About Our Practice
Dedicated To Helping You
We believe that every human being has a story, and let’s face it, sometimes our story can leave us feeling less than worthy or less than safe in this world. Fortunately, we also understand that we all have the power to heal from our past or recent pain, and that’s our specialty! We are dedicated to lending our unique gifts to your individual needs and making life-changing transformations together.
We are passionate, trauma-informed clinicians who have been practicing EMDR and professional counseling in Oklahoma for over 10 years. We have worked with children, adolescents and adults, including veterans, American Indians, and victims of sexual assault, childhood abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, and a multitude of other conditions. We have heard countless stories and treated hundreds of people just like you! Therapy is our passion - our calling - and we are great at what we do!
On a more personal note, we are great friends! We have practiced together for years in other settings, but finally decided it was time to take our unique expertise and true gifts to the next level! So in 2019, we rallied together, opened our own practice and we are ready to soar to new heights! Recently, we have welcomed Rob Rodgers (an old pro!) and Elizabeth Duren (our intern) into the practice! Our team is ready to partner with you in your journey! There is no time like the present!
We use evidence-based techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) and Solution Focused strategies to help you deeply resolve whatever internal conflicts or experiences have robbed you of happiness, self-esteem and peace. We have extensive training in EMDR and we are passionate about showing you how life-changing it can be!
We offer Faith-Based and Non-Faith-Based counseling. We are fully person-centered! We honor the needs of each individual client and follow their lead on the approach that works best for them.
We look forward to sharing our gifts with you! We’d love to walk through your journey with you and help you heal in a way that you never knew possible. We want to help you conquer those long-term feelings of shame and fear and inadequacy. We want to set you free to live your life as your true self, instead of being imprisoned by someone else’s opinion of you. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…”.
Reach out today! Let us climb In The Arena with you and help you discover true freedom!
Meet The Therapists
Summer Smith, LCSW
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the owner of In The Arena. I have been practicing therapy for over 11 years. In that time, I have come to learn that every single story is complex and unique, and people are to be treated with unconditional positive regard and without judgment. I have spent much of my career working with trauma, PTSD, veterans, American Indians, anxiety, depression, and couples. I specialize in helping people discover the underlying causes of unhealthy beliefs, behaviors or symptoms. I use evidence-based techniques like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solution Focused strategies to lead people through powerful transformations, allowing them to eliminate negative beliefs and see the world and themselves through a brand new lens. This year, I will complete an advanced certification in EMDR. I love challenging people to release the pain of the past, develop new insights and initiate new behaviors. Therapy is absolutely my gift and my calling, and I love sharing my gift with others.
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma, with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters in Clinical Social Work. I grew up on a small-town farm, driving tractors and building fence with my daddy (my hero). However, once I moved to Norman, I fell in love with my college town; I am still (and always will be) a Sooner at heart! I still live in Norman with my husband, David and our house full of children! David is the love of my life, and our marriage is one of my greatest treasures. We work hard every day to maintain our God-centered relationship and the example we are setting for our children. What I learn in my own marriage, I openly share in counseling, as I believe we learn best together, through real life examples!
Therapy works best when you can feel that your clinician respects you, honors your story, and is committed to moving through whatever it takes to reach the transformation you desire. I know that a truly great therapist is rare, which is why I started In The Arena. My team is carefully chosen with high expectations. I am personally familiar with their experience and competency. We pride ourselves in being a unique team of therapists who are not only highly-skilled, but who possess the natural gifts that make the process comfortable and truly remarkable. I look forward to meeting you, hearing your story, and walking with you through your journey of change.
Holly Forster-Nguyen, LCSW
Over my ten years of work within the scope of mental health and therapy, I’ve connected with clients through hundreds of personal, vulnerable, and difficult client stories. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I strive to provide a non-judgmental space for my clients to openly share and build a trusting therapeutic relationship. My clinical work with those who have experienced anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and PTSD has led to me to continuously search for evidenced-based treatment options for clients and their families. I have worked with a variety of populations, including elders, veterans, pre and post-partum mothers, human trafficking & sexual assault survivors, American Indians, immigrants, and LGBTQ communities. I utilize Cognitive Behavioral and Solution-focused approaches, as well as, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) for PTSD, depression, stress, and personal resilience . I specialize in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) . This year, I completed an advanced EMDR Certification.
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with an undergraduate degree in Criminology and went on to earn a Master’s in Direct Social Work Practice. I have lived in Oklahoma for most of my life. I enjoy spending time with my family, listening to “true crime” podcasts, and traveling.
I have been honored to witness so much powerful transformation in clients who have found relief from intense trauma memories. These early childhood or traumatic experiences may manifest as negative self-talk, blocking beliefs, indecisiveness, nightmares, panic attacks, or feeling not good enough. It is so refreshing to know that there is hope for freedom from all of these struggles! I invite you to take that courageous step and reach out for therapy. Together, we can thoughtfully address these issues with a trauma informed approach. I know every situation is unique. I will value and respect your individual story, along your healing journey.
Rob Rodgers, LPC
Throughout nearly 20 years of counseling, I have seen amazing transformation in people's lives and know real change is possible. I love walking alongside my clients to help change their thoughts so they can come to their own solutions and heal their relationships. To do so, I approach therapy from a non-judgmental, strength-based, solution-focused approach. This allows me to tailor counseling to the unique needs of my clients.
My personal relationship with Christ greatly influences my life and my approach to therapy as well. I approach counseling with my faith firmly rooted in scripture. My therapeutic approach is holistic - considering mind, body, spiritual, and social elements. Faith and biblical integration are incorporated based on each client’s desire.
I have been counseling since 2000 and I am trained in EMDR, CBT, play therapy, TBRI, and other solution-based therapies. I love helping older children, teens and adults work through traumatic events, anxiety, depression, anger and negative self-thoughts. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Southern Nazarene University.
My wife and I have been married for 26 years and are currently biological/foster/adoptive parents to 8 children, ranging from 2 to 21 years old. Because of my personal experiences, I have a passion for working with other parents (both biological and foster/adoptive) as well as adoptees to help navigate through trauma, attachment, and self-care at whatever level they need. In my spare time, I love fishing, being outdoors, and spending time with my family. I also love serving and being active at my church and within my community.
I consider it an enormous privilege to be invited into some of the most critical moments in a person’s life and to facilitate the transformation God has in store. I look forward to meeting you.
Elizabeth Duren, MSW
I have five years of experience in the field of behavioral health. My passion lies in working with adolescents and young adults facing issues such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. I also enjoy working with couples on communication and helping prepare for marriage before it begins. I provide both Christian and traditional counseling and I can help work through your challenges in an informed, loving, God-honoring way.
I graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and completed my Master’s in Social Work at the University of Oklahoma. I have experience working with a variety of populations including American Indians, human trafficking survivors, and domestic violence survivors. I strive to apply biblical principles to my life, my marriage and my counseling practice, and will incorporate faith into our sessions at a level that is comfortable for you.
When I am not doing therapy, I enjoy soaking up every minute with my husband and dog! My husband and I enjoy attending all things sports, especially OU Football games. I also enjoy reading and listening to the latest true crime podcasts!
It is an honor to hear your stories and walk with you through positive life changes. I would love the opportunity to assist you in your journey!
Joe McElhaney, LCSW, LADC
I have been counseling youth, adults, couples, and families for nearly 20 years. I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human and Family Services from Southwestern Christian University and a Dual Masters Degree in Social Workand Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma followed by a Post-Masters Clinical Social Work Fellowship from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. In addition, I am certified in the Marriage On the Rock Curriculum and as a SYMBIS Assessment Facilitator for premarital counseling.
My expertise is in assisting people with understanding the interrelatedness of their core beliefs, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and how these impact their relationships. I offer Faith-Based and Non-Faith-Based counseling. I specialize in using evidence-based modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Family Systems Theory, and Solution-Oriented strategies. I am well equipped to assist with a Christian perspective utilizing biblical principles which guide people to a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life.
My wife and I have been married for 24 years and have been foster and adoptive parents since 2012. We adopted 6 children and then God blessed us with our own little guy. I have learned many strategies for parenting foster and adoptive children as well as biological, all in their respective and unique positions. I have had a lot of interactions with DHS, bio families of foster/adoptive children, as well as the court system. My family and I love our church and engage in as many activities as we can. I love to play music, watch college football, grill out, and hang out with my family and friends.
As a mental health provider, I have had the privilege of joining with many people on their journeys and seeing them reach their goals. I count it a privilege and an honor to hear your story and see what great things await you.
David Smith, CPT, CPLC
Certified Professional Life Coach & Elite Personal Trainer
I am a professionally certified Life Coach, ISSA Elite Personal Trainer, and busy Dad who knows the struggle of trying to balance a career and family. In my coaching practice, I provide the tools, strategy and support for executives, professionals, couples, athletes, adolescents, and individuals to grow and maximize their strengths, reach their potential, achieve results, and create meaningful change in their lives. I work on leadership coaching with executives and groups, and I work with people one-on-one to help them find new careers, balance their lives, improve their relationships, work more effectively, clarify and reach their goals, and be the best versions of themselves. I mentor adolescents through motivational, resilience, and stress tolerance techniques, along with community involvement. I also love working with couples, through relationship coaching, to help them reach their maximum partnership potential!
My passion for health, fitness, personal transformation, and helping others led me to personal training over 18 years ago. I’ve trained and coached for years in many studios as well as at The University of Oklahoma. I trained individuals around the world...in the US, South Korea, England, and deployed locations. I discovered life coaching while studying to become a Master Trainer. My personal training evolved to the coaching arena when I saw how quickly people were able to improve their lives through the process of coaching paired with personal training. My background and training in health and fitness gives me an added advantage as a coach. I recently expanded my individual coaching to include relationship coaching, corporate team building and visioning as well as corporate group fitness training.
After 14 years in the US Air Force, I returned to Oklahoma where I met my wife, Summer, and our house full of children. When I’m not coaching, training, or creating meal plans, I’m reading, cooking, enjoying music with friends, and doing whatever else I can to be an example and lead a balanced life.
Make the change today!
We use a mixture of clinical skill and Compassionate human qualities that mean you can place your trust in us
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