Elizabeth Wilkins-McKee, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Clients I work with: Children, Adults, Couples and Groups
Issues I work with: Pregnancy and fertility related issues, reproductive mental health, parenting at all stages of the life-cycle, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, identity, separation, divorce, and sexuality. I take a “sex positive” approach to my work and am attuned to issues of cultural sensitivity, including those of the LGBT community.
Children, families and individuals sometimes need help in balancing the challenges and changes of life. I tailor my approach to the needs of each person or family with whom I work, recognizing that my clients are whole people who deserve a real-world approach to mental health. Clients also deserve a safe, private place to share their most challenging and painful thoughts, feel supported, and reclaim their sense of self without having to appear strong, perfect, or in control.
I can also help in incorporating more laughter into daily living, spending time in nature, and designing a life of purpose. Clients share with me that my relaxed, playful, and humorous approach often helps them reach their psychotherapy goals quickly and in ways that feel rewarding.
I am skilled at helping clients to identify their needs; balance self-care—including physical wellness, sleep, and self-compassion—with the demands of living; improve communication skills and explore workplace satisfaction; and find ways to advocate for their needs with healthcare providers and family members alike. I offer a range of assessments to help you understand your symptoms, and I’ll collaborate with you to develop behavioral, treatment, support, and advocacy plans. I employ best-practice and evidence-based models and participate in ongoing professional development to support this.
My clinical specialties include: pregnancy and fertility related issues, parenting at all stages of the life-cycle, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, identity, separation, divorce, and sexuality. I take a “sex positive” approach to my work and am attuned to issues of cultural sensitivity, including those of the LGBT community.
Since 2004, I have expanded my practice to include a specialty in perinatal and reproductive mental health, including pre- and post-natal mental health, and post-partum mood and anxiety disorders.
This includes working with families experiencing any of the following:
- trying to have a child and fertility
- grief, loss, or guilt about miscarriage, termination, or infant loss
- worries about the health of a pregnancy (particularly after miscarriage or infertility)
- dealing with feelings about an unplanned pregnancy
- concerns regarding staying on medications (for depression or anxiety) during pregnancy and postpartum
- having a history of a post-partum mood disorder and wanting to develop a proactive plan for postpartum support and care
- antenatal (during pregnancy) depression and anxiety
- birth experiences
- post-partum mood disorders
- adjustment to parenting
- couple and family relationships
- sexual issues
- pre-fertility treatment assessments
- family of origin and attachment experiences
The path to becoming a parent, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood are all times of great transition. Physical, emotional, relational, and hormonal changes are coupled with lack of sleep and a host of new expectations and responsibilities. Parents are rarely informed about the range of emotions that accompany fertility, pregnancy and parenthood, and it can be tough to admit that being a parent sometimes can be hard, exhausting, overwhelming, dissatisfying, and stressful. When the power of these transitions is combined with shame, guilt, or isolation, it can be even harder.
It can be even more difficult if you have a pre-existing vulnerability to anxiety or depression, or are for the first time noticing symptoms that concern you.
In my work, I’ve seen that too often, parents who share their struggles with others are dismissed by well-intentioned healthcare providers or family members, told that what they are experiencing is ‘normal,’ or will get better. This advice is deeply unhelpful and can often leave us feeling isolated, or as though we are failing, or lacking.
It is these experiences that have made me passionate and committed to the work I do. My goal is to reassure clients that they are not alone and support is available.
Elizabeth is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Russian Language and Literature. She then attended the University of Michigan School of Social Work where she studied clinical practice. She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for nearly twenty years. While not working, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, living in the woods outside Manassas, hiking, gardening, swimming, reading, making music and of course laughing whenever possible.