About Debra Walker
Marriage and Family Therapist
Have you ever ordered a pair of shoes you fell in love with online? You eagerly open the box when it arrives and are thrilled to discover they look even better than the picture. You can’t wait to wear them. But as soon as you try them on and walk around, your feet start hurting! With each step, you realize your lovely shoes just don’t fit!
Without the right fit, those shoes just won’t serve their purpose.
Fit is important in therapy, too!
Seeking a therapist that you can trust—one with experience in the areas you want to focus on, and one with whom you can “connect”—makes all the difference in reaching your therapy goals. What works for one person may not work for another.
The first session is not only for information sharing, signing paperwork and office policies, but also to give both of us an opportunity to explore the “fit” of working together. Your comfort and trust are my priority! I am happy to talk with you in a 15-minute phone consult before scheduling to give you an opportunity to ask questions and share a bit about your needs and goals.
How I Approach Therapy
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, License #853, I work primarily with adult individuals struggling with anxiety, trauma, relationships and life transitions.
During sessions, I work collaboratively with you to understand the source of your pain and make positive changes toward a place of healing.
I am client-centered. That means you are the expert on you. You have a voice in determining each session’s short-term focus, as well as your long-term therapy goals. I will walk alongside you, asking questions to help you reach new insights, suggesting helpful resources for ongoing healing and creating a place for you to feel heard and cared for.
None of us live in a vacuum—we are individuals, but we are also parts of our families, friend networks, communities and society as a whole. So, as appropriate, I can help you gain insight into patterns that shaped your family of origin, the “messages” you received growing up and any other relevant information that may be helpful in gaining self-understanding and self-compassion.
As you work through challenges, I believe it is also helpful to focus on our strengths, recognize the resources that you may not have realized you possess and develop new resources to help you even after therapy has ended. I believe that you are stronger than you know.
It is a privilege to work with each individual, and I am amazed at the resiliency of humans. My passion is to help you understand yourself better, find your voice and feel empowered to make healthy changes in your life.
Education and Training
I hold a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca in Nashville and have been in private practice since 2009.
I also have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and worked in Cardiac Intensive Care for five years. Although I have not been employed as a nurse for many years, my education in healthcare informs my understanding of how our brains and bodies work. This background has given me a holistic viewpoint—our emotions affect our physical health, and our physical health affects us emotionally. In my work as a therapist, I consider the whole person—physical, emotional, relational, spiritual.
I take professional development seriously, and several times a year, I participate in multi-day trainings or conferences. The field of psychotherapy is continually developing, with new discoveries about how our brains work, how trauma affects each of us and how new approaches can heal past pain. I believe it’s crucial to spend time studying, reading and developing so I can continue to effectively serve my clients.
How I got here
After working as a Registered Nurse several years, I spent time raising my children, homeschooling them for about 15 years. Then, during a particularly difficult period in our family, I sought therapy to help me understand and process a crisis.
Therapy was essential for me. Over time, I developed a desire to go back to school in order to help others as I had been helped. My children were getting older, and it was the perfect time to begin a new career path. I believe it is never too late to learn and grow!
With six adult sons and three grandchildren, I have experienced the joys and challenges of parenthood. I’ve also experienced transition in my own life, including the painful end of a 30- year marriage. Now that I’m in the “Empty Nest” stage, I know that these immense changes, while normal and expected, can also present challenges and opportunities for growth. My hope is that my life experiences, along with my formal education and training, has equipped me to be a source of help and healing to clients that come my way.
When I am not at work
Work-Life Balance is important for everyone (and an area that we may work on in session, if needed). I am mindful of the need to create balance in my own life.
When I am not at work, I might spend my time walking, reading or enjoying the company of family members and friends. My sons live all across the country, from Maine to California, so I’ve developed an interest in travel since they left home! I also have recently tried my hand at painting. It’s a pastime that needs more practice…
There is hope and help
If you would like to know more about how therapy works or would like to set up an initial phone consult, please give me a call at 615-828-6973. I am happy to answer questions and schedule an appointment should you decide to do so.
Note: Sessions are typically 45-50 minutes long, and weekly sessions are recommended for new clients. As you begin to move closer to your goals and are feeling better, frequency may be decreased to bi-weekly or “as needed.”
I look forward to hearing from you.
Trainings and Certifications
Brainspotting I, II, III, and Masters Level—I am Certified in Brainspotting.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Parts I and II
Gottman Levels I and II
EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) Advanced Training
The 10 Core Competencies in Trauma, PTSD, and Grief
AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), Immersion, Essential Skills I
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
I am a Clinical Fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.