Staff Therapist, Individual Counselor, Family Therapist, Group Therapist // Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Bethesda, MD

  • Clinical Degree: Counseling, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Expertise: LGBTQIA+, Spirituality, Religious Trauma, Men's issues, Grief and Loss, Depression, Anxiety
  • Available: Sunday daytime
  • Prepare/Enrich Certified: No
  • Discernment Counseling Certified: No
  • 50 minute session rate: $200

About Chris Hartsock (he/him/his)

Chris (he/him/his) is an empathic and warm therapist who cares deeply about his clients. His specialties include spirituality, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, men’s issues, and identity development. In a chaotic and busy world filled with noise and few spaces where we are truly seen, Chris masterfully creates such a space. He helps his clients verbalize and process their experiences and make sense of themselves in the world.

As a proud gay man, Chris has particular interest and experience in sexuality and gender. This includes sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity, all of which exist on a non-binary spectrum. He helps LGBTQIA+ identified people own their stories in a way that awakens the desire and ability to take up space in their families, religious institutions, and workplaces in ways they never thought possible. He’s particularly adept at helping with religious trauma and family of origin trauma. Chris primarily works with individuals and groups, but also enjoys working with parents and families with an LGBTQIA+ family member.

In addition to other private practice work, and work at a crisis intervention agency for adults with both mental health and substance abuse diagnoses, Chris has extensive Human Resources Management experience in both employee benefits and organizational development (OD) and training. Chris’ OD experience includes managing a Leadership Coaching Program connecting managers with executive coaches.

Chris completed his master’s degree in Counseling at Reformed Theological Seminary. He earned the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) designation in Maryland in 2006. Prior to that, Chris graduated Summa cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (double major in Human Resources and Finance) from the University of Maryland College Park.

In Chris’ Words

“I was bullied for most of my childhood. I came out as gay to an evangelical Christian community during a time when “conversion therapy” was still widely embraced by the mental health community. I’ve known pain.

Being invited into the life of a person in pain is an honor I do not take lightly. Aloneness is a significant aspect of pain no matter the diagnosis or area of struggle, and in order to undo aloneness we must know and eventually live freely as the most authentic version of ourselves. Many of us, from the youngest of ages and for a variety of reasons, experience the world and other people as dangerous. As a result, and often without thinking about it, we learn to hide our authentic selves. No matter how much we are lauded for anything other than our authentic selves, it doesn’t “stick,” it doesn’t take root.

I know when I am not the right person. If we decide to work together, I will do my very best to help you achieve your goals in therapy. But no matter your goals, my work begins with providing a relational space that helps undo aloneness. That is what I mean when I say “safe.” You get to decide if and when that has happened in the space between us. Once it has, I will invite you to use therapy as a place where you are able to “try on” new ways of relating to others without fear of condemnation or ridicule. And we will work together to begin to practice what it might look like to translate this into your everyday life.”

When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending. (Brene Brown, 2015)

Emily’s Endorsement

Chris was introduced to me through Jocylynn — it’s indicative of the close and trusting relationship we have as a practice of independent therapists that she recommended him as the next addition to our group. As I got to know Chris, I understand exactly why she knew he’d be a great fit on our team: his diverse experiences as a counselor, HR professional, and LGBTQIA+ advocate combine into a clinical powerhouse. Chris brings powerful listening skills, creative problem solving, and gentle humor to his work with individuals and families in therapy. I’m honored he joined our team!”

Education

  • MA, Counseling, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • BS, Business Management, Summa Cum Laude
Maryland Professional Counselor License #LC2299, licensed since 2006

Ready to get started with relationship therapy in Bethesda, MD? Give our relationship counseling experts a call. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Chris Hartsock, MA, LCPC is an independent contractor of Emily Cook Therapy, LLC and not an employee.