About Therapist Emily Francis:
Hello! I’m Emily Francis, a licensed graduate professional counselor and I am so happy to be part of the team at Montgomery County Counseling Center.
I have a passion for authenticity and the power of relationships to create healing. This work starts with our relationship to ourselves and then extends to how we relate with others. My work involves supporting clients to honor and integrate their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and values, while also validating the challenges they face. As such, my approach to therapy is affirming, client-centered, and strengths-focused. And at the same time, I take a practical interest in my clients’ day-to-day challenges and engage in active problem-solving. From a place of acceptance and integration, clients are empowered to accomplish their goals and build the life and relationships they want!
I am both warm and affirming, and also direct and engaging. I have a contagious belief in the ability of all people to make positive changes. And I try bring enthusiasm and creativity to collaborative problem-solving. If you are feeling discouraged, I will hold the hope for you.
I have a deeply-open minded attitude towards my clients’ lived experiences and the way they’ve constructed their lives. Some people are reluctant to start therapy because of fear of judgment. Nothing is so terrible that would make you unworthy of a safe space to speak your truths aloud. As they say in Imago therapy, “that makes sense, and you make sense.”
We all need and deserve a space were we are understood. Even when we need to make changes, we can still be validated as good people who are trying our best.
Education and Experience
I earned my undergraduate degree from Smith College. During my time as an undergrad, I completed a life-changing internship at Friend’s Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Working with patients with chronic bipolar disorder and schizophrenia showed me that even when facing severe illness, people are still capable of building meaningful and fulfilling lives. As an undergraduate, I also worked with a community organization to provide education and crisis counseling for people experiencing domestic violence, relationship abuse, and trauma.
I received a master’s degree in spiritually-integrative mental health counseling from Loyola University in Baltimore. Although my graduate program included specific training in integrating the strengths of a clients’ spiritual or religious experiences, in most other ways, the program was a traditional, clinically-focused, mental health counseling program. My clinical work experience has been secular. I welcome and affirm clients of all backgrounds including LGBTQIA+ clients, all relationship styles, and all or no spiritual or religious backgrounds.
My masters-level internship experiences included providing substance abuse counseling services and working with military families experiencing relationship and life stressors. I have worked in both community mental health and private practice settings, treating individuals with anxiety, depression, and trauma. I particularly love working with neurodivergent individuals.
My clinical training has included client-centered, Brief Solution Focused Counseling, reality therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Most recently, I have received specialized training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I have seen DBT create powerful changes in clients’ lives; I love its broader view that an affirming therapeutic relationship dynamically interacts with skill-development to help clients build meaningful lives. I also appreciate the space DBT makes for an irreverent perspective on life’s challenges.
I find laughter helpful when things get hard, whether in therapy or in life.
- Adults and Older Adolescents
- Parent coaching and parenting challenges
- Emotional Regulation
- OCD and Repetitive Behavior Disorders
- Attachment Concerns
- Relationship Concerns
- Neurodiversity: Autism and ADHD challenges
I am a transplant from Upstate New York and I love to support the local community in my friendly DC-suburb. I can often be found at community events or the local farmer’s market. I love listening to live music (sadly, I have no talent for playing), particularly at outdoor and informal music venues. I have been married for 12 years and have four active and dynamic kids. We love to go camping, take road trips, and spend time in nature and with our friends. I love all sorts of board and card games and my favorite (nerdy) hobby is playing bridge with the local seniors at my neighborhood community center. I love to learn new things: both my book shelf and audible account are always stocked with new non-fiction books.