Counseling/ Therapy

Counseling/ Therapy

People generally engage in counseling/therapy because one or more areas of life are problematic or not functioning the way they would like, and they need help to make those areas less problematic, more manageable, or more functional. Many times, people seeking counseling are struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, grief, or a life transition or change of some sort. You can read more about the areas of life that counseling can help with below.

In counseling sessions, I integrate evidence-based therapeutic modalities (meaning: research says the type of therapy I offer works) with a focus on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which includes many mindfulness strategies and tools. My focus is on helping people learn and use tools, strategies and practices to help them become self-sufficient in managing their difficulties and stressors.

The decision to engage in counseling is a personal one. Therapy can involve taking a close and honest look at yourself, your life, and the other people in it. This can feel kind of vulnerable or difficult at first, but the benefits of counseling can be extremely positive, as I have experienced personally over the years.

Counseling can support you in making your life better in ways that friends can’t. Good friends you can talk to are a wonderful support, but often well-meaning friends have opinions or advice that might not be the right fit for your life. As a trained and experienced professional counselor, I am able to offer objectivity and strategies within a warm, understanding, and compassionate environment to help you come to your own answers that will work best for you.

What Counseling Helps With

In counseling sessions, I provide help and support for a number of life challenges, including those involving:

  • Health & Wellness: stress related to health conditions, cancer or other health crises (yours or a loved one’s), dietary changes, or menopause/peri-menopause; changing unhealthy habits and increasing healthy ones.
  • Relationships & Family: relationship issues of all types, separation/divorce, infidelity, sexuality, parenting difficulties, family conflict, communication problems.
  • Work & Career: work stress, burnout, uncertainty about career direction, job transition, stress from financial problems, lack of work/life balance.
  • Spirituality: desire to feel more connected to something bigger than yourself or change spiritual paths/expression.
  • Personal Challenges & Difficulties: depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, life transitions & changes, grief and loss; problems with sleeping or appetite.

I have created a special program for anxiety called the Anxiety Resilience Program. Click here for more information.

What Happens in Counseling Sessions?

In counseling sessions, people often share whatever has been on their mind recently or whatever has been happening in their world. Sometimes people take the opportunity to talk about the details of the problems, difficulties, or struggles going on in their lives. I listen carefully with kindness and compassion, and together we may work toward solutions to problems, or I may introduce skills and approaches to help with challenges.

I will support you in making space for feelings/emotions and untangling from difficult thoughts and beliefs to further develop your Psychological Flexibility. I will support you in taking different perspectives about the things you’re going through. We will work toward being ever more present-moment oriented in our sessions and in our lives. Even amidst talking about problems and struggles, we always keep an eye on purpose and meaning in your life, and clarify what matters most to you, so that I can support you in moving forward toward what’s most important.



I provide counseling services to adults only, 18 and older. I work with individuals and do not have openings for couples at this time.


Sessions are held in-person at my office in Portland, Maine.


Counseling Sessions are scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time, usually weekly to start. Sometimes people move from more frequent sessions to less frequent as we go, for example moving from weekly to every other week when they start to feel/do better, and eventually schedule sessions monthly to protect the progress they’ve made in counseling. When no longer in need of regular counseling, some people have chosen to schedule sessions on an as-needed basis for a check-in or “booster” session when something comes up in life that needs addressing.

Currently, I schedule Counseling Sessions on Mondays 12:00 noon to 6:00pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9:00am to 6:00pm, and Fridays 9:00am to 1:00pm. Sessions are usually an hour long.

During our “Is this a fit?” call, we can discuss how many sessions might be good to start out with to get the maximum benefit, but how often and how long a period of time you attend sessions will always be up to you. Sometimes only 4-6 sessions are needed to get you where you want to go, while some people prefer to go at a slower pace for 4-6 months or longer.


$100 for a 1-hour session.

Using Health Insurance

Some health insurances have mental health/behavioral health coverage and can be used to pay for psychotherapy/counseling. Because health insurance covers medical conditions, they only pay for counseling if there is something called medical necessity. This means there needs to be a diagnosable mental health condition for the person requesting coverage. This does not have to be a big deal, but I think it is important for people to be aware of this. If you have been in counseling before or have been prescribed medication for depression or anxiety, there is likely already a diagnosis on your medical record. The diagnosis might be a technical term for depression, anxiety, or problems adjusting to a life challenge. Your medical record (and therapy record) is always kept confidential, of course. We will talk about this during our “Is this a fit?” call or during the first session so you will know what diagnosis will be on your record.

I can bill for the following insurances:

  • Anthem–includes all Blue Cross/Blue Shield policies
  • BHCP–includes Maine Community Health Options, Martin’s Point, MMC PHO, Maine Health/Health Partners, and EBPA
  • Cigna
  • Optum/United Behavioral Health–includes United Healthcare, Harvard Pilgrim, and UMR

For most other insurances we can do out-of-network billing, so counseling may still be covered, but you would pay the fee up front and get reimbursed after you submit a form to your insurance company. These forms are usually very simple and I can help you get started with them.

Reduced Fee Scholarship Slots:

I have a number of Reduced Fee Scholarship Slots available that you are welcome to apply for if you do not have insurance or you do not want to use your insurance to cover the cost of counseling. These slots are based on financial necessity. You may also choose to have 30-minute sessions for $50 or 45-minute sessions for $75, if you do not qualify for a Reduced Fee Scholarship Slot but can not afford the full fee. We can discuss this during our “Is this a fit?” call.

Where to Start

Contact me to schedule a 15-minute complimentary “Is This a Fit?” phone call to get started. (Email: dawn[at]dawnstratton[dot]com.) We will get all your questions answered during the call and if we find that counseling with me is a good fit for you, we will schedule your first session. Please feel free to Contact Me by email or phone if you have a quick question. (I can get back to you most easily/quickly by email.)

To find out more details about my Coaching Programs instead, click here. If you want to read more before you schedule your call, you can take a look at what people have had to say about me and my services on my Kind Words & Results page. You can also download some free goodies on my Free Stuff page or read a few blog posts here.