Jean Marie Pearce, MA, MFT
SPECIALTY: Trauma, Relationships, Families, Systems Therapy, Somatic Experiencing™
I work with individuals, couples, and families addressing a wide variety of personal and relational issues.
My approach is strengths-based, collaborative and honors personal values and experiences to increase a sense of resiliency, self-regulation and well being. I am greatly influenced by systemic and relational approaches as well as the “bottom-up” trauma healing approach, Somatic Experiencing.™ See below for a more detailed description of these.
I believe that mental and physical health and healing are greatly influenced by the experiences and relationships we have lived through and amongst. These influences stretch beyond our own personal lives, to the family, history, community, landscape and culture that we inhabit. Together, we can develop a deeper understanding of the problems and struggles and what therapy can do to support your goals.
I serve people of diverse genders, relationship styles, sexualities, races, ethnicities, religions, and other identities. I welcome relationships, families, and couples of all types and use the word “family” broadly.
Vermont Psychological Association, Member
Body/Mind Centering Association, Member
More about Couple and Family Therapy
The impacts of isolation and disconnection on health are widely recognized. Addressing our social connections to the people who are most important in life can be very significant to wellbeing. Couple and family therapy can help with mental health struggles, as well as navigating transitions, conflict and communication patterns, trauma, addiction, polyamory, attachment, parenthood, gender exploration, grief, sexuality, and the ways an individual’s health impacts family. I work with children, but in most cases require the family to participate in therapy. I incorporate somatic and mindfulness tools to help everyone navigate conflict, nourish connection and change together. Relational therapy can be both for when the relationship is struggling, but also as a preventative or maintenance tool.
For trauma and chronic stress, one of my passions is using a “bottom-up” approach called Somatic Experiencing™(SE). People often appreciate this process because it is gentle and approachable. It doesn’t necessarily call for talking in detail about the event(s) or exposure to the memories of the event(s). Instead, it is led by what is happening at the moment in the body, thus “bottom-up.” SE focuses on being aware of the ways our nervous system/body responds to what’s going on around us and our hard wired responses of “fight, flight, freeze, fawn.” For many, these responses can become chronically “turned on” or “stuck” through events, chronic stress, and societal oppression.
Created by Peter Levine, the theory and practice has its roots in developmental biology, relational neurobiology, shamanistic traditions, and modern psychology. SE is an organic process of gently increasing self-regulation, connection and resilience while simultaneously listening to how and where the body is storing overwhelming experiences and releases them. It is a modality that works with event and non-event specific traumas. Events can include violence, injuries, complicated births, falls, accidents or surgeries. Non-event specific trauma can include relational, chronic or social trauma such as assault, oppression, mirco-agressions, violence, neglect, etc.
Some wonder if body-led work helps people who aren’t very aware of their physical bodies’ connection to psychological or relationship health? Yes! It is an approachable style for those curious about “body-awareness,” “mindfulness” and “embodiment.”
I am also happy to see people who want to utilize SE in collaboration with your primary therapist as a trauma-specific adjunct for event-specific trauma therapy.
Somatic Experiencing Professional Training Program, 2019
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Seton Hill University, 2018
Bachelor of Arts, University of Vermont, 2009
I have worked with individuals, couples, and families in an LGBTQIA counseling center and with survivors of violence and assault. I have co-led groups about chronic pain, trans teenage support, living authentically, intergenerational trauma, and support for traumatic grief.
I have also worked in self-directed educational settings with young people. This is where my passion for intentional communication, conflict resolution, and relational improvement began. Lastly, I was a community birth doula, which confirmed my interest in supporting families through pivotal, beautiful and stressful moments in life.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, Associate Member
Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, Student Member