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About Emilie

Emilie Slechta Thomas MA, LMFT, Master Herbalist

I love stories and deep conversation, and it’s very important to me to be of service to people. I’m also an introvert, so sitting one on one with people, exploring their stories as they experience them and working together to find the meaning in their experiences is ideal for my personality. Counseling provides an opportunity for me to explore the depths of both joy and suffering with others in an intimate way that I feel honors the power of human connection to heal. It is both a privilege and a service for me to witness and support clients on their journeys.

My primary mode of therapy is called transpersonal psychotherapy, which is a long way of saying therapy that includes and examines a client’s spirituality along with his or her mental and emotional health . I consider my place in the profession to be a calling, since I was a professional actor and singer before I went back to school to study psychology. I was in the middle of obtaining a theatre degree in college when a little voice in the back of my head began to suggest that I should be helping others more directly and that it should be of a spiritual nature. Honestly I fought that voice for several years because things were going pretty well in show business and I had already put a lot of effort into it! Eventually however I realized that the only way for me to live authentically in the world would be for me to follow the guidance I was receiving from God. That led me to a unique graduate program in California that taught both traditional psychotherapeutic techniques as well as how to integrate a client’s spiritual faith into treatment. When I moved back to Virginia in 2005 with my family to live in the Shenandoah Valley where I had grown up, VPCC serendipitously had an opening for a psychotherapist, and I have been here ever since. In addition to seeing clients, I have served administratively as  Education Director, Training Coordinator, and currently as Executive Director.

I love my work deeply because I have the rare opportunity to explore God’s purpose for my clients with them as they undergo life challenges as well to utilize the latest counseling techniques and advances in mental health, and that’s an incredibly rewarding combination. Not all of those techniques are only in talk therapy either-- I’ve been working quite a bit on integrating mind, body, and spirit with my clients as well. Physical exercise such as walking and yoga are proven to ease anxiety and bring one’s attention away from the hamster wheel of the mind and into a calmer place. There are emerging methods of healing trauma that I’m excited about that utilize mindfulness, bodywork, and guided imagery that return safe awareness to one’s physical self. I feel strongly that such integration is at the forefront of holistic healing advances and encourages a collaborative effort from professionals across the healthcare system. Serving in such a context continues to be both fascinating and incredibly rewarding, endowing the work day with a sense of purpose that I try to share and facilitate with my clients.

  300 Chestnut Ave. Waynesboro, Virginia 22980
  Phone: 540-943-8722  Fax: 540-943-5068
Valley Pastoral  
Counseling Center