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Carla Barrow, JD, LMFT
"Helping teens, adults, and couples catalyze change as they face difficult challenges and life transitions."
Life isn’t always easy, and nobody is spared the pain of loss or conflict. Sometimes, decisions around career, partners, friendships and finances sour, or lose their zeal. Or, choices about what to pursue, where to live, and what’s next at home, school or with loved ones may be complicated by interpersonal strife. We can feel stuck in dissatisfaction, unsure about taking a next step for fear of failure or the unknown.
Even the strongest people need support to maneuver life stages and transition, and unforeseen events. And, it can be hard to let others in to help when you feel down, overwhelmed, defeated, or withdrawn, especially if you think you’ll be misunderstood or given answers you didn’t ask for and don’t suit you.
You deserve to have someone who sees the whole of the situation. And someone who can help you better handle your emotions and circumstances, without rejecting or abandoning the parts of you that work. I understand. I’ve been there and want to help.
Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, past trauma, relationship conflict, stress, low self-esteem, or just being different from the pack, you are not alone. My first job is to help you feel safe, understood, and supported. Clients often thank me for having a warm smile and being open and easy to talk to. As rapport grows, you’ll gain trust to dig deep and discover new ways to address what’s troubling you.
I believe life is negotiable and that you have many assets with which to create the life you want. I listen for your strengths, resources and resilience. I provide you coping skills and mindful tools to maintain clarity in ambiguous situations. I work in an integral way, pulling the best from your resources and mine.
My toolbox holds different tools for different treatment goals. These may include cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, and trauma-informed approaches (such as Trauma Incidence Reduction), Gottman Method for couples therapy, imaginal and psychosensory techniques, mindfulness and expressive writing/journaling. Mind, body and spiritual dimensions are all part of the healing process.
Learn More About How I Help Adults & Couples Live Their Best Lives...
My Counseling Services in
Fort Lauderdale & Plantation, FL
Hi, my name is Carla Barrow, and I work with individuals, couples and professionals, including their spouses and teens, to catapult change in their lives, while also accepting where they are at and what it will take to make things better.
I call myself The Integral Therapist, because I integrate practices and principles from a range of evidence and practice-based modalities. This allows me to be flexible, incorporating skillful measures from multiple theories and methods.
Certain objectives guide me in practice:
I want individuals and couples to thrive in life and in their relationships – be they intimate, social, or professional.
I want clients to be satisfied with themselves and their lives, and to know that despite inevitable pain, loss and conflict, there’s growth and understanding available at every corner.
I want clients to gain experiences where they feel more aware and confident in understanding their emotional states, cognitions and motivations.
I want clients to learn how to regulate thoughts and emotions and how to make wise decisions that benefit them, their marriage, relationships, and life goals.
I want clients to walk away from therapy having tools and skills they can use for a lifetime and believing “I’ve got this.”
Couples Counseling in Fort Lauderdale & Plantation, FL
How I Work With Couples in Their Intimate Relationships:
Who would we be in life without our intimate relationships? Relationships are a primary source of who we become and what roles we play in life. They greatly impact our wellbeing and quality of life. When relationships aren’t working, we’re left feeling frustrated, drained, hurt, concerned, distracted or numb.
Sometimes relationships involve the immense pain of betrayal, addiction, financial strain or the onset of other mental health issues. One or more of the partners may drift from fidelity into an emotional or sexual affair. Or the couple may begin to lead parallel lives and drift away from friendship, intimacy, and shared dreams. Once couples operate like separate units, expressing dissatisfaction, anger, fear, and mistrust, fights often become more frequent, with fewer repairs. The marriage or relationship may seem unbearable and impossible to resolve. You want things to change but you don’t know how.
That’s when you need help!
While early intervention can make a difference, research shows couples often wait more than two years to get assistance. I invite you to act now. A good assessment and explanation of what you’re doing that’s ineffective can prove invaluable. It’s also helpful to reinforce what is effective and does work between you, shoring up your resources.
Integrating Gottman Method Couples Therapy:
I focus the majority of my time working with Couples and their family system. I have been trained to Level 3 in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. This specific approach integrates research-based interventions and includes a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship. We develop a personalized therapeutic framework to bring about change.
The Gottman Method has been successful for couples who are dealing with:
Problems with communication
Lack of emotional connection
Lack of trust and intimacy
I teach clients what Gottman’s research has shown to be the skills and practices of relationship masters and disasters. I help clients identify what are called the Four Horsemen: Ineffective communication patterns that involve criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling.
Once the couple’s patterns are evaluated, we employ the antidotes that help restore dialogue and understanding, including softened startups, taking responsibility, describing our own feelings and self-soothing.
Integrating DBT Skills into Couples Therapy:
To complement Gottman Method Couples work, I also utilize DBT Skills in couples therapy and integrate learning based upon the research and principles of Dr. Alan Fruzzetti, author of The High Conflict Couple.
I enjoy tailoring treatment to the unique needs of the couple. This may include:
Affair Recovery: For couples who have experienced the betrayal of an affair through three important stages: Atonement, Attunement and Attachment, and provide helpful books and outside reading to support the couple’s learning.
Sexual Intimacy: For couples struggling with intimacy, I utilize Gottman’s GottSex interventions to rekindle passion in their relationship. If upon further assessment, a specialist is needed, I can refer the couple to specialists.
Lost Connection: For couples who have gotten so caught up in life they have neglected fondness and admiration of the other, we will re-introduce the important practice of expressing appreciation. We will also spend time reflecting on the shared meanings and rituals in their life.
Enduring Vulnerabilities: For couples where the wounds of past relationships are influencing present issues, we may explore “enduring vulnerabilities” and how they may lead us to respond in ways that turn away from or against our partners. I help clients distinguish where the past has crept into their present and work with them to develop more effective strategies to get their needs met.
Solutions and Negotiations: For couples who need assistance with conflict management, we learn ways to drop blame and fault in favor of understanding, problem solving and negotiating. Couples learn to set goals, establish rules of engagement, fight fair, and repair.
Dealing with “Thirds”: Sometimes communication and conflict resolution involves the aftermath of an affair, and sometimes there’s a “third” in the relationship in the form of substances, work, trauma, or extra-marital activities. Our work assesses ways to rebuild a united front. I help you wade through what seems like a mess to restore yourselves to the best your relationship has to offer.
DBT Skill Building: For couples with issues of high escalation, I provide in-session skills training to reduce escalation and increase tolerable discussions even on topics of disagreement.
Breakups: For better or worse, not all relationships will survive, even after a healthy dose of couples therapy. However, not all breakups need to be hurtful. There are mindful ways to part from relationships, for each of the partners’ sake as well as that of their family, friends and pets. I help couples embrace peaceful endings, assisting them to clarify goals and objectives and complete their relationship in a way that minimizes conflict.
Premarital Counseling: I provide counseling and psycho-education to couples who are considering marriage or who are engaged and looking for tips to maintain a good marriage. I craft sessions for couples, using Gottman’s 7 Principles of Marriage, Gottman Connect and the Sound Relationship House.
Counseling for Adults & Professionals in
Fort Lauderdale & Plantation, FL
Counseling for Stress & Mental Health Challenges (Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, etc.):
I work with individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other conditions such as adjustment disorders, ADD, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, and other stress disorders. I utilize my specialized training in trauma reduction, in emotionally focused individual therapy, in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness to provide clients the skills and support they need to manage the big emotions that present obstacles to wellbeing.
DBT is an evidence-based treatment which provides clients practical, effective practices to instill mindfulness, balance emotions, tolerate distress and fully engage in relationships with less negativity and conflict, and with more connection and understanding. I integrate DBT and DBT Skills in both individual sessions and in group psychoeducation courses.
Counseling for Life Transitions, Conflicts & Unwanted Changes:
I also work with adults and professionals who struggle with work/life stressors or who are experiencing difficult conflicts and unwanted changes in life. This may include one partner or family member in a relationship experiencing betrayal, separation or divorce. Our work helps clients regain their confidence, footing, purpose or direction in life.
We focus on getting you back on track in life, pulling from the insights and resources you discover in therapy. We collaborate to create your recovery plan and integrate self-compassion and self-care, including pleasant events and play.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in journalism from Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. I wrote life and times stories for the school newspaper. Journaling remains a love of mine. I have steadily maintained a journal for more than 20 years and utilize expressive writing in session and in workshops.
I attended law school in Gainesville Florida, at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. There, I also served as an Associate Editor of the Law Review and was awarded the Myrna Brick service award. I currently maintain membership in both the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and the Florida Bar Association. I see learning as a lifelong process and am most always engaged in one form of advanced training or another, always seeking to remain open and curious.
I came to the field of marriage and family therapy as a second career, out of appreciation for the healing therapy provides. My first career for more than 25 years was law. I now serve as a new kind of Counselor, one integrating the healing arts. I also bring more than 15 years of training and development in experiential workshops with Landmark Worldwide providing on the court practice in living an invented life.
I routinely participate in growth and development trainings in the fields of mental health and wellbeing in the law, and deliver workshops in DBT, Journaling (Mindfulness with a Pen) and Gottman principles.
Just For Fun
Things you might not know about me include:
At age 15, I shot an eagle on a par 4 hole - #8 at Indian Hills. To this day, I can remember how I felt, and the embodiment of that perfect shot.
I married my soulmate at 42. He was 49. For each of us it was a first marriage. When asked what changed his mind, my husband stated that it was my “persevering while giving him space” that made the difference.
I learned Spanish in my 30s, which revolutionized the way I work and relate in the world.
I am passionate about work, but also about play. I love art, music, puppets, charades, and expressive therapeutic techniques including psychodrama. When life feels out of sync, I use mindful practices such as yoga and journaling to reconnect.
I enjoy weight training and healthy eating, but splurge in moderation. I love dark chocolate, coffee and red wine.
My husband and my Shih Tzu/Maltese mix (Mishka) are my best friends and companions. Travel and learning fuel me.
Why Work with Me As Your Therapist?
One of the most important factors for a successful therapeutic outcome is the relationship between the client and therapist. My objective is not to give you an answer, but rather to give you an experience of yourself as a change catalyst. Our work together will foster the type of trust and honesty where new, natural solutions emerge. Our work will be dynamic, with each of us growing in the process.
I am bilingual and provide services in English and Spanish. I offer Saturday and evening appointments to meet the needs of busy students, parents and couples.
My rate is $175/50-minute hour, with an initial 90-minute session charged at $250. However, I offer limited sliding scale options and cost-saving packages after our first session together.
Allow me to help you catalyze change, with safe, supportive guidance. There’s no time like the present.
Please call me at 954-391-5305 to discuss setting up a session. For more information visit my website.
Carla Barrow's Recent Blogs:
Expert Therapist for Adults & Couples in Fort Lauderdale & Plantation, FL
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