We are thrilled to introduce another new team member at Chrysalis, Alaina Van Gelder, LCMHC.
Alaina comes to us with a wealth of eating disorder experience and is currently accepting new clients. She sees adults for individual therapy, runs the Reflections group in our IOP, and will soon be starting an outpatient group (stay tuned for more!). She’s in pursuit of her certified eating disorders specialist designation and was recently interviewed by our Executive Director. Learn a little more about Alaina below.
You had another high profile career before becoming a therapist. What made you change course?
“I knew that I wanted to become a therapist in 12th grade AP Psychology, but my life took me in a different direction for some time — a direction for which I am grateful. But on one of my many trips to NYC for work, I had what I like to call my ‘freight train moment’. I realized I was not living in my passion/purpose lane and it was time to make a change. I had reached the top of my game, I had traveled, I had worked with and met amazing people, and my projects and direct reports were thriving — but inside I was not. It was time to pursue my dream of becoming a mental health therapist and so I took a leap of faith and now I can confidently say that I am living in my intended lane with passion for helping my clients all while fulfilling what I believe to be my purpose.”
What would you like clients to know before their first appointment with you?
“I want to normalize that it’s okay to be nervous or anxious coming to therapy for the first time or to me for the first time… just don’t let it stop you. I also want to assure each and every new client that I am a safe space — I love to laugh and I have a goofy sense of humor; I am truly nonjudgmental; I will provide you with unconditional positive regard in each and every session. I value you for loving yourself enough to come to therapy and I am honored to be present with you.”
You recently relocated here from Maryland. What’s been the biggest culture shock or best thing so far about living on the southern coast?
“The people — everyone is so kind and polite! I am also enjoying Wilmington’s beauty and history — there is so much to explore and do.”
We’ve all been pretty homebound the past few years. What is #1 on your travel bucket list?
“I honestly would love to go to Bali someday. It just looks like a peaceful, beautiful place that I’d love to experience.”
We believe in “pawsitive” psychology here at Chrysalis. Any pets?
“Of course! I have two boys — Max and Henry, both rescues and tremendously spoiled as they should be! Max is a Jackchi (Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix) and Henry is a grumpy little Chihuahua. They love their new backyard and enjoy chicken jerky. When they aren’t sleeping, they love giving hugs and kisses!”