based on research ongoing since the 1970’s. Read more information on the Gottman Method here. What I love about the Gottman Method is that it is backed by science, and is also accessible and relatable. Invariably, as I describe what might be happening for couples based on this research, I see both people nodding along and quite often grinning. Though each relationship is unique, this research has uncovered the essence of what makes for successful long-term relationships and what causes conflict and ill-feelings that ultimately lead to the dissolution of so many relationships.  I also use some of the same principals, particularly as regards healthy communication, when working with families.
 My work is built upon a Narrative approach to therapy and this is true when I work with couples, families, and individuals.  This means that I am especially interested in the ways in which larger social discourses are influencing each individual's life and his or her relationships.  A mother who feels overburdened by the need to care for everyone else while she feels neglected. A husband who feels stressed because he hates his job but he has to be the provider.  A son who is secretly attracted to other men but who knows his family won't approve.  These are all examples of outside influences creating problems for people.  I work with clients to uncover the source of these influences and learn to resist that influence in order to live in accord with one's own inner desires and wishes.  What often gets termed as "depression" or "anxiety" is really just a disharmony between what one "should" do and what one "wants" to do.  Read more about Narrative Therapy here.
 
I also incorporate ideas from mindful meditation in my work.  This includes simple exercises like controlled breathing to interrupt a pending anxiety attack and encouraging meditation to promote self-compassion and mindful awareness.  If you would like to learn more about controlled breathing click here.
 
Couples should expect to see their communication improve.  The sense of understanding their partner and being understood by their partner is often enhanced by this improved communication.  Unhealthy patterns of communicating and behaving can be replaced using the skills learned in therapy so that each partner feels more satisfied with the relationship.  Whether the challenges a couple faces are around finances, parenting, sex, all of these, or none of these couples therapy can assist the couple in feeling more united and more fulfilled.
Individual therapy is about exploring those internal dialogues that tell the individual how he or she should feel, what he or she should be doing.  Through therapy we explore those dialogues and learn to replace the negative voice inside with a more positive one which is accepting and offers self-compassion. 
 
Whether I’m working with an individual, a couple, or a family, I think that therapy is ultimately about hope. I truly believe that no matter what has happened in a person’s past, no matter how dysfunctional their relationships currently are, that there is always hope. I love the analogy of our lives as a story, because that means the chapter entitled “Tomorrow” hasn’t yet been written. I believe that therapy can help clients realize that they are the authors of their own story and therefore they get to decide how the next chapter turns out.
 
I have evening and weekend appointments available.  I offer reduced fee services for clients who cannot comfortably afford to pay full fee for services.
 
Outside the therapy room I have a passion for music, both listening to a creating it.  I love spending time with my wife, our two dogs, and our many cats, either inside cooking together or out in the garden.


Aaron Kirkwood Reaches

Athens GA