We believe the hard work of therapy will result in the reward of growth and clarity.
Life throws challenges at us that we never expected or asked for. 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.
Kara Smith, LCMFT and Practice Owner
Areas of Expertise:
- Couple’s Therapy
- Communication and Relationship Struggles
- Adolescent Depression
Experience and Approach:
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.
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. Through solid training in Attachment Theory and Emotionally Focused Couples therapy, I support couples in all stages of relationships: dating, premarital, just married, or married for years. We all want the same thing from our relationships no matter where you are in your life: unity, love, and security.
I see couples heterosexual as well as same-sex couples and strive for clients of all sexual orientations and gender identifications to feel accepted and safe in my office.
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. Infidelity is a trauma to the individual and the relationship and my experience can help you navigate the rollercoaster of pain and emotions.
As a family therapist, I am comfortable guiding adolescents and their families through some of the most serious crises a family can face such as drug addiction, self-injury, school refusal, and separation/divorce. I also have significant experience working with individuals who are struggling with relationships, depression, and difficult life transitions. Training as a couple and family therapist fully prepares clinicians to provide excellent individual therapy.
Who I am:
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 another 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.
Kimberly DiGiorgio, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional
Areas of Expertise:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Relationship/Attachment issues
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Parts Therapy
- Internal Family Systems Therapy
Philosophy and Approach:
I believe that exploring individual and relational processes is the key to finding balance and happiness in life. Whether one desires to grow and change or has difficulty managing psychological, social, and/or chronic health issues, psychotherapy can help. Psychological insight bolsters one’s coping skills, communication skills, and overall mind-body connectedness. As a licensed clinical psychologist, I help individuals identify how past experiences impact current behaviors and overall psychological well-being. Psychological health and mind-body wellness are very much intertwined and provide the foundation for individuals to engage in healthy self-exploration and meaningful relationships with others.
I will help guide individuals as they allow themselves to better understand their past experiences and how these may contribute to some of the negative thinking, emotion dysregulation, and possible disconnect between their mind and body. At times, it may be helpful to have significant others and/or family members join in the session, depending on the psychological needs of the individual. I believe that individuals can achieve psychological growth if they learn how to listen to their wise-mind, understanding the delicate balance between their thoughts and emotions.
Who I am:
I am a gentle and supportive therapist who will act as a guide and source of support during the journey of psychological growth. I will firmly challenge dysfunctional and maladaptive thoughts and/or dysregulated emotions with the goal of teaching adaptive thinking and coping strategies to be used across many situations. My goal is to empower each individual along their journey and to help them ultimately attain a healthy mind-body connection that helps them grow and thrive.
Christi King, LGPC
Areas of Expertise:
- Life Transitions
- Attachment Issues
- Post-partum Concerns
Philosophy and Approach:
Counseling provides an opportunity to discover new responses to life’s challenges from which you can make meaningful and lasting change. It takes great courage to identify struggles and to reach out for help. Through engaging in the therapeutic process, one can achieve a deeper understanding of self and relationships, personal empowerment, feelings of authenticity and freedom from self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.
Feeling understood and validated is a key component for growth. I’m passionate about providing these important elements for my clients through a warm and supportive therapeutic environment. In this atmosphere, one can feel safe and succeed in meeting their goals.
I help clients recognize and draw from their own strengths, as I believe that individuals have within them what it takes to achieve their goals. My job is to help you draw those strengths out through making meaning of past experiences and identifying maladaptive patterns of behavior and thinking that may have developed from those experiences. Through an empathetic approach, I work with you towards realizing a richer understanding of self and how things like childhood, relationships, and current circumstances can link to present issues. Such broader and deeper recognitions can be key in cultivating and becoming attuned to personal abilities that can ultimately help you thrive.
I believe in the power of the mind-body connection as it relates to wellbeing. I explore with my clients how mindfulness and self-care can enrich emotional and mental wellness. All too often in our busy lives, we do not prioritize the importance of carving out time for ourselves and end up feeling depleted and run down. The resulting lack of energy and joy that we experience compounds our feelings of stress, anxiety, and even anger. My goal is to help you reconnect with that which invigorates and nourishes you – an important and foundational part of happiness and personal fulfillment.
Who I am:
I consider my approach to therapy to be warm, supportive and collaborative. When working with me, I will challenge you when I feel that you’re ready for that next little push, but will do so with compassion and care. I believe that the relationship between therapist and client is essential for healing and change and so I treat that relationship with the utmost respect and positive regard. My aim is to make sure each of my clients feels understood and validated. I practice from a person-centered and CBT theoretical framework.
Deidre Pilcher, Intern
Ms. Pilcher, while finalizing her master’s degree, is available to see clients under the supervision of Kara Smith, LCMFT.. Please read about her experience below:
I am a firm believer that relationships are so often the key to how we experience life. These relationships create the backdrop and much of the plot for how we craft the story of our lives, through both success and struggle. In relationship to others, we’re able to see ourselves and discover our truths. From this framework, I enjoy accompanying individuals, intimate partners, and families on their journey to leading rich and fulfilling lives as their most authentic selves. I am dedicated to creating a welcoming space for people of all sexual orientations, genders, races, spiritual and religious experiences, ethnicities, and relational styles to feel at home and understood. I value authenticity, growth, presence, and the diverse life experiences that bring us together. Through formal education, ongoing training opportunities, and lived experience, I have a firm understanding of a truly diverse range of clients’ lives and experiences, including life transitions, parenting, entrepreneurship, religious transitions, sexuality, and LGBTQ and consensually non-monogamous relationships.
I believe in doing my own work. I invest in myself and my relationships in many of the same ways I work with my clients. I am a partner, a mom, a daughter, a sister, and a loyal friend. I grew up in Maine but have spent much of my adult life living all over the country, from the South to the West coast, and even Hawaii. I settled in Maryland over 6 years ago and now consider it home. I love music and concerts and play some guitar. I also enjoy sports, particularly football. I value nature and mindfulness and a good dose of casual humor.
Nancy Harris, Office Manager
“…and I’ll be taking care of business (everyday)…” I am blessed to have a naturally positive attitude and friendly communication style. I believe everyone has a voice that needs to be heard and valued. Therefore, I make it a priority to be approachable and easily accessible to all of our clients and staff. I am here to anticipate needs and prioritize requests so that you find Urbana Marriage and Family Therapy Center to be a safe and comforting place.
I am a mom of 4 girls, a grateful recovering alcoholic and currently a lover of adventure racing. I have a strong understanding for the challenges life can throw our way. I am a believer in therapy, honesty and hard work. Along with fun, joy and gratitude.