Erin Carkner photo

Meet Michael

In my development as a counselor there was one moment when my call to this vocation was confirmed. I was sitting with clients for the first time as a graduate student. I had never before counseled anyone, and everything I had learned in the previous year and a half was simply theory. When I sat with my first client, however, everything suddenly clicked and I discovered a passion for counseling and helping others that even I couldn’t have anticipated. I learned that what people really need is to be understood for who they are, not who people want them to be, and I love having the opportunity to provide a safe space for my clients to truly be themselves.

Sometimes we need someone else who can affirm our strengths and remind us that though we have problems, we are not the problem. Too often counseling can be seen only as a place where you go to talk about pain and trauma. While that is often true, I prefer to view counseling as the place people go to gain freedom. That may be freedom from pain and it may be freedom from trauma, or it may be freedom from expectations, insults, or labels. Whatever it is specifically my clients are searching for, I strive to help them achieve the changes they seek.

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Not only that, but I see the counseling relationship as a safe place to truly celebrate my client’s triumphs. I want to focus on the triumphs they have already achieved and build on those, approaching their problems not as distressing aspects of their personality but as new opportunities to demonstrate increasing levels of strength and grace, both to themselves and others. I don’t see myself as the “expert” in the room – after all, the life of my clients is our focus, and they’ve been living with themselves their entire lives! A past supervisor of mine once said we counselors are leading from behind. I love that picture, because it demonstrates that while I have expert training in this field, our work together is a collaboration. I will often ask that we explore a particular area, but it is up to my clients to decide what changes to make and when.

I therefore strive to help my clients identity gifts and strengths that can help them live in a way that is compatible with the person they believe themselves to be. I believe the relationship between the client and therapist is of the utmost importance. It is through a positive and supportive relationship with the therapist that the client will be able to share the thoughts and emotions that are most distressing to them and I therefore strive to provide a safe and encouraging environment. I want to help the client slow down, breathe deeply, and carefully examine the burdens they have been carrying.Together we can then start the process of identifying what they would like to keep, and what they can lay down.


Michael’s Sliding Fee Scale

Please note his first session is $100. Sessions after that can be applied to the scale unless otherwise agreed.

      Number of Children   0 1 2+    
    Gross Income            
    $0.00 15,000   45 45 40    
    15,000 25,000   55 50 50    
    26,000 30,000   60 60 60    
    31,000 40,000   65 60 60    
    41,000 50,000   75 70 70    
    51,000 60,000   80 80 75    
    61,000 70,000   85 80 75    
    71,000 80,000   90 80 80    
    81,000 90,000   100 90 85    
These fees assume additional discount of $5 due to cash payment. “Cash” is check or legal U.S. tender. Payment by credit/debit card will NOT be at the above additional discounted rate.

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