Ashley D. Allain, MA, LMHC
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Graduated 1999 with Master of Arts Degree in Agency Counseling.
- Relationship Counseling.
- Individual Psychotherapy.
My professional career began a few years after completing my undergraduate work, when I took the position of Study Director for the Center for Child Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
I was part of a comparative behavioral biology laboratory that was studying the cognitive development of children and chimpanzees. Being part of a collegial upper academic environment was fascinating, arduous and rewarding. I found myself grateful for the opportunity and recognized the contribution we were making to understanding human development.
However, I was still feeling a call to do something different. I realized that I wanted to explore and learn about our minds and our interactions in a different way. My interest was falling more in to the category of psychodynamic as opposed to anthropological or clinical psychology. I realized that I found myself seeing that everyone was responding to their life situation with all different outlooks. How could one be in the same experience and space and see things differently? I wanted to learn how to help people reframe their world and outlook. In reflection I was also searching for those life answers too. This was a difficult decision to make. I would have to leave this newfound career that I felt so blessed to have had acquired, and venture into the unknown.
While graduate school was challenging, I found that I was passionate about what I was learning in my classes. Learning how to reframe and make adjustments to negative behaviors and thoughts was empowering. I was excited about the tools and skills I was acquiring. The fear of the unknown was slowly being replaced with depth and understanding, and it fit me well. Yet, in the midst of attending graduate school, and having success in my classes, I was still having all the other problems and doubts about myself. Why was I lacking a trust that everything would be okay? Why did I lack confidence and security despite my external achievements? Certainly once I was handed that diploma everything would be perfect (?). However, I recall the day of my graduation, mixed with moments of accomplishment and pangs of emptiness. In reflection, I thought that the attainment of this external goal would change who I was and how I was feeling about my self and my life.
I reasoned at the time that I needed another change in my life to “fix everything.” I was not embracing, “wherever you go, there you are.” My spouse and I moved to Naples in 1999, a month after I graduated. Adjusting to the move, and attempting to find a job in a counseling position was not easy. It became harder to tell myself that “once this happens, I will feel this…” Over a year of searching, I found a wonderful counseling position working with children and women at The Shelter for Abused Women and Children. My clients had experienced domestic violence in their lives and were attempting to put things back together. I learned a great deal about human struggles and the dynamics of relationships. I was very fortunate to have worked with such supportive colleagues.
During this time, my husband and I started a family. After many attempts and wondering if having a child was possible, I had our first daughter. As much as I attempted to plan and control my destiny, life always takes a different turn. I had always heard the saying that “after having a child your life would never be the same.” It’s true. Our daughter brought another opportunity to go deep and challenge who and what I am. I realized I was not in control and needed to let go. Prayer and a new found spirituality kept me on the right path. That being said, I left my counseling position to stay at home with our daughter and work at our new business. In 2006 we welcomed our second daughter and enjoyed the success that had grown from the family business.
Living in Naples, we too were affected after the economy took a downward turn. Changes were happening and everyone was sharing that feeling of uncertainty. The stress this placed on our family was a blessing in disguise. My husband and I sought marriage counseling. We were fortunate to find someone to guide us. For me, this was the shift that I had always needed but never realized. To have a mirror held up and to have had the opportunity to see myself was invaluable. I began to take responsibility for myself and see my life with a consciousness and awareness that had previously eluded me. Looking at oneself honestly and objectively can be a terrifying experience, but it is one of the most rewarding ones a person can have.
My education and my license provide me the background and ability to work with you. However, I truly believe that it is my own inner work that has brought me to a deeper level of understanding and compassion.
I am open to growth and expansion, and feel passion about helping others awaken and step in to their highest self. It will be a privilege to walk with you and help you find your own place of peace, love, joy, and bliss.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Email: [email protected]