“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it,
no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
- Frederick Buechner


Hello, welcome. My name is Steven Carlson. I am an integrative counselor who is drawn to the depths and heights of life, living and everyday existence. I come from Iowa originally, where the midwestern soil grew in me an appreciation for simple, everyday beauty and treasures, while also filling my imagination and heart with a love for the vastness of oceans, mountains, and travel. My journey eventually led me to St. Louis, where I spent 3.5 years in graduate school, finishing in May 2016 with two degrees, one in counseling and another in theological studies. I now provide counseling services in a private practice setting, both online and in-person. I see adolescents, adults, and couples for counseling. 

I am driven by the cosmic-and-yet-so-earthy questions of existence, like "What does it mean to be human?", "What is human flourishing?", "How do I, how can I, respond to the reality of death and the truths that tragedy exists and life is hard?", "What is the purpose of my life? Do I have a calling or vocation? Where can I find meaning in this life?", "Do you see me, hear me, accept me, value me?", "Is there a point to this all?", and "Who am I?". In spirit,  I am influenced by the perennial wisdom tradition, contemplative spirituality, and the mystical tradition. If I ever expose some of my beliefs or practices explicitly, never do I want to impose any of my own stances on philosophical, spiritual, or existential perspectives or issues. That would not only be unethical, but it would be potentially harmful and disrespectful to your own soul's development, growth, healing and discovery. Psychologically speaking, I am an integrative therapist. I am influenced by existential psychotherapy, attachment theory,  interpersonal psychotherapy & interpersonal neurobiology, emotion-focused therapy, and narrative therapy. This doesn't mean, however, that I never use tools or techniques from other approaches (such as tools from Cognitive Behavior Therapy and the like).


What You Need To Know If You See Me For Counseling:

You are welcome in my office. You are welcome in this space we will inhabit together. You are welcome to wrestle with God here, or whomever or whatever you need to wrestle with, or grieve the losses in your story, or fight for your marriage, for your family, for your truest self, or enter into healing from the ways you self-medicate, or challenge yourself to move into fearful places, or simply rest. You are welcome to just be. 


My experiential relationship with the client is key. It is vital. When we've been broken and damaged in relationship, it is there too that we will find healing and transformation.  In terms of therapy, the experiential relationship is the vehicle for transformation.  In the I-Thou relationship, every human is seen, received, and approached as a human being full of dignity, value, and worth. I like how Viktor Frankl said it, "Approaching human beings merely in terms of techniques necessarily implies manipulating them, and approach them merely in terms of dynamics implies reifying them, making human beings into mere things. And these human beings immediately feel and notice the manipulative quality of our approach and our tendency to reify them. I would say, reification has become the original sin of psychotherapy. But a human being is no thing. This no-thingness, rather than nothingness, is the lesson to learn from existentialism." (Intro. to The Will To Meaning)

“Those who can sit in silence with their fellow man not knowing what to say but knowing that they should be there, who are not afraid to hold a hand in gratitude, to shed tears in grief, or to let a sigh of distress arise straight from the heart, can break through paralyzing boundaries and witness the birth of a new fellowship – the fellowship of the broken.”  - Henri Nouwen

Your story and journey is not my own. It is yours. I set out to learn your journey, with you. To notice, to discover, to explore, to affirm, to mourn, and to celebrate.  I want to help you read, listen to, know, and live into your story. To help you continue writing your story. To be(come) human is to be on a pilgrimage. Irvin Yalom looks at the therapist-client relationship as one of fellow travelers. I too, like you, am a pilgrim journeying on the way. Finding the way, by traveling the way. 

So much of the healing, growth and transformation that we long for in life is tasted in learning how to listen to, see, and accept what truly is. 

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just  as I am, then I can change." - Carl Rogers

I am interested in being a fellow traveler alongside you through the organic journey and process that is known as counseling. 

I believe that healing is a journey and a path we humans walk, stumble, run, leap, fall, discover, explore, and triumph upon. I believe there are beautiful, wonderful and awesome surprises along the way.

I believe in human being and becoming. I believe that there is nothing to be "fixed", but rather healed, transformed, and loved. 

"The two processes—the psychological and the spiritual—are connected and need not be considered separate; they are stages in the full development of the complete human being." (Riso & Hudson)

Pain and suffering can often come to us as invitations to show up, invitations to presence, invitations to engage with and lean into life, rather than turning away and avoiding life, protecting the self. For, when we turn away from the pain and suffering, trying to protect ourselves, we can so easily 'protect' ourselves from growth, healing, transformation, and new life. "God comes to us disguised as our life," says one teacher. Healing and transformation come to us disguised as our life. 

"Most things that are important, have you noticed, lack a certain neatness." - Mary Oliver

I am passionate about the blooming and blossom of your true self. I want to help others discover, come to know, be grateful for, and receive who they truly are. Their being and their becoming. In the counseling process things can sometimes get or feel worse before they get or feel better. This is difficult and a real hindrance sometimes, especially for those are primarily intent on feeling better or a quick relief of their symptoms. The Enneagram is one tool that has influenced me profoundly and one that provides a deep and practical impact on my counseling. I look forward to helping you grow through, rather than be defined by, life's challenges and surprises.

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in side-ways, champagne in one hand – strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, worn out and screaming, ‘Woohoo! What a ride!'”
— Dorothy L. Sayers
“Be kind enough to yourselves not just to play it safe with your lives for your own sakes, but to spend at least part of your lives like drunken sailors - for God’s sake, if you believe in God, for the world’s sake, if you believe in the world - and thus to come alive truly.” - Frederick Buechner

My work as a therapist will be my "work" as a human being, directly coming out of who I am. This is influenced and interconnected with art, my creativity, and my spirituality. These three things, therapy, art, and spirituality, interplay with,  influence, and impact  each other deeply within me and how I interact in and with the world, like a braid, like a tripod foundation, like Goodness, Beauty and Truth, these three aspects interact with each other in who I am and my journey of discovering what I can share with and offer the world around me. 


“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. ” - Thomas Merton


Questions, comments, or interest in setting up an appointment?

Email :   staulson@gmail.com

Phone :  314-384-2219