Lori Kucharski, MA, LMFT, LPC
 (719) 360-2440

EMDR Center of the Pikes Peak Region, LLC

EMDRIA-Certified Therapy, Consulting, & Training
AAMFT-Approved Supervision


Some people engage in therapy when they have hit a “bump” in the road or are going through a life transition. Sometimes, navigating this alone, frustrated, scared, or unable to see clear answers, is the catalyst for seeking a helper. 

Research has shown multiple benefits to seeing a therapist. Lowered stress, improved physical functioning, better job performance, and increased satisfaction in relationships are all common goals and outcomes. Therapy teaches coping skills for dealing with difficult people and situations, self-esteem issues, previous or recent trauma, and mood issues like depression and anxiety. Having an objective, confidential professional helping you navigate these tough issues can be very rewarding. Even for people who are used to handling their own problems, the relief experienced can make it worthwhile.  "A physician doesn't heal us--a physician removes obstacles that prevented us from healing naturally" (Rouanzoin, 2010). 

New neural “highways” are created through therapy. What this means is that, as you practice the skills you are learning, your brain becomes more and more adaptable to the new information, leading to healthy habits! How well you benefit from therapy depends on your desire to practice these skills consistently in order to experience the full benefit.

Imagine you are training for a triathalon: if you exercise for one hour a week, one day a week, how ready do you imagine you’ll be? It’s the same with therapy: one session a week without consideration and practice of new insights and skills won’t evoke as much progress as daily changes. This does not mean that you have to think about stressful things, like trauma, every day--it's often enough to do that just once a week in therapy to deal with your past. What it means is that you practice your new skills every day to help you get to where you want to be. 

You may wonder what you can expect from therapy. Confidentiality is always a part of the therapy relationship. The law is very clear on what a therapist must or cannot release without written consent from a client. The exceptions to confidentiality, by law, include my awareness or suspicion that a person is a danger to themselves or others or has been abused in some way. You have client rights, and one of these rights is seeking information from me on what I am obligated to disclose. These and other rights are discussed during your intake session and in subsequent sessions as needed.

In therapy, you and I will decide upon your goals for the day, week, or even month and year. This will help the sessions be productive. You’ll discuss current issues you’re facing, how you’re handling them, and what you would like to be doing differently. I will provide positive support and encouragement, and, generally if requested, I will give you feedback and offer suggestions or ideas based upon training, research, and what has been shown to work in similar situations.

Often in therapy, you and I will agree upon homework; this generally is not tedious, but again goes back to the brain creating new, neural pathways and needing to practice, practice, practice. Homework may include keeping logs or a journal, deep breathing, exercise or yoga, practicing relational skills and communication with family, friends, or co-workers, reading a recommended book or literature, or just observing how you are weekly growing, learning, and changing. Therapy interventions, goals, and homework assignments are all unique, personal, and adaptable.

Medication may also be recommended from time to time: research has shown that for some populations, medication in conjunction with therapy achieves the best outcome. I will work with your primary care doctor (with your written consent and request) to collaborate about treatment goals and objectives, and, if needed, will refer you to a psychiatrist for psychiatric/medical advice or a psychologist for further testing (again, with your written consent). 

Therapy is meant to be an enriching, satisfying experience. At times, it is temporarily painful--as growth often can be. If you imagine having a wound that hasn’t healed correctly, sometimes a medical provider will have to clean out that wound to allow it to heal properly. Therapy can be seen as the same way; while not intentional, the “cleaning out” can hurt, but the healing that takes place can feel very relieving. 

​Trauma happens in many forms. For some, it's the result of combat, assault, domestic violence, threats on one's own or a loved one's life or safety, sudden or unexpected death, sexual abuse, or rape. For others, it's the result of mental or emotional abuse, low self-esteem, chronic worry or depression, loss of employment, isolation, or break-up/divorce. Trauma causes chemical and even structural changes to the brain. Therapy often is necessary to deal with the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual repercussions of trauma. 

I am honored to work with victims and survivors of trauma.  I work with folks who disassociate, and I believe that often, PTSD and other trauma-related disorders such as DID or DDNOS keep "traumatized clients living their traumas, not their lives" (Bessel van der Kolk). For more information about the type of trauma-focused therapy I provide, please visit emdr.com or emdria.org. 
 ​​Here in Colorado Springs, we had two major forest fires over the last few years. Many parts of the country can relate to this devastation and the trauma it causes for those who lose homes, belongings, and even lives. While the forest growth regenerated at even 1-2 years after a fire is profound (see picture above), trauma growth and healing in individuals unfortunately does not always happen as naturally.​​
Eating Disorders
With the recent release of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. (DSM-V), the mental health field is taking note of new changes in the diagnosis of eating disorders. The new DSM, in addition to Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN), now includes Binge-Eating Disorder (BED). 

I treat mild-to-moderate symptoms of AN, BN, and BED and compulsive overeating in all ages. For severe or life-threatening symptoms, I refer to intensive outpatient or inpatient facilities both in Colorado and the rest of the United States. 

One thing that people with eating disorders (ED), no matter their weight, often have in common is an obsession or preoccupation with being thin to be "better" and "acceptable" and "perfect." I often see overweight and obese clients who want to lose weight recognize the disordered eating patterns that they have exhibited for years, maybe even their entire lives. I work with people with anorectic or anorexic behaviors who have felt pride in their control over their bodies. I work with those who may not yet have fully admitted the extent of their bingeing and/or purging behaviors, but they want to feel differently about themselves.  For more information on disordered eating and treatment, please read "Eating in the Light of the 
Unfortunately, society focuses a significant amount of attention on numbers and adjectives describing measurable results (e.g., "loss" and "gain." My approach focuses on wellness from the inside out.
Moon," "Women, Food, and God," "The Eating Disorder Sourcebook," "Wasted," "Intuitive Eating," and "Life without Ed."  (Some of these books are written by clinicians, and some are rawly-written by those who have experienced disordered eating, and I utilize a variety of approaches). If you are a male reading this, please know that I also work with men experiencing eating disorders; most literature at this point, however, is written from the female perspective. As more males come forward and self-disclose their disordered eating patterns, I believe this trend will change. Please feel free to read these books and mentally apply the information to fit your identified gender. Even written from a feminist perspective, these books contain excellent information that can be highly applicable to all genders.

Another form of disordered eating I treat is called "Orthorexia Nervosa (ON)." Originally named such by Steven Bratman, MD, orthorexia is the obsession with healthy or righteous eating. It differs from other eating disorders in that the obsession is not necessarily to be thin; however, it is similar to other eating disorders in the desire to be perfect or in control. While ON is not in the DSM, it can be equally dangerous to other eating disorders. As the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) points out, the irony is that in the quest for pure nutrition, one becomes so restrictive that they can find themselves in a state of malnutrition. While there is documented research supporting avoiding pesticides in food, genetically modified organisms, and foods that cause inflammatory responses, one with ON will take their food practices to such extremes as to create physical conditions such as anemia, pre-osteoporosis, brittle/breaking hair, muscle atrophy, and fertility issues. 

In my practice, I strive to help each client with self-esteem and self-acceptance; with shifting the focus from being thin to being healthy; from "I'm not good enough" to something much more adaptable; from fad-dieting/binges/restrictions to life-long, lifestyle changes. ​

Some may be older and have battles scars. Some may be new, bright, and shiny.  No matter the age or appearance, all have the same value.

Holistic Health
Research continually emerges on the mind-body connection and the necessity of holistic health and wellness. Our bodies and minds have an amazing, innate desire to self-heal. Too often, though, due to multiple factors, our behaviors, and even thoughts and emotions, can prevent this self-healing process.

Holistic health looks at each of the areas of wellness and assists individuals in examining their personal, unique goals that will help them in each domain. One thing that is so great about holistic health is that, as you free yourself of burdens in one domain and experience growth and change, it often positively impacts other domains on the wellness wheel. 
When you come to therapy, in your first session, we will do a traditional, mental health assessment. Either in this session or in a subsequent session, we will then do a thorough, holistic health assessment. We will assess, using the wellness wheel, what your personal goals include. We will create a treatment plan that includes goals in the domain(s) of your choice. From there, we will meet regularly to work on each goal with a unique, therapeutic approach designed specifically for you that is empirically-based and shown to be effective in your particular areas of interest. 

Frequently, as a believer in holistic health services, I offer referrals to quality providers in the area who offer services in areas that are outside my expertise but are often helpful in promoting holistic health and wellness. These services may include functional medicine, naturopathy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga therapy, nutrition, and acupuncture. I am in the process of building an extensive database of such referral sources to ensure wrap-around care.