Therapist Elizabeth McKinley Photo

Elizabeth McKinley, LPC

Family conflicts Trauma, Abuse Bipolar disorder Depression Coping with life changes
Video Phone Live Chat Messaging

About me

I have been providing therapy/counseling in various settings for 26+ years, most recently hospital-based psychiatric emergency crisis intervention. My areas of expertise include: crisis intervention; suicide risk assessment, prevention, and safety planning; criteria for involuntary mental health treatment in Colorado; general substance abuse treatment information in Colorado; parenting (human growth & development, infants to adolescents to adults); supervised and therapeutic visitation for non-custodial parents/guardians; family conflict (not to be confused with couples counseling); mandated reporting; abuse/neglect (child and elder); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for "big T" and "little t" trauma; CBT for depression & anxiety; milieu treatment of severe mental illness (affect disorders such as depression/bipolar; psychotic disorders/personality disorders; treatment compliance) for adults; solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT); culturally competent behavioral health services; psychopharmacology for therapists; supervision and training for new Masters graduates (LPCs only); women’s issues (reproductive rights, sexism, domestic violence/intimate partner violence); end-of-life decisions; grief and bereavement; and non-emergent crisis intervention.

My therapeutic approach is simple & straightforward talk therapy, formally referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Something in your life is currently causing you distress and you want help, from a neutral source, finding a way to cope with and work through the issue so it no longer interferes with your ability to live your best life. This type of therapy encompasses exploration of healthy boundaries, self-advocacy, effective communication and coping skills, goal-setting, and reduction of unwanted and unhealthy automatic thoughts (catastrophizing, hindsight bias). The therapeutic relationship that will occur between us consists of identifying the issue(s), mapping past responses & outcomes, separating what you can & can’t control, exploring your strengths, and developing a new plan to manage the problem(s). My job as a therapist is to empower you to develop insight and create your own solutions, not solve the problem for you. Once you’ve created & implemented your plan, I will provide support, encouragement, and reinforcement.

In addition to CBT, I provide Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). SFBT concentrates on finding solutions in the present and exploring ways to find a quick and pragmatic resolution of one’s problem(s). This method takes the approach that you know what you need to do to improve your own life and, with the appropriate coaching and questioning, are capable of quickly finding the best solution(s). Another therapeutic modality I incorporate into CBT is motivational interviewing, which encourages clients to talk about their need and reasons for change, and report aspects of their personal history previously not considered relevant. My role is to evoke a conversation about change, commitment, and to elicit information from you. I listen and reflect your thoughts and personal history so that you can hear your own reasoning, motivation, and experiences expressed from someone other than yourself. Last, I incorporate psychoeducation and mindfuness within the other modalities I practice. Psychoeducation combines elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, and education. The goal is to provide clients with facts about various facets of mental illness/wellness and its treatment, not pop culture distortions. This facilitates working with your therapist for a better overall outcome. I have an extensive library of resources designed to help you process and practice the issues we discuss in therapy in between sessions. Please remember that I will correct misperceptions and misunderstandings about psychology, mental health, and human behavior. I don't do this to belittle my clients. I do this to educate. Pop culture and Dr. Google are anathema to me.

The benefits of a trained, experienced therapist are objectivity, neutrality, expertise in models of human behavior, expertise in the neurobiology of trauma and attachment, and expertise in therapeutic modalities. In addition to my Colorado Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential, I am a Nationally Certified Counselor, "NCC", which means I completed a graduate program with the highest level of accreditation, passed the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) examination ("NCE"), and adhere to the rigorous ethics and principles (American Counseling Association) established specifically for Licensed Professional Counselors across the United States.

I completed training November 2022 to provide clinical supervision to new therapists pursuing licensure (LPCs only in Colorado). I completed 10 hours of training in the Neurobiology of Trauma through the National Institute of the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM) February 2023. This training will enhance my ability to provide therapy for people who are survivors of past and/or current trauma. I also completed seven hours of training January 2023 to provide culturally competent behavioral health services to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Currently (January 2024), I'm participating in training that will enhance my ability to successfully treat clients who have set unrealistic standards for themselves (for example, perfectionism).

I provide weekly therapy and believe that clients need to continue their treatment in between sessions. With my extensive library of resources that include fact sheets, journals, workbooks, symptom trackers, guided mindful meditation, and worksheets you can continue to work on therapy in between sessions. I have obtained copyright licenses that allow me share copyrighted material with you at no cost. I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not the creator of any of these resources, and I will make reference to the person or company who is so you can search their other material if you wish.

If, at any point in therapy, I determine that I lack the expertise to provide sufficient therapeutic assistance to you I will assist you in finding a therapist who can better meet your needs. It is also not uncommon for clients & therapists to fail to make a therapeutic connection. It’s important for both of us to be forthcoming about this if it occurs. You also have the right to a second opinion and to discontinue services with me at any time.

Please remember that therapy isn't a "get out of jail free" card. It can be hard work and often requires you to tap into emotions, memories, and behaviors that are difficult for you to process. I will be your advocate but will also be direct and forthright, which may include giving you feedback that may be difficult for you to hear and accept. I am an "informal" but direct therapist. Honesty is essential in a psychotherapeutic relationship. If our interactions aren't sincere and forthcoming you will not experience much benefit from therapy. I will ALWAYS encourage you to ask questions and express disagreement.

I actually have a crystal ball, but it doesn't allow me to sneak a peak into your future or past. I'm also not a mind reader. I don't analyze my clients, although I often analyze situations--with them (you). Every human being is different. You must be willing to look inward and learn about yourself. Strength comes from within, as do the solutions to your problems. My job is to metaphorically walk by your side as you sort things out.

In certain situations I will strongly recommend medication for you in addition to therapy (if you are not already taking medication). Some mental health problems are serious and require medication to reasonably manage the illness.

I am a fierce mental health advocate. We all experience times in our lives that test our strength. There’s no weakness in acknowledging this and being proactive about seeking help. It takes a lot of strength to admit you’re struggling. Your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness each year. It’s important to measure how common mental illness is, so we can understand its physical, social and financial impact — and so we can show that no one is alone. These numbers are also powerful tools for raising public awareness, stigma-busting and advocating for better health care. As of 2020: 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year; 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year; 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year; 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24; and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14.

It's important for everyone to know that not all undesirable behavior is due to mental illness; in fact, most of it is not. Not believing, knowing, or understanding this fact perpetuates the stigma of mental illness. This dangerous misunderstanding or ignorance implies that all people who have a mental illness are poorly behaved and therefore inherently flawed, but nothing could be further from the truth. Having said that, mental illness does not excuse harmful behavior but it can explain the reason. I also know that the vast majority of people who have a chronic mental illness can and do have successful, fulfilling lives. As we increase awareness we improve treatment, erase the stigma, and create a world where mental health and wellness are embraced as a healthcare priority.

I look forward to working with you.

Professional experience

26yrs in practice
Family conflicts Trauma, Abuse Bipolar disorder Depression Coping with life changes

Additional areas of focus: Stress, Anxiety, Relationship issues, Grief, Parenting issues, Self esteem, Compassion fatigue, Adoption and Foster Care, Aging and Geriatric Issues, Blended Family Issues, Caregiver issues and stress, Codependency, Dependent Personality, Family of Origin Issues, Family Problems, Forgiveness, Guilt and shame, HIV / AIDS, Hospice and End of Life Counseling, Mood disorders , Personality Disorders, Post-traumatic stress, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Self-Harm, Self-love, Sexual Assault and Abuse, Women's issues

Clinical approaches: Client-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Existential Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy

Services offered

Live Chat

License information

CO LPC LPC.0016009


These quotes represent just a few of the many positive reviews that we have received for Elizabeth McKinley. We don't pay anyone to provide their review and they are all made voluntarily. Some people's experience receiving therapy with BetterHelp might be different.

I feel like we connected well, and I will continue to use her for my therapy

Written on Mar 18, 2024 after therapy with Elizabeth for 2 weeks on issues concerning stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship issues, trauma and abuse, parenting issues, and coping with life changes

Elizabeth is an engaged and knowledgeable therapist. She cares about the outcomes of my therapy and is kind and passionate.

Written on Feb 20, 2024 after therapy with Elizabeth for 4 months on issues concerning relationship issues, grief, coping with life changes, and compassion fatigue

I highly recommend Elizabeth! She has been so helpful for me getting through big family events.

Written on Nov 27, 2023 after therapy with Elizabeth for 3 weeks on issues concerning lgbt, relationship issues, and coping with life changes

She’s a lovely human being

Written on Nov 21, 2023 after therapy with Elizabeth for 1 month on issues concerning relationship issues, and family conflicts

Elizabeth has been extremely helpful in supporting me while I unpack a lot of "stuff" - Her patience and expertise have been very much appreciated. Very professional and very engaged in my healing, and helping me build a toolbox to handle a variety of things that I've struggled with over the years. Truly grateful BetterHelp has made therapy accessible for those of us who need help - and that's ALL OF US.

Written on Nov 07, 2023 after therapy with Elizabeth for 3 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, addictions, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, bipolar disorder, coping with life changes, and adhd

Elizabeth was very kind and supportive. She offered tips to help me cope with challenging situations and gave me strength and courage to stay calm during rough times. I highly recommend her for support, guidance and encouragement.

Written on Oct 27, 2023 after therapy with Elizabeth for 3 months on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, parenting issues, self esteem, and coping with life changes