I Have Scheduled My First Appointment…Now What?

Is this your first time visiting us at Creative Family Counseling?

Welcome! We find it a privilege to walk alongside clients as they work through challenges. Thank you for choosing to spend that time with us!

If you’re a planner like me, this little article may be helpful to help you prepare for your first session with your Therapist.

Our Intake Coordinator Team schedules your intake with a well-matched Clinician on our Team of expert Therapists.
Once you schedule your first appointment with your Therapist, you will receive an email which includes a password to complete your Intake Questionnaire and sign the Consents and Agreements to counseling at our practice. These must be completed prior to coming for your first appointment. If you do not see this email within a few minutes of scheduling your first appointment, please give us a call back and we can check our spelling on our end or try to resend the paperwork. Please complete this paperwork electronically prior to your visit so your Therapist can review it with you during your scheduled appointment time. Should you arrive for your appointment and this paperwork not be complete, your Therapist will utilize your reserved Intake appointment time for the completion of this paperwork. Learn More...

First Counseling Session

What to Expect: The Next Steps for Your Appointment at Creative Family Counseling After You Submit a Contact Request

Is this your first time visiting us at Creative Family Counseling?

Welcome! We find it a privilege to walk alongside clients as they work through challenges. Thank you for choosing to spend that time with us!

If you’re a planner like me, this little article may be helpful to help you prepare for your first session with your Therapist.

To schedule an appointment, you’ve got three options:

  1.  Browse our website and submit a Contact Submission, selecting the Campus you’d like to go to for your appointments and the primary concern you want to address by selecting the appropriate dropdown menu item. A member of our team will follow up with you within 48 business hours. 
  2. Call our Intake Line and speak to one of our Intake Coordinators to determine which member of our team will best fit your preferred areas of focus based on their expertise and availability. The Intake Coordinator can help you narrow down what you want to work on and make recommendations to which of our team members would be the best fit for you.  They can then set up the appointment for you over the phone.
  3. If there is a particular Therapist with whom you’d like to work, you may reach out directly to them by phone or email.  Each clinician’s contact information is available on their Bio Pages. 

To schedule the appointment, the Intake Coordinator will need the client’s name, phone number, and email address.  For those seeking Couple’s Therapy, they will need the name and contact information for both partners.  For clients who are minors, they will also need each Legal Guardian’s names, phone numbers, and email addresses.  For minors for whom a custody plan has been established, we request both Legal Guardian’s contact information and ask that the most recent Judge-signed custody paperwork be uploaded to the child’s client portal for our review prior to their first appointment.  Learn More...

Therapist offering counseling at Creative Family Counseling located in Louisville, KY

What is HypnoTherapy?

Most of us have heard of hypnosis, but what is it? There are so-called examples of hypnosis on television shows, movies and even stage performances. In these “examples” the person receiving the “hypnosis” seems to have no control over their actions or behaviors and sometimes have no memory of their actions! While we could spend the time to explain what these instances are in reality, I can assure you that they are most certainly NOT hypnosis.

Historically, medical professionals and therapists have clinically used a form of hypnosis where the therapist makes suggestions about what is best for the patient after inducing a hypnotic state. The therapist is the “expert/authority” and the subject is the “patient.” This is certainly one form of hypnosis. You may have encountered this in hypnosis groups marketed for stopping smoking or losing weight. Milton H. Erickson (father of family therapy and modern evidence-based hypnosis) said that these forms of hypnosis “are great for the BASIC person. Problem is, I’ve never met a BASIC person.”

Ericksonian hypnosis is a strengths-based approach founded on a few principles that respect a person’s natural resources and abilities and is supported by the most current in neuroscience research.  It utilizes the relationship between therapist and client to inform the interventions so that client is able to connect with their innermost “knowing” to facilitate their own new solutions. Clients of Ericksonian hypnotherapy are fully in control of their participation level. The therapist is not the “expert” of the experience. The therapist may, however, expertly guide a client, using the client’s own trance, to assist the client in finding whatever solutions or shifts for which they are looking.

So, what is a trance? Trances are natural states that we all come in and out of on a daily basis. Some trances seem to come on spontaneously; some trances take a routine to build; some trances seem to be attached to people who are important in our lives and we find ourselves acting in very specific ways around them that may not be typical for us when they are not around. A common example of trance is that almost universal experience of driving to work, lost in thought, and parking only to realize that we don’t remember any bit of our drive there! We were so involved in our trance that muscle memory took over and got us to work!

“Problem” trances exclude information that is otherwise useful to us. Again, most of us have had the experience of looking for our keys/phones for embarrassing amounts of time only to discover that the item is in our hands. Client’s often come into therapy experiencing one or several of these “problem” trances that keep them from seeing what they need, and likely already have, to create their solutions. A skilled hypnotherapist can assist and guide a client to rediscovering their unconscious resources that have been present all along!

When we view problems as types of trances, it can be easy to see how hypnotherapy can assist clients in creating their own outcomes. The more research we uncover about the mind-body connection and the role of automatic processes in our awareness, perceptions and experience, we now see scientifically how it is that hypnotherapy has often been wildly successful for people struggling with pain, somatic experiencing, psychosomatic issues, trauma history, challenging family dynamics, mental health diagnosis and more.

Children haven’t unlearned some of their innate intelligences quite yet and find themselves in hypnotic states most frequently. Children are expertly using trace when we simply ask them to “IMAGINE….” Play is a most common trance state for a child where anything is possible. Children are aware of deeper meanings and respond well to metaphors and symbols and often work out their struggles symbolically. A child’s hypnotherapist will enter into the child’s symbolic rendering of their world and assist the child in making the small shifts necessary to continue growing in healthy and adaptive ways, using the child’s specific and unique interests and abilities.

Regardless of a person’s age or issue, humans need to play. A trance of playfulness can benefit clients of all ages. Consider this an invitation for you to “play” with some new possibilities for the outcomes you are seeking. You need not be a child or have a life-threatening illness or trauma to benefit from hypnotherapy. Though, having a little bit of child-likeness may help.


***Robin Goben, LMFT is trained in Ericksonian Hypnosis and provides services at Creative Family Counseling, located in Prospect, Kentucky. To learn more about Robin, visit

Creative Family Counseling Prospect

Creative Family Counseling, A Children’s Therapy Practice in Louisville, Kentucky, Expands with Growth in Both Clientele and Business Following COVID-19 Pandemic

When Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist Lacey Ryan opened the doors of Creative Family Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in 2019, keeping those same doors open through a pandemic was not in her five-year plan. However, that’s exactly where Ryan, the Founding Director of Creative Family Counseling, found herself in the early months of 2020 as COVID-19 started to make its way into the lives of Louisvillians across the city including her staff members’ and patients’. While plenty of businesses were forced to close their doors over the last year and a half, Creative Family Counseling has done the opposite. After a period where Ryan and her team worked together to realign their business approach to meet the new normal that included telehealth and social distancing, the practice continued to offer therapeutic services throughout the pandemic. And now, 18 months later, Creative Family Counseling is preparing to open a second office location in Prospect, Kentucky as the team of therapists and the list of specialties and services offered continues to grow.

Adapting to the pandemic was a learning opportunity for the team at Creative Family Counseling and the knowledge they gained throughout the experience will not be soon forgotten despite Kentucky lifting mask mandates and loosening social distancing restrictions. According to Ryan, “when the COVID-19 pandemic first began in the U.S. and things shut down in Kentucky, the initial impact on our practice was that appointments for counseling significantly decreased. Since we specialize in working with children and families, using expressive therapies like Play Therapy and Animal-Assisted Therapies, our services were difficult to convert to virtual platforms like telehealth. Many client families decided to try to wait it out until we could get back into the play therapy rooms for in-person appointments. So our practice was very quiet, both in-person and virtually. After the pandemic continued for several weeks, and weeks turned into months, we all realized the need to find alternative ways to meet the emotional and mental needs of our community.”

So, Creative Family Counseling did just that. The practice not only opened up their appointments to telehealth, despite Ryan and other staff members believing that the art of their therapy approach is best received in-person but also developed tools to offer parents support from afar. One such tool was the Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package (PDFPP), a downloadable Positive Parenting, self-paced, parent education program. The PDFPP includes interactive learning to help parents develop positive parenting tools, mostly from the Positive Discipline curriculum, which focuses on a non-punitive and non-permissive approach to parenting. Despite in-person therapy sessions being available once again at Creative Family Counseling, the PDFPP remains available for purchase online as a means of support for parents within the local area and across the country.

Read More…

Therapist offering counseling

A Space for Healing: The Perspective of a Play Therapist*

As a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate in practice at Creative Family Counseling in Louisville, KY, I work mostly with kids, teens and their families. The pandemic has changed many aspects of what therapy looks like; I practice via telehealth with many clients, conducting sessions with them via video conferencing. I also meet with younger clients (ages 4-12) in-person at the office while we are masked because meeting via telehealth with that age group is, typically, too challenging for them to engage in in a meaningful way longterm.  Learn More...


Finding Gratitude in 2020

This year has been a rough one, hasn’t it?  As we have experienced an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, many of us have felt the ongoing stress, strain, and difficulty of most of the year 2020.  With the adjustments to our work, home, and family life have come a myriad of reactions amongst folks, with the overwhelming feelings of isolation, fear, panic, stress, anger, and helplessness being just a few.

And then it continued and continued…and it still continues to continue!

The long-term nature of the challenges many of us are facing is something we’ve never experienced before.  I don’t know about you, but I have definitely felt ill-equipped for this long journey at times.  When the waves of emotions are so high it doesn’t seem there is an end in sight, perhaps pausing to appreciate the small victories of 2020 will allow you to experience Gratitude.

At first it may be hard to find Gratitude.  Between all that you are accomplishing at home, under all the weight of stress and overwhelm, learning to pause can be a skill to practice in itself.  The type of “pause” you develop may be unique to you and your schedule.  As you develop this new skill, make it a point to stop and practice gratitude at various times throughout the day to see what is most helpful to you.  Even trying different lengths of times may be beneficial.  Some folks appreciate less frequent, longer pauses; others benefit from more frequent, shorter pauses.  Use whatever works for you!

After practicing the pause, make it a priority.  This may be by setting a reminder in your phone or scheduling it on your calendar. Or, it could mean using it intentionally when those waves of emotions grow and you’re in the thick of it!

Next step: Gratitude.

This can be as simple as acknowledging a small win, a moment of peace, something beautiful, something sweet.  Practicing Gratitude may actually be saying, “I am grateful for…” in those moments.   Sincerely thanking someone for a kind deed, a helping hand, or listening ear is practicing gratitude.  Some people keep Gratitude Journals and write about what they’re thankful for on a regular basis.

As you develop the skills of Pause and Gratitude, make it your own – for even though 2020 has been a big hit, surely there are things for which you may be grateful. By giving yourself the opportunity to Pause and practice Gratitude, it can shift your mental picture and emotional state.

I’ll close in pausing to share some of my Moments of Gratitude this year: more time at home with our son, walks with my dog, time to plant a plentiful garden, the opportunity to practice my creativity in finding fun things to do at home, the usefulness of my laptop, the dedication and hard work of my colleagues, listening ears of friends, advice and guidance from mentors, flowers from a sweet child, motivation from my partner, community advocacy, new books, and proving my own capability in crisis.  Thank you 2020 for these things.  I look forward to seeing what else you have to offer.

Nugget, therapy dog at Creative Family Counseling in Louisville, KY

Nugget’s Knowledge: A Check In with Nugget the Therapy-Dog-in-Training

Creative Family Counseling is a group practice in Louisville, Kentucky that specializes in working with families that include young children and teens.  The practice offers many types of experiential and creative interventions to help young clients engage and participate in therapy in developmentally appropriate ways.  Known in town as the “practice with the dogs,” Creative Family Counseling has become somewhat known for offering Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with Certified Therapy Dogs as one of the creative ways to engage family members of all ages.  While AAT has been limited in the last few months due to the Pandemic, the practice’s two Therapy Dogs – Lola and Archer – and one Therapy Pup in training – Nugget – continue to be a source of joy for clients, even if from a distance.  Marriage and Family Therapist Associate Leslie Cashion and her Therapy Partner, Nugget sat down for a little checkin to give us an update on Nugget’s certification training as a Therapy Dog as well as some other topics such as working from home.

Leslie: (calling from her office chair) Nugget, c’mere buddy! I know you really want to finish tearing up that new dog stuffy to spread fluff all over the office, but Lacey wants to hear about how life is going as a 1+ yr old Golden Retriever therapy dog in training.

Nugget: (bounding in from the other room, enthusiastically leaping on Leslie’s lap) LACEY! I love Lacey, she’s Lola’s mom and is always ready to pet my soft head or give me amazing treats!

Leslie: (Gently, but firmly removing Nugget from her lap) Ok, sit down buddy. Remember your manners, no “LAP” unless I ask and then it’s only supposed to be your front paws, not your whole 55+ lb body.

Nugget: (Looking temporarily sheepish) Sorry, mom. (Tail wagging) What does Lacey want? Does she have a treat? Does Lola want to give me one of her toys that I always try to steal from her basket?

Leslie: No Nugs, Lacey wants to know about your therapy training. She wants to know if we have been going back to class and what that is like?

Nugget: Ooooh, well. That has sure been weird, hasn’t it? I remember when you first brought me home, we were supposed to go to school every week at the kennel with my friends and my brothers. Except for summer break. We haven’t gotten to do that hardly at all…except for summer!

Leslie: You’re right buddy. Do you remember when we stopped going and why?

Nugget: Yeah, it was right after all you humans stopped going places and we started staying home all the time, which is awesome! But I didn’t get to see my friends in class anymore or have play dates outside of class. I was really excited to learn some new skills, not to mention see all my friends. And make you proud of me!

Leslie: Aww, Nugget, I’m always proud of you, even when you are a silly puppy, but I do miss taking you to class too, learning how to help you be a therapy dog and letting you play with your friends.  Remember when we got to go to outside class?

Nugget: Outside adventure class is awesome!!! We got to see chickens, though we couldn’t chase them and had to be well-behaved. We got to go on a nature hike! There was a creek that I got to swim in after we were finished learning. It was really cool to learn about walking calmly by wheelchairs, walkers, and to jump little jumps! Last week we went to the big store with the gardening stuff as a class, where we had to be good and not pee on any plants or play together instead of heel. That was stressful!
Leslie: That’s hard sometimes, isn’t it, little man? You see your friends and you’ve miss them so much since social distancing began. You have to concentrate on what I or the teacher is telling you, instead of playing. It’s so hard! I bet you are glad to see your friends and at the same time disappointed when you can’t play with them.

Nugget: That’s exactly how I feel! You and my big brother Chance are awesome, but I miss running and wrestling with dogs my age. It’s really hard to concentrate on what the teacher is saying when all I want to do is leap, jump, and bark! Plus, I love being outside! It’s difficult to be good; all I want to do is smell everything, watch the world go by, and PLAY!

Leslie: I know, buddy. We have to be outside and separated from our friends because of Covid-19. That’s why I wear a mask when I leave the house too. You know, your school struggles are a lot like all our human therapy friends; they are having to adapt to new school and work situations too, while keeping themselves and their families healthy. Some of them don’t get to go to school or work at all. This is a hard year to be a puppy or a human.

Nugget: Ugh! I guess so, I wish I could cheer up our human therapy friends! I was so excited to be a therapy dog, able to come to the office with you and give some puppy love to your clients. I really want to be able to snuggle kiddos on the couch or let someone pet me as they talk about hard stuff with you. I’m disappointed I don’t get to see them in person anymore.

Leslie: Me too! Someday in the next year, when we’ve finished our dog training, inside or out, and you’re officially a Therapy Dog, we will go to our new office and be able to support our therapy friends again. I know you are going to be an amazing Therapy Dog. (Gestures for Nugget to put his paws on her lap.)

Nugget: (Gently placing his paws across Leslie’s legs, leaning in to get his chest scratched) Aww, thanks Mom! I sure hope so!

To learn more about Animal Assisted Therapy at Creative Family Counseling, click here.

Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package

Self-Paced Positive Parenting Video Package Now Available for Parents Wanting to Increase Parenting Tools


First-time Parents,

Parents who have tried EVERYTHING and nothing seems to work long term,

Yelling Parents,

Concerned Parents looking for guidance,

Parents who have no rules, and

Families who live in CHAOS…

This program is for parents who want a more peaceful and happy home and a less chaotic one.

The Creative Family Counseling Team has created the Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package for parents seeking new parenting methods. These parenting tools will grow the parent-child relationship and keep the lines of communication open while providing your family with the structure it needs. In this Experiential 6-Video Package, the Creative Family Counseling Team Members will cover the basic philosophy of the Positive Discipline Parenting Approach and offer parenting tools that can be implemented immediately.

Positive Discipline offers long-term parenting skills that will encourage children to think for themselves, become more responsible, and have greater respect for themselves and others. These teachings are filled with both non-punitive and non-permissive methods. It is applicable to children from birth – teenage years.

Who would benefit from the Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package?

Tired of yelling, spanking, and time-outs?

Dealing with the same problems over and over again?

Have you found yourself feeling exasperated and thinking, “there has to be a better way”?

If you’re feeling like your current parenting methods aren’t a good fit for your child and family, the Positive Discipline Foundational Parenting Package will equip you with research-supported methods to provide the structure your family needs in a kind but firm way.

This package will be beneficial for many types of parents:

  • Parents at their wit’s end
  • First-time parents who are learning the parenting ropes
  • Parents who have tried every program and without long-term desired results
  • Parents who want a better relationship with their children
  • Parents stuck in unproductive and unhealthy cycles with their children
  • Parents who want to parent differently but don’t know how to go about doing so
  • Learn More...

    Finding new ways to meet family's needs during the pandemic

    Creative Family Counseling Offering New Ways to Support Parents Through Monthly Emailer & Upcoming Positive Parenting Video Packages

    This is Too Much.

    Parents, we are trying the best we can, aren’t we? Life is tough right now.  Between regular old Parenting (the hardest job in the world), PLUS working from home, and PLUS PLUS home-schooling our children, it is A LOT! It’s more than a lot; it’s unmanageable.

    Not only is it a challenge for us parents, but it’s a challenge for our kids too.  When children go through difficult challenges, their big feelings bubble over into big reactions and behaviors.  And that doesn’t make it any easier on us, does it?  So on top of meeting our work deadlines, keeping a somewhat manageable home, meeting our family members’ basic needs, and logging our children into their 5th Zoom meeting for the day, we are also needed for emotional support and co-regulation during the latest meltdown!  Ahh!

    How does one keep up???  Where does one find solutions for managing all these stressors? Who has time to call a Therapist for Parenting Support or their own Emotional Support?  And how in the world would you find time to schedule an actual appointment during a Therapist’s typical business hours? (Wait, are there any Therapists who see clients at 10:00pm, after I’ve completed enough of what needs to be done in my day?)

    We are here to help.

    Your Creative Family Counseling Team understands.  We get it.  Our team has been brainstorming how we can help busy and overwhelmed parents and we’ve got some exciting news to share.  We’ve got two new opportunities for families who are ready to quickly absorb and consume Parenting Tips and Positive Parenting solutions.

  • NEW Monthly Emailer for Subscribers: Our Monthly Emailer will be a resource for parents who want to quickly understand and absorb some new parenting tips.  It will include our latest Blog and Videos, Quick Ways to Connect with your children, an introduction to our new team members, Parenting Hacks, and books that we recommend for parents who have a bit more time on their hands.  Visit our Contact Page to sign up to receive our Monthly Email!
  • NEW Positive Parenting the Positive Discipline Way (Self-Paced) Videos: We are all finding ways to adapt to social distancing.  It’s been so disappointing that we’ve been unable to offer our Positive Discipline Workshops the last few months, and it looks like it won’t be safe to do so for a while.  So we are in the process of recording the Positive Discipline activities and education and plan to have it available on our site for purchase sometime in the fall of 2020. Parents will be able to purchase a Package of Six Positive Discipline Lessons, which are recorded by your very own Creative Family Counseling Team Members, who are all Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educators.  You will be able to watch the videos and learn the material as quickly or slowly as they prefer and at any point in their day, even if it’s just 15 minutes before bed each night.  Also available to purchase and download from our website will be the Positive Discipline Workbook, so everything will be right at your fingertips.
  • Learn More...

    Resilient Family

    Will Our Children Bounce Back?