Therapist Darci Shinn Photo

Darci Shinn, LCSW

Stress, Anxiety LGBTQ+ Relationships Intimacy Self esteem, Motivation
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About me

Hi there. My name is Darci Shinn, and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New Jersey. Below is some background information about my education, professional experiences, and therapeutic approaches. It is my hope that you see how I've incorporated my understanding of science and therapy in to one clinical practice.

In 2006, I completed my undergraduate degree in Biology at William Patterson University. There I built my foundation for understanding how both internal and external events/stimuli impact a person's functioning. Following graduation, I worked for 2 years in Assisted Reproductive Technology. I was able to use my love of science to help folks create the families they desired. I moved on from there to work in pharmaceuticals as a compound technician. In this setting I gained deeper insight into how chemicals interact with bodies and minds. Although I had great satisfaction using my scientific strategies and knowledge, the lab setting left me feeling disconnected from my emotions and rigid in my thinking. I had known since about age 18 that I wanted to be a sex therapist. I did not have the courage to pursue until 2010 when I found the dual master's degrees in Social Work and Human Sexuality at Widener University. Through both programs I gained a wealth of clinical skills, learned theory, engaged in self-reflection, became a flexible thinker, and grew my understanding of how structure impacts function.

Since graduation, I have worked in both school and agency settings. The majority of my experience has been with adults presenting with a wide variety of issues they have wanted to address. To that extent, I am a person-centered and solution-focused therapist. I am there to support individuals as they work to build their own insights and embrace solutions that fit their needs. Moment by moment, thought by thought, they do the work, and we examine together the missteps and the progress. Recognizing that small changes over time are what is necessary and knowing that it is okay to make mistakes are fundamental aspects of the work.

I often like to harken back to my days in biology. I think about how structure relates to function, which translates to everyday thoughts, behaviors, decisions and habits. By structure, I mean your brain and body, and your daily routine. When we take care of the structure- give it the time, attention, and resources it needs, we influence the function. The function includes, but is not limited to, the ability to think, make decisions, process information and experiences, influence interpretations and have awareness. This way of thinking falls in line with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). That is to say, what we think, dictates our behavior. Our behavior in-turn impacts the structures of the brain and body. By purposefully altering thoughts and reactions, by exposure to new meaningful stimuli, by manipulating our environment and building awareness to everyday habits, the physical neurobiology of the brain can change. We can build the option to choose which thoughts are embraced and which are simply acknowledged, and effectively change the way we experience life.

One of my favorite ways to use CBT is to address self-talk and work to make it more helpful and less harmful. Self-talk and thoughts are pretty similar, and while the science is still out on where exactly thoughts come from, it does seem clear they can often be detrimental. The pre-historic parts of our brain seem to be responsible for focusing on the negative aspects of experiences. CBT strategies can work against this innate thought manufacturing and allow for the more modern and sophisticated parts of the brain to have control. As I said before, taking care of the structure is an important part of functioning. I am a huge fan of incorporating movement and exercise into my CBT approach. The science does not waver when it comes to the physical and mental health benefits that simply moving the body provides. The advantages of improved mood, sleep, blood flow, energy, digestion and prevention of myriad diseases, to name some, are all fantastic ways to care for those all-important structures.

When it comes to human sexuality, I am a sex-positive professional who advocates for healthy communication in relationships in order to achieve mutual satisfaction. I strive to help others understand the nature and scope of sexual behaviors in a non-judgmental atmosphere. I have engaged in extensive self-reflection which has helped me to develop neutrality, flexibility and compassion for many presenting problems. Through my training, I have been exposed to the broad spectrum of human behavior and thoughts related to sex. I have a thorough understanding of consent, power and control, social norms and outliers, stigma, gender, orientation, and identity. In adhering to my understanding of sexuality, Existential Therapy is one approach I use to assist individuals in creating meaning and understanding around their physical and mental sexual experiences. The brain/mind and body are integrated structures and as such, are subject to many given experiences in which they coordinate a response. Exploration and acceptance of those responses is facilitated to create purpose, satisfaction, and balance in sexual well-being.

Just as many folks are, I am a work in progress. To be clear, I am working towards becoming certified with the American Association of Sexual Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). My over-arching goal to be a bona fide sex-therapist is on its way!

Professional experience

3yrs in practice
Stress, Anxiety LGBTQ+ Relationships Intimacy Self esteem, Motivation

Additional areas of focus: Addictions, Grief, Eating disorders, Parenting issues, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Coping with life changes, Coaching, BDSM, Kink, Alternative Sex Culture, Communication Problems, Fertility Issues, Infidelity, Life Purpose, Polyamory / Nonmonogamous Relationships, Pregnancy and Childbirth, Process addiction (porn, exercise, gambling), Self-Love, Sex Addiction, Sexual Dysfunction, Sexuality, Women's Issues

Clinical approaches: Client-Centered Therapy, Existential Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Psychodynamic Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy

Services offered

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License information

NJ LCSW 44SC05851900