I am a trauma therapist dedicated to healing and supporting individuals through their unique journeys. My therapeutic approach emphasizes creating a safe and empowering space, where clients are heard, valued, and in control every step of the way.
I specialize in evidence-based treatments such as Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). With experience in Depression, Anxiety disorders, mindfulness, identity disturbance, and life transitions, I am committed to helping clients achieve transformative results.
Clients appreciate my compassionate and direct feedback approach, which allows for remarkable personal growth. If you're looking to schedule an appointment, please feel free to reach out via email or phone.
Ready to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation?
Evan Johnson, MSW, LCSW
More Questions? Call, text or email
1429 N. Prospect Ave
Milwaukee WI, 53202
Laurie: Hi, my name is Laurie Groh. I'm a co-owner at Shoreside Therapies, Today, we have Evan Johnson with us, and I want to welcome you.
Evan: Thank you so much. I am so excited to join your team.
Laurie: Yes, we're excited to have you, and so even though you're new to Shoreside, not new to the therapy world, I just want to start by asking you a bit about who's your ideal client. Who do you primarily see in your practice?
Evan: Yeah, absolutely, so you're right. I am not a new therapist. I have been working in a tram recovery program for about five years, so my ideal client is anybody who has experienced a dramatic event. Multiple dramatic events in their lives do primarily work with adults. I think something that is important to know is that when people hear the word drama, they may have a certain image in their mind of what that means. You know, the diagnosis of PTSD, they may have an image of, you know, who gets, whether it's like through combat experiences or, you know, single event, Thomas, like a really bad car accident or something like that. And I certainly have a lot of experience working with individuals who have had those experiences. But Tom can take so many different forms. Whether it's, you know, something that was happening daily throughout a person's childhood, whether it was a single event or something that you know maybe numbered in the hundreds of dramatic experiences. And so really, whether it is, you know, combat, military Troma, a really bad car accident, a natural disaster, or something like domestic violence or sexual abuse, really anybody who is struggling with those sorts of experiences is precisely the type of person that I'm really passionate about working with and helping them to heal through what they've been through.
Laurie: Yeah, it does sound like that: a lot of people hear the word drama. There's mixed, mixed information out there as well of people overusing the word or not taking their own dramatic experiences seriously or wanting to minimize them. There's a whole lot of different things happening in that area. Is there? That's a side question, but is there a way for somebody to know? I think I've had some traumatic experiences. How do I know if it is actually in that category? Is there a way for somebody who didn't know that?
Evan: So there are a few different ways that we talk about drama, and the first way is what we call criterion, a drama, which is a technical way to talk about it, or sometimes we say capital drama. So these are the types of experiences that, if you look at the diagnosis, these are the types of experiences that we know lead some people to those PTSD symptoms. So those are the things I listed earlier: combat experiences, a really bad accident, natural disaster, sexual abuse, physical abuse, basically any situation where you, or someone that you care about, was in danger or you feared for your life, or you were injured in some way, and then on the other side we talk about the non criterion dramas or the lower cast dramas, and it's not that these experiences are less significant. These tend to be the things that can kind of fly under the radar for some people. So these are experiences like emotional abuse. Bullying can be things like manipulation by a parent or partner living in poverty, those sorts of things that you can't point to. You know, one event one day on the calendar where this happened, but over time, they add up. They can lead to many similar symptoms, like you feeling stuck in the past, depressed mood, hyper, hyperreactivity, you know, maybe even some flashbacks to those experiences.
Laurie: Yeah, thank you for explaining that. I think that could be so helpful for somebody looking to work with you or any provider on past Trauma. Very.
Evan: I'll just say too that I also really believe that it's not for me to define. You know, Trauma is. It's in the eye of the beholder, and it really is. Everybody's experiences are different. Everybody's reaction to their experience is different, so I always view it as you know. You're the expert on your experience, and I'm the expert on how to heal from that experience.
Laurie: Yeah, I love that because that is so true. Where you know I'd be working with a client, they might experience a very similar situation, and how somebody feels about it could be completely different, and how somebody sees it, sees it, and how it affects them can be very, very different. Yeah, all right, so you started to talk a little bit about your approach, right, but could you share a bit about your approach to helping?
Evan: Yeah, absolutely. Something I'm passionate about and talk about all the time is that when someone experiences Trauma, you know, two things are missing: a sense of safety and control over the situation. And so my approach is, you know, from day one, from the first session, trying to instill that sense of safety and control throughout the entire therapeutic experience. I think without those things in place, we're not going to be able to talk about the really deep stuff that that we need to get to. So I really try to take an approach of honesty, of fairness. I try to. You know, let you be the expert of your experience, like I said before, but also, you know, provide that feedback. Give you something new, to think about a new way to approach a situation, a new way to try to solve a problem. But never it's never me forcing you to do something you aren't ready to do. For some people, they come in, and they feel as if they're ready to get started right away. You know, let's talk about the deep stuff. Tell me what to do about it. You know this is my timeline. I want to know, I want to get back to work within two months, within a month, whatever it might be, and then for others it might be. You know, a month or two before we even start talking about the Truama because, you know, let's take some time to build that trust. Let's take some time to talk about some of the other things that might be more pressing before we get to that deeper stuff. So I think my approach is really flexible.
Laurie: Yeah, yeah, and focused on how somebody else's timeline is and how somebody else is going to develop the trust and feelings of safety in the room with you. We can talk, you know you. Probably most people have seen videos and TV shows where the therapist is like. This is a safe space, right, but that's not actually how that works. The client has to feel that we don't just announce it's a safe place. The client needs to feel that and has to feel that in order to process Pastrana, in order to process what they're feeling and what they want to do with that.
Evan: Yeah, yeah, and I think something I am always asking in sessions is: what do you need? What do you need right now? You know, do you need me to give you some direct feedback? Do you need some space to just sit with what we talked about? Do you need me to answer any questions? Do you need to know if this is normal or not? So it's something that I'm asking all the time, and it's also okay if you don't know what you need either. You know that's part of my role too. Well, maybe what we need right now is just to take a step back. Give this some space to breathe, you know.
Laurie: Ah, what a wonderful question to be asking. I'm sure clients feel very taken care of at that moment. I know, just in general, we're not asking each other in our outside world. People aren't asking each other that question very often.
Evan: For some people, it's the first time they've been asked. That question can be, can be scary.
Laurie: Yeah, and you're there to help if they don't know what. That is. All right. So I'm hearing some strength already, for sure. But what are some strengths as a therapist? What would you say your strengths are?
Evan: Yeah, I think that something that is really big in the drama healing world is, as you mentioned earlier, there can be a lot of conflicting information. You know what Trauma is or how to heal from it. It can be confusing to know who to trust and who to talk to, and I think one of my big strengths is that I am really devoted to taking an evidence-based approach to everything that I do. So I've had extensive training in prolonged exposure therapy, which is one of the top suggested treatments, and it has the strongest evidence-based that it is ineffective therapy for healing from Trauma. And then I have also had training and cognitive processing therapy, another alternative approach that some people find helpful. So taking that evidence base, I hope, is very reassuring for clients, knowing that they are, they are working with someone who has had high-quality training and isn't, you know, isn't selling snake oil or you know, the latest fad or some of the like, pop psychology that you sometimes see when it comes to Toto treatment, something that I also think is unique about me. My life before becoming a therapist, I actually got my bachelor's degree in philosophy, and this is something that I was really really interested in studying and really had a passion for. And kind of what grew out of that passion was the desire to help people and make a difference in people's lives. So it can be really really meaningful sometimes to incorporate some of that philosophy into session and talk about those deeper questions because when we're healing from Rama, I think a lot of times it's not just the hearing now, but we are. We are asking questions about. You know, who am I really? Where? Where did I come from to get to where I am today? You know, if I'm not always just coping and getting through the day, what's left is left when I take that mask that I wear that I've gotten so used to wearing for so long. And I think having some of those questions about, you know, what it means to have an identity, what it means to have a set of values that guide you can be just an incredible addition to the treatments that we're doing.
Laurie: All right, I believe that I believe that and to be in a space where you feel like you can answer some of those questions and probably have more and more questions. But I do. I do feel like that. That's an added peace, for sure, because a lot of times when people are talking about themselves, they do have some of the bigger questions that are much bigger than them, much bigger than their family. What is, you know what? What is my purpose? You know whom? I, what's my identity? All those things can come up, and knowing that you're comfortable in that space, I think it would be very useful for a client. All right, so what can a client expect to experience in a session with you?
Evan: A client can expect me to meet them where they are on their journey. I think that whether you have some experience already talking about these things or whether you know I may be the first person that you're considering telling your story to, to think that they can expect me to meet them where they're at, to go a pace that they are comfortable with, to be a voice of understanding and acceptance and then to also provide some direct feedback and, you know, nudges in the right direction when they may need it. You know, part-time, part-time listener, and then part-time motivator to take the next step and step outside of your comfort.
Laurie: Wonderful combination, wonderful conception!
Evan: I sure hope so, and I also have a real passion for helping people navigate questions of identity. So whether you identify as part of the community, whether you are struggling with, you know, questions of spirituality, whatever it might be, I think that you can expect me to address you, to meet you with a sense of respect and understanding, and helping you get to where you want to be.
Laurie: Yeah, that's wonderful, I think, too, just how you're describing your sessions and who you are as a therapist. You have all these wonderful things that are intersecting that would give somebody a feeling of not only feeling safe and heard but also all of this additional experience and knowledge and evidence-based it's like the perfect scenario. The perfect scenario for somebody that wants to work on what they need to work on or what they are choosing to work on sounds like you would be an amazing fit for them, and I've one last question, and it is: what are the client's results after coming to see you? What could they expect afterward?
Evan: So, in my practice so far, I think clients can expect really good results in terms of healing from their trams. Tram is interesting because it is chronic. You know, there's nothing I can say or do to take Tom out, and at the same time, I've worked with so many people who came to the moon with really severe PTSD symptoms. You know, sometimes hardly being able to leave their house to come and go to therapy in person, and by the time they are done, you know, they're going to the grocery store on a busy Sunday afternoon. They're able to navigate that themselves. So I think that many people, tell me that they achieve things they never really thought they'd be able to do. I think that thing that's always on my mind as a male therapist is that, unfortunately, you know, a lot of dramas can be perpetrated by emails, whether it's a partner, a father figure, or something like that, and so working with male therapists may not be everybody's the first choice to talk about some of these topics. I think that one of the results that I hope anybody takes away after working with me is an example of what a healthy relationship with a male can look and feel like. I think there's so much power in overcoming some of those barriers. I take it as a really important point of pride for me in my work to be an example of a healthy, safe, caring mail.
Laurie: Right, right, yeah, and I think too. One thing clients should know is that they could call and have a consult with you and be in that space. I think that could be very useful for clients because you're going to be in that room. It's so important to know if that energy is feeling good, right and just knowing you haven't so far, when I'm in that room with you, I feel relaxed and calm. You know. So I think that it's an energy that you are also presenting, which is this caring, calm individual that I think for clients if they're unsure. One of the nice things about offering those free consults is that they can see for themselves.
Evan: Yeah, absolutely, and it's wonderful to hear that. I'm glad that you're feeling that way. It's so important to me.
Laurie: Yes, yes, so if anyone would like to reach out to heaven, I will put his email at the bottom of our screen. Feel free to reach out via email, and you can schedule those consults right online at our website, shore site, Therapies. Dotcom, feel free to reach out at any time, and it was good to talk in the oven.
Evan: Yeah, thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from anyone who would like the chance to talk and potentially work together.
Laurie: All right, thanks a lot. You have a good day, all right.