Tracy Barrand Counseling
Get To Know Tracy

Welcome

All of Heavenly Father’s children suffer affliction in this life. Perhaps you are reading this with the hope of finding a way to heal your personal trial. While it may take courage to begin the counseling process, I assure you a counselor can help guide you to solutions and help you alleviate your pain. Congratulations. By researching this website, you’ve taken the first step towards increasing happiness. In the ten years I’ve been counseling, I‘ve seen many people move toward conquering their problems, reducing their pain, and reaching their full potential.

What qualifies me to be your counselor?

I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Lesley University, Cambridge MA, and am completing my doctoral degree. I’ve been working as a therapist since 1995, counseling couples and individuals. For the past ten years I’ve been working in the psychology world as a private counselor, psychology professor and graduate student researcher. Why is this important to you? On a consistent basis I utilize the most current research studies to help analyze, understand and work on your issue. I also rest my practice on the shoulders of the giants of psychology. The following are some tools, ideas and theories from great minds that I use frequently.

Some theory and workbooks I use for individual counseling:

How is the type of counseling I do with LDS people different than other types of counseling?

A critical factor in counseling a Latter-day Saint is helping that individual understand how the atonement of Jesus Christ can help overcome problems. The words of a modern apostle, Elder David Bednar explain that the redemptive power of the atonement helps us repent of our sins, and the grace of the atonement helps us overcome our afflictions. Grace is an enabling and strengthening power, or heavenly help, beyond our natural capacity. In counseling, we make weak things strong through the atonement. (Ether 12:27) Elder Bednar explains that, it is a mistake to believe we have to make the journey from good to better by sheer grit, willpower and discipline. When it comes to your pains and afflictions you may feel that…

No one understands. No one knows. No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power.”

Source: Atonement & The Journey of Mortality – Bednar, 2012

To illustrate how the atonement can help in a therapy session I’d like to give an example of a client: Alyssa* remembers being depressed all her life. To say her childhood was difficult would be an understatement. Her father was a cocaine addict, but maintained a façade of stability by going to church every Sunday. The police made frequent stops at the home, and her dad made frequent trips to prison. Alyssa’s mother had obsessive compulsive disorder and struggled to raise three children. She expected perfection from them and spoke only to criticize. Life in the family was so poisonous her sister attempted suicide four times

Alyssa had two coping strategies:

  1. Pretending everything was fine all the time which involved putting on her happy face and never talking to anyone about what was really going on, or,
  2. pleasing everyone, staying under the radar, never making waves and never having needs or speaking up for herself

As an adult, she didn’t believe she was ever good enough. Her husband neglected her, and seldom spent time with her while her oldest daughter became extremely aggressive when Alyssa would refuse to give her money for drugs. Alyssa suffered from crippling phobias and panic attacks, eventually overdosing on medications in a suicide attempt at a family reunion. Because food can make you feel good when everything else is bleak, she was at least a hundred pounds overweight.

I told Alyssa, “Let’s attack these problems on three fronts:

  1. I am going to use cognitive therapy to work with you on your destructive beliefs about yourself,
  2. You really need the Savior. This is the way the atonement can start to work. Go home and get on your knees and ask our Father in Heaven which of all these problems we should tackle first, then listen for impressions.
  3. Go and do the ideas you’ve been given

She responded, “Six months ago, I felt impressed to get off my 14 medications. I went to a drug rehab and now I’m drug free. I am ready and willing to get to work on my next issue.”She came back a week later and said she had prayed and felt impressed to confront her weight. I asked her, “What are the thoughts that keep you from success?”

She said, “I always felt fat and ugly. I always thought, ‘Who would love me? I don’t even love myself.” Attacking this problem involved many, many hours of dismantling and dissolving negative beliefs and replacing them with positive counterstatments. Then she prayed and felt impressed to really look at eating and exercise habits.

She said,

Tracy helped me change my daily thoughts and those became my core beliefs. One of my negative beliefs had been that I couldn’t set and achieve goals. After some success, I was ready to tackle eating habits. I didn’t want to do anything extreme that I wouldn’t be able to continue long term. I won’t lie – it was hard. I changed my portions. I have four children, so I didn’t want to do things different for me than I did for the rest of the family but we were all victims of our poor habits. I was all about moderation. When I baked for the kids I ate one cookie instead of ten. I then I decreased fats and increased fruits and vegetables. When I think about trying to exercise, I think, ‘I can’t walk at the track, if people see me, they’d see I’m fat and ugly’. I really prayed to know what to do next and felt impressed to join a gym. After a year of tough work on my thoughts and beliefs I had lost ninety pounds. If I can do that, I can do anything. I feel and look like me again. I believe I am worthy to be loved, I’m worthy of success. I am finally able to shop in the normal people section and buy clothes that don’t have any X’s in front of the L. I know that if I can do this anyone else can too. I had to stay strong, but allow myself mistakes. People see me and compliment me on how great I look. I think to myself, ‘if they only knew!’ The changes in my outer body are nothing compared to the changes in my inner life.

Alyssa’s husband was less active in the Church, and her grown, college-aged daughter was verbally abusive. “I used to just accept their horrible treatment of me and think, ‘“I don’t deserve any better’”, but Tracy helped me challenge and defeat that thought. “I decided I wouldn’t let my family treat me so terrible without standing up for myself.” Alyssa felt prompted to get her temple recommend, which gave us all kinds of positive thoughts and ideas to work with in counseling. It had been many years since she had visited the temple and she was jubilant about attending after such a long time. In the temple she realized, “I am worthy to talk to God, and get help. He loves me and wants to help me. I won’t put up with abuse from my family anymore. I am the child of a loving Heavenly Father and deserve better.”

*Name changed, situation disguised.

It had been a year since Alyssa started counseling. She had overcome significant afflictions and made many weak things strong through changing her thoughts, beliefs and actions, and through the grace of the atonement. I saw her extremely negative beliefs wondrously change to positive self-confidence and a strong bond with God. As she was finishing her therapy, she felt impressed to do something we spoke of often: to sign up for college and study nursing.

Have A Question? Just Ask.

If you have any questions about services or how I can help you, please let me know. Call me at 720-243-3512 for additional information.