About the Austin Team
Karen Cotton, MSW, LCSW
Bachelor of Science in Education Psychology, North Texas State University
Master of Social Work, West Virginia University
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (License #32681)
Karen joined Get Out of Your Head Therapy in 2016 so that she could expand her work with the LGBTQIA community, people taking care of aging loved ones or those living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and clients who want to incorporate weight loss or weight management into their counseling experience. Karen had a robust career before joining Get Out Of Your Head Therapy. She worked in a hospital setting serving clients struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Then, she worked with couples and families living with HIV. For many years, she worked with inmates in California and coordinated their re-integration into the community.
Karen works with adults and the elderly and specializes in same-sex couples counseling, crisis intervention, aging issues, adult caretaker challenges, retirement transitions, HIV challenges and concerns specifically related to LGBTQIA identity. While Karen is trained in many of the schools and models of therapy, the theories and therapeutic approaches she utilizes the most are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic and Person-Centered Therapy.
Karen practices out of the Austin office and provides her clients Saturday appointments. Karen also offers web-based counseling.
Jennifer Merrill, BA, MA, LPC Associate
Supervised by Diana Garza Louis, LPC-S, LMFT-S, RPT-S
Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences, California State University - Sacramento
Master of Arts in Counseling, Northwestern University
Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (License #82106)
Jennifer joined GOOYHT in May 2018 as a practicum student and has returned to work for GOOYHT as a licensed clinician. Jennifer has worked with many types of people throughout her life. As she worked in these capacities, she recognized that people were suffering beyond her ability to help. She desired to work with people on a deeper level which led her to counseling. Her previous experience working as a teacher in Nigeria and as an English editor in South Korea gave her knowledge of various languages, cultures, and religions. Through her volunteer work in St. Louis, MO, and surrounding areas, and working as a sports coach, she has also developed an understanding of various socioeconomic groups as well as various ages and stages of life. She recognizes the need to incorporate unique cultural values and experiences into the counseling process. She values being inclusive and creating a warm accepting environment for clients from all walks of life.
Jennifer works with adults, adolescents, children, couples and families concerned with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, interpersonal violence, emotional regulation, relationships, difficult family of origin experiences, communication, life goals and values, body image, self-esteem, spirituality, and finding more meaning in life.
She values a collaborative, client-centered approach to achieving hope and well-being, focusing on strengths and offering support. In working with clients, she feels it is important to facilitate clients’ development of new skills and knowledge about themselves and their relationships. She feels that we can often overcome challenges by addressing our past and gaining an understanding of our current difficulties. Also, through mindful consideration of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, we can act in accordance with what is most important to us. In acting deliberately rather than reacting, our actions can be in line with our values. Through this understanding and deliberate action, we can heal and feel a full range of emotions as we relate to others and find meaning for ourselves.
Jennifer has knowledge of various theories, modalities, and interventions. She uses elements from these various theories of counseling, most often using Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Person-Centered Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, the Gottman Method and Trauma-Informed Therapy.
Jennifer will be seeing clients through teletherapy for now and taking clients in the Austin office once the pandemic subsides.