We believe the hard work of therapy will result in the reward of growth and clarity.
Relationships take work. Marriage is not easy. Families will run into hurdles. You are not weak for seeking help and, in fact, it takes great strength to realize that and take the first step.
About Me | Kara Smith, LCMFT
Since 2002, I have been working with families and couples to help them strengthen bonds, heal, and grow. I am passionate about helping clients thrive and assisting them during difficult times. The family is a core component of our society and the unity of the couple guiding that family is integral to the family’s health and to the well being of its members.
You might think it is a stretch to say that our work in the therapy office makes the world a better place, but I have seen how anger, hurt, and resentments, can tear a couple or family apart. And I have seen how torn apart families struggle financially, emotionally, and even physically. All of this impacts those around them and consequentially, affects the world we live in.
As a couple’s therapist, I have worked with couples whose goals range from getting a relationship “check up” to deciding whether or not to end their marriage. I support couples in all stages of relationships: dating, premarital, just married, married for years. We all want the same thing from our relationships no matter where you are in your life. In addition, I see same-sex couples and strive for clients of all sexual orientations and gender identifications to feel accepted and safe in my office.
I challenge couples to look closely at their communication style, their patterns, and their expectations, and work hard to step out of their comfort zone in order to help their relationship thrive. I feel it is very important that I connect with both members of the couple – I want every party involved to feel heard, understood, and not blamed. Additionally, I specialize in guiding couples through the discovery, coping, and, ultimately, the healing from an infidelity, whether the couple decides to stay together or not.
As a family therapist, I am comfortable guiding my clients through some of the most serious crises a family can face such as drug addiction, self-injury, school refusal, and separation/divorce. At times, when working with children or adolescents, I must do so without their parents present. However, I believe parental involvement and insight is of utmost importance for change to occur, so they will always be supported, involved, and kept informed about concerns and the progress we are making.
I also have significant experience working with individuals who are struggling with relationships, depression, and difficult life transitions. Training as a couples and family therapist fully prepares clinicians to provide excellent individual therapy.
I consider myself an easy-going, light-hearted therapist who offers a welcoming and safe space for clients to explore their concerns. At the same time, I do not mince words about how challenging the therapeutic process can be for a client – but I will support you through the hard work because with effort comes the reward of growth and clarity.
I was born and raised in Maryland and consider myself a local in this ever-changing area. I love the waterways, the mountains, and the calm that these open spaces provide us. I consider the therapy room a space that brings calm – the therapeutic process is a time to slow down and re-evaluate ourselves, our family, and our relationships in a safe, warm environment.
About Me | Elizabeth Kamnikar, MS, LCPC
As we find ourselves in an increasingly fast paced world, there is little time to focus on the well-being of our body and mind. “Wellness” does not only refer to the physical aspects of oneself but our mental and emotional health. The stressors of everyday life manifest themselves differently in all individuals for various reasons – including not having the skills to manage the stress and emotions. Counseling offers the opportunity to process these challenges in a nurturing and constructive environment. I believe that mental and emotional wellness comes from taking the time to recognize areas in need of change while cultivating the skills to live a joyful, purposeful life.
While working with individuals on such a personal level, I have learned that, more often than not, those who need to advocate for themselves struggle to do so. This can be due to a lack of skills, insecurity, anxiety, or other various factors. A central focus of mine is assisting children and adults in the development of coping skills, executive functioning and emotional regulation. By strengthening these skill sets kids become more adept at using their voice for positive outcomes. In addition, these tools remind adults that they have the ability to generate a new narrative for their life and move forward confidently in the direction they choose.
I find my style to be welcoming, non-judgmental and affirming. My approach is client based, with an emphasis on Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy techniques. Understanding this work can be hard and uproot many emotions, I do my best to provide a comfortable space in which a person can be their authentic self. My goal is to aid clients in creating a unique plan for mental and emotional wellness to carry with them moving forward.