Acacia Spotlight: Michelle LeBeau, LCSW

Acacia Spotlight looks to highlight the clinicians, staff, and programs that make Acacia what it is today. July’s clinician is Michelle LeBeau, LCSW.

Michelle LeBeau, originally from Manhattan Beach, California, is a clinician in the Acacia Isla Vista office and has been on the team since October 2018. Michelle is one of the many super-therapists at Acacia and has such a thoughtful presence in both the office and with her clients – one that has impacted many for the good. When the spotlight turned to Acacia Isla Vista, our original office, Michelle was a no-brainer to speak with!

What do you enjoy most about being a clinician?

Michelle: I love witnessing and supporting a person through their personal growth and healing journey.

What really happens in therapy?

Michelle: The person comes in and talks about what is on their mind or what they are currently working on; and together therapist and client work to problem solve or create change where desired. It is a time for someone to take up all the space for themselves. A time to learn about who they are and why, and what it is they want to become. Through talking, art, or other modalities, the therapist works with the client to help aide them through their own innate ability to heal and grow. Sometimes it’s being called out on something the person is not seeing, and sometimes it’s being held with unconditional acceptance and support. I also want to say it is a place where you get to say anything and everything you want or need to, and can expect to be treated without judgment, criticism, or being ignored. Confidentiality will be kept as mandated by law, and trust and boundaries are established so that the person can feel safe in their own feelings, body, and experiences during sessions.

[College] is very nostalgic as being some of the highest highs and lowest lows. While it was a time of rigorous academic learning, it was also a time of radical self-exploration. It was a learning process of discovering who I am and how I wanted to be in this world.

How would someone know if they could use therapy?

Michelle: Everyone can use therapy! Honestly, therapy is so helpful for anyone at some point or throughout their lifetime. Therapy can help you with something you feel stuck in, something you want to heal from, some area you want to grow in, for learning how to navigate being with yourself and being yourself around others. Therapy is whatever you make it to be. It really works best when the person is ready to be authentic and open and honest with themselves and the therapist. It is a safe space to explore your world and give yourself “me time” for an hour a week. I know I can use that!

Since a majority of our clients are college students, do you have an interesting or memorable story from when you were in college?

Michelle: HAHA! I don’t have one particular story to share, however that time frame is very nostalgic as being some of the highest highs and lowest lows. While it was a time of rigorous academic learning, it was also a time of radical self-exploration. It was a learning process of discovering who I am and how I wanted to be in this world. Learning to become a responsible adult took me a lot of trial and error and I look back with gratitude for the events and people that helped shaped who I am today.

Michelle LeBeau, LCSW. Photo by Amy Shirley.

If you could share one piece of advice for students looking to start therapy, what would it be?

Michelle: To ask questions and do a little research. Most therapists have websites or info online somewhere, or a number to call or text your questions to.  I think it’s important to find the right fit between therapist and client. Find out what interventions they use, ask questions about cultural competence and experience, and see if their style aligns with what you want to work on. If you have a specific issue, there may be a therapist that specializes in that area. You are in charge of your own journey and outcome, the therapist is there to help you. Therefore, try to be comfortable to speak up about what your needs are and what you hope to get out of this. If you don’t feel like it is a good fit for you then say so, and that therapist may be able to help you find someone that could be right for you with referrals and community resource suggestions. If you are considering therapy, then please push yourself to try it!

We wanted to check in with another key player in the Isla vista office to get their impression of our super therapist Michelle and if there is one person in the office that sees all the interactions, it’s the Office Manager Trieasha Dillard who says…

I would describe Michelle as a very warm and welcoming person. She is down to earth and very easy to talk to and work with. One thing I admire about Michelle is how passionate she is about her job and her clients. You can tell that she genuinely cares about her client’s well-being and that this not just a job to her.

Stay tuned for more Acacia Clinician Spotlights! And check out Michelle’s bio on the Isla Vista page!

Authored (a lot) by Michelle LeBeau and (a little) by KorbyQuan Reed.

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