Kelly Smerz, Ph.D.

Kelly Smerz, Ph.D.

My work as a clinical psychologist is based on my belief that good psychotherapy can be powerfully transformative. While resolution of the symptoms or struggles that brought you to treatment is undoubtedly important, I also provide my clients with the opportunity to work in a manner that promotes lasting change through a deeper understanding of themselves. In treatment I focus on helping people understand not only “what to do” about their symptoms, but also the “why” of their symptoms. Both are important to psychological health and personal growth. When effective symptom management tools are combined with insight, unhealthy patterns of relating, thinking, and acting are more easily recognized and intercepted. Symptoms are then more easily managed and less likely to emerge unexpectedly or out of the blue. It is out of these changes, insights, and personal growth that a broader and more stable sense of well-being emerges.

As a clinician I work integratively, blending interventions in a manner that fit the unique needs of the individual. I draw upon well-established therapies such as cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and ACT based interventions. I also often weave in the theories and techniques of Jungian depth psychology. This approach greatly enriches the therapeutic process by helping individuals resolve those more difficult or lingering symptoms that compromise quality of life.

My areas of expertise are in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, relationship difficulties, and substance abuse. I am also experienced in working with individuals presenting with a variety of other disorders and complaints ranging from general unhappiness and stress management difficulties to more chronic and disabling conditions. Additionally, I am trained in clinical hypnotherapy, and when appropriate, integrate this into treatment.

Additional Specialties

Mind-body integration:
Through my years of working with clients, I have observed how so many of us have learned to cope with the stress of life by detaching from our thoughts or from our bodies. This disconnection from important aspects of self can manifest physically as tension, or emotionally as stress, anxiety, and depression. I am a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and often integrate insights from my yoga background, such as breath based coping strategies, into my clinical work. I find that this experience of learning to be present to oneself can provide an invaluable path to mental health.

Health Psychology:
Health psychology is an area of psychology that addresses the relationship between physical and mental health. Often chronic or life changing health issues can contribute to psychological stress reactions, coping difficulties, feelings of grief and loss, anxiety, or depression. As a health psychologist I work to help individuals experiencing chronic pain or other health conditions improve their coping skills and their quality of life.

Forensic Psychology:
As a forensic psychologist I specialize in providing independent psychological evaluations (IMEs) in legal matters involving mental health claims arising from work-related and other types of injuries.

 

To schedule an appointment with Kelly Smerz please contact her at ksmerz@medpsychmke.com.

Provider location: Works out of Northshore office only. Also offers telehealth appointments.