About Michelle

Michelle Ngoc Turner
 

Hello, and thanks for stopping by! 

You’re probably here because you’re curious about who I am and what makes me the right therapist for you. To answer your questions, I can list many of my credentials and years of experience working in the field of mental health. But before I present my qualifications, let me share with you the story of how I became a Marriage and Family Therapist.

I am of Vietnamese-Chinese heritage. About 16 years ago, I left my home country, Vietnam, to move to the United States for work. I spent eight years working in the legal field specializing in family and immigration law. I had an amazing opportunity to work with people from very diverse backgrounds. I enjoyed helping spouses be reunited through the process of family petition or marriage. I assisted families in working through divorce and custody cases. But legal aid was the only way I knew how to help my clients. 

I didn’t know how to support my couples when their marriage was falling apart. I didn’t know what to say to sooth an individual’s pain when they disclosed being sexually or emotionally abused by their partner. I felt powerless because I could not do more for my clients. That was when I made the decision to leave the legal field and become a family therapist.

Because I’ve gone through such a career change, I learned a very important lesson about myself. I am at my best when I love what I do and I know the purpose behind what I am doing. I love working with couples and individuals who are willing to make some changes to better the quality of their lives and relationships.   

I currently hold a dual license in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Chemical Dependency Counseling. I also have experience working with adults and adolescents with mental health and behavioral issues in the crisis residential and inpatient setting. I received extensive training in therapy for couples and families at the Department of Psychiatry's Family Studies Center at UT Southwestern, where I had the privilege of working with diverse clients of all ages. 

I am an EMDR trained counselor who specializes in couples work with trauma. A simple way to understand EMDR is to think about it as a powerful technique that can be used to "unlock" troubling images, feelings, and thoughts, which are trapped in our brain, due to our "fear center" becoming overly reactive towards a traumatic situation. 

When we experience something disturbing, our brain's ability to make sense of the event is hijacked with intense body sensations and emotions. Because our brain is unable to process what has happened to us, it protects us by "locking away" the negative memories. When left unaddressed, these aspects of our past can be easily triggered by seemingly normal events in the present and affect the way we view ourselves as well as our relationships with others. 

By using the systemic approach of EMDR, a well-trained therapist can help reprocess the experiences of your past and restructure them in a way that creates an open door for healing and new opportunities for growth.    

Healing from trauma is a very personal process and how you choose to "unlock" your past is important. I cannot stress enough the significance of working through your trauma in a safe environment, at your own pace, and without fear of being judged. 

Recovery from trauma is a difficult task, but it is possible. It is my hope that by providing you the essential elements of a trusting alliance, together we can build a strong foundation that helps facilitate your healing process.

Because of my background in family and immigration work, I am also passionate about helping interracial couples who face challenges of cultural barriers and difficult life transitions.

Through collaboration, I can help you speak the language of forgiving instead of blaming. My goal is to help you turn towards your partner, rather than turning away from each other. It is not going to be an easy road, but it is well-worth it.       

I believe that much of successful therapy is finding the right therapist for you. I am not an expert who "knows it all." I don't have all the answers, but I want to be the therapist who is here to listen to you with an open heart.

Trust the process and allow me to be your guide on your path towards a life you desire. I look forward to joining with you soon!

I am also fluent in Vietnamese, and am happy to integrate this into our work if you need.