About the Founder

You're not alone.

I built River Oaks Psychology because I don’t want ANYONE to ever feel alone.

My mission is to create possibilities where loneliness can be alleviated for as many people as possible. I believe in helping people feel heard, valued, and understood. I work to authentically see people as who they are truly meant to be. That’s the only way to live your most fulfilling life. It’s the only way to exist with meaning and purpose. I work so hard to help people feel like you truly belong here because that is the only way you can unlock your potential and engender healthier ways to relate to yourself and the world around you.

With the right support, you can discover human-to human empathy, emotional attunement, and authentic understanding that will serve as catalysts for empowerment.

About Lauren

Diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age two, Lauren has been using a power wheelchair since she was five years old. Lauren can barely move her muscles but sitting on the sidelines was never an option for her. She fiercely ignored social expectations and misguided stereotypes about disabilities. Instead, Lauren blazed trails and focused on defining her own life.

EDUCATION

  • 4.0 GPA – BS in Sociology, Central Michigan University
  • 4.0 GPA – Master of Education in College Student Affairs, Grand Valley State University
  • 4.0 GPA – Educational Specialist in Leadership, Grand Valley State University
  • 4.0 GPA – Master of Social Work, Grand Valley State University

QUICK FACTS

  • Lauren studied abroad in Australia, Ireland, Japan, and South Africa – but now she’s more attracted to building dreams in her own community instead of traveling away.
  • She has tried everything from adaptive downhill skiing, horseback riding, waterskiing, parasailing, paragliding, power wheelchair soccer, kayaking, roller coasters, and more.
  • Lauren has received numerous awards, served as president of multiple groups, and worked in multiple arenas with people of all ages, including schools, colleges, community agencies, nonprofits, corporate offices, and other organizations.
  • Lauren employs a team of 24/7 caregivers to be her “arms” for all tasks of daily living. It can be hard to be a caregiving manager on top of her career ambitions, but somehow she does it all (and makes it look easy).

PATH TO MENTAL HEALTH WORK

Lauren reflected on her personal empowerment and realized that an important part of her success stems from the fact that she never thought she was that different from anyone else, despite her inability to use muscles. Since birth, she adapted her body in such profound ways that flexible thinking, problem-solving, and resourcefulness became second nature to her, strengthening her ability to succeed.

But as Lauren threw herself into the world growing up, she was also acutely aware of social inequalities, judgment, lack of resources, misunderstandings, insecurities, mental illness, self-doubt, chronic discouragement, unresolved trauma, broken relationships, invalidation, unachieved dreams, feeling stuck, shame, and loneliness that make life harder for all people struggling to thrive.

It became Lauren’s mission to recognize those who were not living their most empowered lives.

This inspired Lauren to use her clinical social work training to become a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. She discovered her soul-enriching purpose in the mental health field. There is no other professional field that compares to therapists providing genuine space for others to feel heard, understood, and accepted.

Aligned with her core beliefs, Lauren discovered that people find wellness when they have access to safe spaces where they feel seen, valued, and emotionally connected to another human. She realized that for many people, it can be hard to find those spaces in the world where we feel like we truly belong. She saw how loneliness and the absence of belonging often leads to feeling misunderstood, disempowered, and undervalued (all contributing factors to mental illness).

And then – determined to build something where people never have to feel alone, she created River Oaks Psychology, a telehealth company providing effective online therapy to more people in more places. With a dedicated team of person-centered clinicians, getting help and feeling wholeheartedly supported wherever you are is now easier than ever before.

River Oaks is the name of Lauren’s childhood neighborhood and the street name where she grew up. It’s where her parents lived for more than 25 years and where she always felt “home.” From middle school to high school and college breaks on River Oaks Drive, Lauren found herself here. When developing River Oaks Psychology, she wanted a name that would reflect her roots. We often learn the most about ourselves by reflecting on the places we have come from, discovering deeply-rooted patterns, and revealing new possibilities for growth. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

FAVORITE SELF-CARE

  • Working on creative digital projects near a fireplace with classic Coke to drink (my soda addiction is a struggle!)
  • Board games (Pictionary, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories, Mad Gab, Logo, Codenames, etc.)
  • Maintaining enough safe outlets to express myself, whether through conversations or through writing.
  • Long, hot showers after a stressful day with all my favorite Bath & Body Works products.
  • Swimming, fireplaces, chocolate, memory books, and summer walks outside.

FUN FACTS

  • I’m a big fan of summer camps for both kids and adults, there’s just something about camp experiences that bond people together!
  • My music library is a random collection of single hits, “That one song that goes like this… no idea who the artist is.”  I don’t follow music media but I know a good song when I hear one!
  • I have considered careers in journalism, marine biology, education, business, and graphic design. Being in the mental health field is by far my truest passion and life purpose.
  • As a child, I loved American Girl dolls.

LIFE MOTTO

  • If you love someone, tell them.
  • Fall 7 times, stand up 8.
  • The grass is green where you water it.
  • Don’t ever settle for less than what you want.

AS A THERAPIST

I approach psychotherapy with the understanding that no single theory or technique can explain our complicated histories, identities, or abilities. My work tends to be very person-centered, as I closely hold the values of empathy, compassion, and unconditional positive regard for others. I consider effective therapy to be possible when the relationship between patient and therapist is team-oriented. Recognizing individuals as the experts on their own lives, I desire strong therapeutic alliances with people and view therapy as a partnership in which we work together to determine the direction and content of the therapeutic process.

Life is hard enough. Don’t do it alone. You’re exhausted. You’re tired of faking it. You just need space. You’re feeling stuck. And maybe a little unsure about beginning therapy. I get it. I’ve been there. We all have shit to figure out.

I want you to be unapologetic. Yell, scream, cry, swear, vent, share your deepest secrets, whatever – I will ALWAYS accept you and care about you. I strongly believe there is often no more profound experience than being heard, understood, and accepted. So I will listen and accept who YOU ((authentically)) are – always.

Connect with Lauren

Email lauren@riveroakspsychology.com

Call/text 248-717-1232