About Dr. Axtell

Areas of Specialization


I specialize in helping people gain control of their worry. Some people know exactly the reason they are worrying but don’t know how to stop. Others move through their day with a vague sense of dread or a tightening in the pit of their stomach and aren’t sure why they feel fear. I will help you better understand your worry as well as help you see how the ways you have tried to cope in the past can actually worsen the problem. I can teach you effective ways of managing your anxiety so that you can achieve a greater sense of peace, and do the things in life that anxiety has made difficult or prevented until now.


I have over 10 years’ experience working with trauma survivors, especially those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault. Our work together involves understanding the many ways in which the trauma has affected you, your moods, your relationships, your sense of self and the way you view the world, and the ways in which you have tried to cope. Often trauma survivors have a vast store of painful feelings, and coping skills which are not helpful, and may, in fact, be harmful (such as abusing substances to numb out, avoiding feelings by keeping constantly busy, etc.). I provide the tools necessary for healthy coping so that you can replace destructive habits and begin to feel more in control of your life.

Other Areas

I am also skilled in helping people who are struggling with depression, loss, self-criticism/perfectionism, self-esteem problems, frustration/anger, loneliness or isolation, and other problems that get in the way of living life fully. I am especially passionate about helping people sort through relationship issues such as trust, communication, and fear of intimacy.

Treatment Approach

My approach to treatment is somewhat eclectic; I draw from a few different schools of thought depending on the presenting problem, your personality style, and the standards of care for the profession of psychology.


I often use a Psychodynamic approach to understand people’s sense of self and relationship patterns resulting from life experiences. This means we explore your past to gain insight into how significant experiences have shaped you and continue to affect your ways of being in the world—your relationship with others, the world, and yourself.


I offer a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approach when people are looking for a method of feeling better that is less focused on insight into the psyche and more solution-focused. In this style I help people understand how their difficulties stem from, or are worsened by, unproductive ways of thinking and behaving. Once you understand this connection between thoughts, behavior, and emotion, we move toward actively developing new and more productive ways of thinking and behaving, which, in turn diminishes difficult or negative emotions.


Finally, I enjoy working in a Mindfulness-based approach called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This method pairs elements of CBT with principles borrowed from the Zen Buddhist tradition such as awareness of the present moment, compassion toward self and others, and finding freedom through mindful acceptance of your thoughts and feelings rather than giving in to the urge to run from your own discomfort.