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Hancock native opens True Healing Therapy in Morris

Christine Morris, a licensed associate marriage and family therapist, opened her practice, True Healing Therapy, in City Center Mall in Morris this week.

MORRIS, Minn. - A childhood trauma and her own experience seeking therapy helped Hancock native Christine Morris find her calling as a therapist interested in helping people who have experienced trauma.

Morris, a licensed associate marriage and family therapist, opened her practice, True Healing Therapy, in City Center Mall in Morris this week.

Although Morris has experience counseling people struggling with anxiety, depression, anger management and other disorders, her current interest is in helping people who have experienced trauma of some kind.

"I find that I enjoy working with those people the most," said Morris. "I find them motivated, and I feel like they're more willing to 'go there' because they want to feel better, as opposed to somebody who might be court-ordered or doesn't really want to talk to me."

"I think of therapy as a healing thing, and that's what I want for people to keep in mind if they search for therapy - this idea of wanting to feel healing," said Morris.

Prior to opening her Morris-area practice, Morris worked doing in-home family therapy for a company in Otsego, Minn. She returned home to Hancock when she took a job doing part-time family therapy and part-time day treatment for Counseling Associates of West Central Minnesota in Benson.

Morris said she made the leap to opening her own practice to be closer to her family, have more control over her work hours and shift her focus from in-home care towards outpatient counseling.

As an associate therapist, Morris said she has all of the education necessary to work as a fully-licensed therapist, but still needs to work with a supervisor to gain experience. Morris is being supervised by Amber Morrighan, LMFT, who works out of St. Cloud and Alexandria. Morris and Morrighan meet every other week to review cases and discuss her work.

Morris' interest in therapy comes from her own experience with trauma. As a teenager, Morris lost a younger sister in an accident, an event Morris said she "hung on to" until college where she found herself away from her family and "left to deal with my own feelings."

"I sought therapy myself and found it extremely helpful," said Morris.

Morris studied psychology, but it wasn't until one of her last college classes at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. that Morris realized that she wanted to pursue a career as a therapist.

"I wound up interviewing a marriage and family therapist," said Morris. "She talked about family relationships, how families change when a family member leaves or dies or is born, and that just sounded so much like my story."

Morris went on to receive a master's of science in marriage and family therapy from St. Cloud State University in May 2010 and became a licensed associate marriage and family therapist in March 2011.

As a marriage and family therapist, Morris said her practice focuses on relationships, communication and what each person offers to and is getting from a relationship. Even with individuals, a marriage and family therapist will take a relationship-focused approach in a session.

"It's a lot more of getting people to talk to each other in session," Morris said. "We focus more on getting [patients] to focus on what's between them. ... It's a little bit broader of a context than individual psychology."

Morris said she also has experience doing faith-based counseling, although she doesn't consider herself a Christian counselor.

As her practice expands, Morris hopes to start doing group sessions, focusing on issues like calming skills, social skills, stress management, marriage counseling or parenting, depending on the need she finds in the area.