Bridger Falkenstien is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Professor, and he joined the team at Loehr Health in August 2020. Bridger shared that he enjoys helping patients as a counselor because, “I get to help patients with making meaning of their life story, connecting it to their current struggles, and collaboratively discovering treatment goals that fit their needs. The work that flows from this treatment plan is meaningful for the patient, and I’m so thankful to get to be a part of their journey towards holistic flourishing.”
“No matter what has happened to you throughout your life or what brought you to where you are today, it’s okay to be you. You deserve to be loved and accepted and to pursue your passions and dreams,” Bridger said. “I’m a dreamer at heart and want others to enjoy life to the fullest, and that means we have to face some of our darkest experiences and parts of ourselves. These experiences and parts of ourselves aren’t good or bad–they’re all part of you. It’s okay to be you.”
You can read about Bridger Falkenstien’s experience and credentials below, or schedule an appointment.
- Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA: August 2020-present
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Evangel University – Springfield, MO: August 2018-May 2020
- Master of Science – Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Drury University – Springfield, MO: August 2014-May 2018
- Bachelor of Arts – Psychology & Sociology
- Loehr Health Center
- Counselor: August 2020-present
- Evangel University
- Adjunct Professor: August 2020-present
- Teaching Assistant: August 2019-present
- Clinical Therapist Intern: August 2019-May 2020
- Beyond Healing Center – Springfield, MO
- Director of Theory Development and Research: April 2020-present
- EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy)
- EMDR Trained Therapist
- Polyvagal Trained Therapist
Native to: Springfield, Missouri since 2013. Before that I lived in Lawrence, Kansas where I was raised.
First job: Paint salesman at Sherwin-Williams for eight years. Paint put me through college!
Why did you become a counselor?
I became a counselor because I wanted to help people overcome the darkest experiences of their life, which they believed they would never overcome. These experiences have a way of haunting us, making us feel alone in our pain. I want nothing more than for people to know that it’s okay to be who they are, no matter what has happened to them, and that through our relationship and their connection with others, they can become the version of themselves they most want to become.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
My biggest influences have been educational mentors throughout my life who have pushed me and made me better at what I do. Education is my deepest passion. A large part of the work I do with patients is helping them learn about their mind-body connection, the way in which it was shaped over time, and how it is currently showing up, for better or worse. These mentors helped me to learn about the mind-body connection and the value there is in tracing the history of our development for the sake of validating our experiences, de-shaming our story and our identity, and moving towards wholeness and flourishing.
Where can we find you when you’re not working?
Whether working or not, there is bound to be a book near by, if not in my hand, a notebook open with my thoughts and reflections, or my computer open with a piece of writing I’m working on. Education and study is my deepest passion. If I’m not doing these things, I’m probably covered in sawdust, working on a new coffee table, shelf, desk or bench in my woodshop.
If you could posses one super-hero power, what would it be?
It’s a tie between teleportation and flight. I’ve always hated the time it takes to get where I’m going, so I feel that either of these would significantly cut into my commute time. If we’re talking about something that would just be for my joy, it would be to breath underwater and to handle the pressure of the ocean. I’m endlessly fascinated by the depths of our ocean and the life that flourishes there.
What is your favorite food?
Oof… I’m a very experienced eater and love trying new things! If I had to pick one palate, it would be Southeast Asian. Thai food sounds good to me anytime, day or night. Thankfully, Springfield has a couple amazing and authentic Thai food spots.
If you weren’t a counselor, what job would you be doing?
If I wasn’t a counselor, I would be in public health helping individuals find the help they need who otherwise couldn’t. Epidemiology has always been interesting to me, and how the health needs of a community are systemic in nature has always piqued my interest. I’ve dreamt for over a decade of a public health center where patients can receive the care they’re looking for and needing, without having to book twelve appointments over the course of six months or have to go to ten different offices. Healthcare should be the most consumer friendly and person-centered service in our community, and far too often the system focuses more on the person’s money than their needs and holistic health.
What’s the one problem you’re best at solving for your patients?
Helping them understand the “why” behind their presenting issue or problem that they’re experiencing in their life. It’s very exciting to me to look back with a patient at their life and watch the current issue form over time, because if we have awareness of this adaptation, we can help their system choose a different coping strategy than the one that led them to this struggle or low point. With awareness comes choice, and with choice comes hope. Once we understand the “why” behind our dysfunction, the “how” of getting better becomes all the more obvious. This brings my patients hope and encouragement that fuels them for the journey of healing moving forward, and that is such a precious realization to watch.