Expert Profile - Brooke Ewert
MA, LPC, Integrative Psychotherapist
Brooke Ewert’s Bio:
Brooke Ewert is the owner/founder of Rocky Mountain Sports Counseling Center in Lone Tree, Colorado. She is a certified mental health integrative medicine provider (CMHIMP) , having completed training through the Leslie Korn Institute of Integrative Medicine.
RMSCC counselors see athletes who are struggling with their mental health, and looking to enhance mental performance. I also work with athletes who are struggling through injuries, coaching issues, retirement, and family system issues.
The goal of RMSCC is to provide mental health support for athletes from youth sports to the professional/Olympic level, and to empower athletes to share their mental health story with their teammates to take the stigma away from mental health in sports.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to pursue a career in psychiatry?
For me, mental health always seemed like an ‘other people’ problem until we went through a scary medical situation with our youngest son. He had a stroke at the age of 3 when his vertebral artery was dissected. It was during that time that I realized anxiety and depression were right there with me in his hospital room. After his recovery, I had deeper empathy for my clients and what they were going to go through with their own mental health. I was able to provide hope to them as well that seasons of life can be tough on mental health.
For me, pursuing psychotherapy was a long process. My pathway started in high school when I wondered what made good athletes different from great athletes, but I also wondered what ‘home life’ was like for athletes. After college, I took a break from my career to be a stay-at-home mom, during that time I saw the pressures young athletes were under and how parents reacted to their children in competition. Honestly, I was taken back by how parents could raise anxiety in their children by their unrealistic expectations. In 2011, I felt called to go back to graduate school and study athletes and their mental health. At that time, not many athletes were talking about their own mental health, but I knew at some point that would start to change. In 2017, I opened Rocky Mountain Sports Counseling Center. A counseling center dedicated entirely to helping athletes work on their mental health. In the past 4 years, I’ve seen the stigma change with athletes talking publicly about their mental health. I see teammates encouraging each other to get help. I also have seen athletes do good work on enhancing their mental fitness. Each day that I work with athletes, my passion continues to grow to share with others how unique an athlete’s mental health challenges are versus the general population.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
My own mental health is critical to me being fully present with my clients. If I am not taking care of myself, I am not able to be fully present in the counseling room. This has made me realize taking care of my ‘whole’ self is critically important to being an effective counselor as well as teaching my clients how to take care of their ‘whole’ self.
As I have observed athletes, I have realized many athletes have complicated lives. These complications can come from coaches, parents, teammates, etc. It has helped me to understand that treating each athlete with the same therapy technique would never work. They needed a holistic approach to deal with the many complications that can/may be present in their lives. I think many therapists get stuck on one theory. I have never wanted to use that approach with clients because therapy feels like an art form—as the therapist, you should always be ever-changing, ever-evolving with your own techniques. I continue to want more tools in my ‘tool box’ as a therapist to help my clients.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on practicing Integrative Psychiatry, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
I have always recognized that you cannot treat each athlete the same way. Before I found out about Integrative Psychotherapy, I was treating athletes with different counseling techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Strengths-Based Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. I used these different therapy techniques because athletes would present with different issues and needed various techniques to treat their mental health. When I found out about Integrative Psychotherapy, it helped me to have another amazing technique to use with athletes who were seeking mental health support. I love how it allows me to look at the client as a whole individual with different approaches (The Brainbow Blueprint) to address them in a unique way.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
My favorite method is helping athletes to work on mindfulness. Often athletes get in their own heads about expectations within their sport. In order to manage expectations, I will help the athlete to see where their own anxieties lie within themselves (or what they worry about most) and how anxiety affects their mindset. When athletes learn to manage anxieties through deep breathing or reframing and to understand how the negative mind is affecting them/their sports career, it helps them to have more freedom to play. I also love to help athletes see the strengths they have and how they can utilize them with their own mental health.
How did people react when you share this Integrative/Holistic approach with them – whether it be patients or other doctors?
I love sharing Integrative Psychotherapy with my clients! They seem very open to new ideas and like the holistic approach. I believe the holistic approach works well with athletes because they are multifaceted. When an athlete is open to a new way of thinking about mental health, I believe it allows them to think differently about themselves and their treatment!
Organization: Rocky Mountain Sports Counseling Center
Location: Lone Tree, Colorado, 80124
Address: 9362 Teddy Lane Suite 202