Meet Dr. Madison Allen

What inspired you to pursue a career as a therapist?

For as long as I can remember I have felt an incredible sense of honor when the people in my life have trusted me with their thoughts, feelings, and parts of their inner world that they may not share with everyone else. Similarly, I have felt such gratitude to the people in my life whom I have been able to share my own honest and genuine experiences with. It has always felt so important to me that people have a space where they can be vulnerable, form relationships, and face life’s challenges in a place of support, affirmation, and validation. It was during my junior year of high school when I took a Psychology 101 course (with an awesome teacher!) that I began to consider a career in providing this important space.

What is your favorite thing about being a therapist?

My favorite part of being a therapist is when the individuals that I work with are able to say something along the lines of “I’ve never thought or felt that way about this before. I love when the people that I work with are able to see themselves, others, or situations in new ways or they are able to access emotions that they may have long avoided. To me, therapy works well when we able to form a trusting relationship and explore our thoughts, feelings, histories, and relationships in ways that are healthier.

What are your specialties and what drew you to them?

My specialties are in the areas of anxiety disorders, couples therapy, and women’s issues. Many high functioning and intelligent individuals struggle with anxiety and stress management concerns, which can evoke significant feelings of distress and derail typically successful people from reaching their potential. I have worked with many of these individuals during my time in university counseling centers and have enjoyed helping these individuals to explore and alter the tendencies and patterns that contribute to their anxiety and stress. I have been drawn to work with couples since the start of my graduate training. I believe that having healthy relationships is central to our well-being and, for many adults, romantic relationships have the most significant influence on our well-being and sense of satisfaction. For these reasons, I feel that couples therapy is one of the most important types of treatment that we can offer. Finally, as a woman, I know that there are many unique life circumstances that effect women and I feel a great sense of responsibility and pride in helping women to navigate these circumstances.

What makes you unique as a therapist?

I believe that my effort and ability to balance validating and challenging the clients that I work with makes me unique as a therapist. I greatly value creating a space that is affirming, supportive, and validating for the individuals that I work with. To me, this feeling of acceptance and validation is a necessary aspect of therapy. But I also recognize and value the importance of challenging current patterns, thought processes, andassumptions that we hold. These challenges, within the contextof a truly supportive environment, are how we face difficult realities and make the changes needed to achieve a healthier level of functioning. One does not work without the other!

How would you describe your therapeutic approach?

My primary aims as a therapist are to help the individuals that I work with get to a place of improved health, functioning, and satisfaction and to achieve their goals. In my experience, I have found that successful and meaningful relationships are one of the most significant factors contributing to our mental health and sense of well-being. It is because of this that I not only work to help my clients to improve or strengthen their personal relationships, but also why I focus on developing a strong therapeutic relationship and rapport within therapy. I strongly ground my practice in the idea that when individuals feel secure and supported, they are able to take the risks necessary in therapy to change lifelong patterns and improve their sense of well-being and satisfaction.

In my approach to therapy, I utilize an integrative approach to treatment to assist individual’s in meeting their goals. I primarily implement strategies and interventions from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Reality Therapy, Attachment theory, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Interpersonal Psychotherapy.  It is through this integrative approach that I work with my clients to not only process difficult past and current experiences, but to also implement an effective treatment plan to meet their goals.

What is your favorite quote?

Start where you can. Use what you have. Do what you can. Arthur Ashe

Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke

My favorite quote(s) tends to change depending on where I am in my life at that time. But right now, these are my favorites! I think they both speak to having the confidence to use our uniqueabilities and individual resources to make a difference in our lives. Additionally, they each acknowledge that we do not need to be perfect or wait for the perfect conditions to start. These concepts of confidence, empowerment, and realism I work on in my own life and also help those that I work with to implement as well!

What is one thing that is important for anyone to know?

“Confrontation is not conflict.This was something that my very first clinical supervisor in graduate school told me early in my training and it is something that I find myself repeatingregularly to my clients (and to myself). I think it is important that everyone know how to be assertive, ask for what they need, and confront issues within their lives and relationships when needed. Many times, I have seen people remain passive in their lives (i.e., not asking for that raise they deserve, not asking their partner or family member for something they need to improve their relationship, not asking for help) because they fear the potential of conflict or rejection. Helping people to realize the fallacy in this belief and improving their sense of empowermentis one of the things I love most about therapy.

*Also, I think it is very important that everyone know how wonderful it is to have a good pet in your life! I will always be happy to share about my dog, Rhett, with you if you’d like. 

What is your take on a current social issue?

One social issue that has permeated the news recently is regarding social media use and the responsibility of social media companies to regulate potential harm that can come from use of these platforms (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.). Mental health is at the forefront of this debate, as many argue that social media heavily contributes to mental health concerns, such as increased anxiety, depression, and body image issues, in the adolescent and young adult populations. These platforms also create challenges and distress for the elderly who may share private information, putting themselves at risk for exploitation. The counter to these arguments is that the social media companies and many individuals argue that social media provides a necessary form of connection and a platform to share ideas that can actually help individuals with mental healthconcerns. The ever-increasing use of social media and its impacts on our health, functioning, and relationships is something that I am very interested in. Throughout my work with university students in multiple higher education universities, I have seen first-hand the benefits and drawbacks of social media use. I have seen social media connect people in ways that we could have never connected before they existed,we are able to bring about social change through these platforms, organize meet ups and protests, and share news and happy life events. But I have also seen how social media use has negatively impacted relationships, sleep, motivation, body image, and self-esteem. Im not sure exactly what the answer isfor these difficulties, but I do know how important it is for us to learn strategies to engage with technology and social media in responsible and healthy ways (i.e., taking breaks and making efforts to facilitate in-person connections as well as virtual ones). These platforms only continue to expand and we will need increased knowledge and resources to help us meet the challenges of this expansion, while continuing to experience the benefits offered by these platforms.

What is your therapeutic style?

My therapeutic style is a balance of warmth, understanding, genuine acceptance, and challenging when appropriate. I work to be active and direct within treatment in order to help my clients to recognize areas of potential growth and to achieve their goals; while also ensuring that I step back at times and provide individuals with space to process, make new connections, and discover these changes independently.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or doing a brief phone consult with Dr. Allen please Contact our office.

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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