Rachel Swangim, Intern

Phone: 616.426.9034 ext. 607

Email: rswangim@secondstorycounseling.com

My Story 

I am finishing my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Cornerstone University and hold a BA in Cross-Cultural Studies with a Teaching English as a Second Language certification. 

Understanding the “why” behind “what” people do has always intrigued me. I sought out opportunities to understand others through travel, cross-cultural living and relationship building, and intentional community service. My years of teaching English in China and helping establish a ministry to traumatized women in the red-light districts increased my desire to walk alongside people caught up in challenges they didn’t choose for themselves. I want to offer an umbrella of grace on the rainy days of clients’ lives, so they can keep dry and have the space to do the hard work of healing.  

When I’m not in the office, you’ll likely find me outside playing with my son, connecting with other moms, drinking coffee with cream, listening to a wellness podcast, or pouring over some home reno or decorating idea. I love meeting new people and am working at offering my best in the moment to whatever or whoever is right in front of me.  

My Approach 

I am responsive by nature and enjoy the challenge of maximizing the resources I am given. In counseling, I respond to you and work with you to identify and maximize your resources—emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. I like drawing from the concepts of Narrative Theory in that I want to hear your story, notice where you are, and make sure our counseling goals align with the story you desire to be living. Sometimes this looks like using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques for identifying and replacing harmful patterns in our lives, other times it may look like utilizing Play Therapy to observe and reflect on themes of play. In addition, I observe behavior through a trauma lens, which means I recognize the power of the integrated body and mind and the impact the past has on the present.  

What You Can Expect 

I understand that entering counseling and sharing your life story is one of the bravest and potentially hardest choices you’ve ever made to take care of yourself, and I am honored to be a part of your process. I will work hard to establish your trust and allow you to pace sessions as you are ready to share. As we grow in trust, we can work more intentionally toward making the changes you want to see in your life through techniques and homework. Sometimes change may happen quickly as we focus on behavioral techniques while other deep identity work may take longer. All therapeutic work is worthwhile. The most important factor in producing change is your readiness and commitment to the process. I am here to create a safe environment for you to engage in your change process.