Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC
Accepting new clients
1) Jamestown, RI
16 Narragansett Avenue
Jamestown, RI 02835
2) Wickford, RI
23 Brown Street
Wickford, RI 02852
Young adults / college students (18 - 24)
Specialties & expertise
- Sexual and relational health
- Sexual trauma treatment
- Compulsive sexual behaviors
- Problematic pornography use
Gretchen Blycker, LMHC, LMT, RYT, has been a professional in the health and wellness field for the last 20+ years. As a licensed massage therapist, registered yoga teacher, licensed mental health counselor specializing in mindfulness-based therapy and sexual and relational health, and part-time faculty member of a university teaching Human Sexuality, she is in a unique position of being able to integrate an expert’s knowledge from four distinct professions in the health field. Her unique range of trainings and professional experiences serve to benefit an evolution in thinking and understanding of what promotes balance and health in a comprehensive and truly holistic way (mind/body/energy). In her therapeutic work with clients, Gretchen draws from a mindful process that investigates and explores core beliefs as well as sexual behaviors and practices with a view of how they affect outcomes of mental and relational health.
Gretchen has developed a Mindful Model of Sexual Health that she uses in her work. This model is a framework to organize the distinctive and dynamic information from an individual’s body and mind, it serves as a navigational system, and it offers integrative mindful tools that are beneficial in providing personalized guidance in her work with clients. This mindful way of working is both inclusive of all people, while also allowing for the complexities and individual differences that are supportive of the multiplicity of expressions of our individualized authentic sexual selves. Health requires that we are connected to our whole selves. The Mindful Model of Sexual Health acknowledges our inherent wholeness and our interconnectivity as well as the complexity of myriad factors that influence sexual health and subjective satisfaction and contentment. This model provides a map to navigate the intricacies of the many influencing factors that create a balance towards, or barriers to, sexual health.
Sexual and relational health – Sex therapy is a type of psychotherapy addressing concerns about sexual functioning, sexual behavior and feelings, as well as intimacy and relationship issues. Concerns addressed in sex therapy may include: desire, arousal, erectile functioning, rapid ejaculation, anorgasmia, painful intercourse (vaginismus, dyspareunia), compulsive sexual behavior, history of sexual abuse, infidelity, sexual boundaries, communication, sexual orientation, gender expression, and trust and safety.
Sexual trauma treatment – In sexual healing and recovery, creating safety, healing trauma, establishing trust, repairing relationships, and creating healthy connections are essential. Sexual recovery is a process of evolving the meaning of sexuality. The goal is the integration of sex and love, body and mind. The pathway to integration is through intimacy rather than intensity.
Compulsive sexual behaviors, Problematic pornography use – Although there is no single behavior pattern that defines compulsive sexuality or sex addiction, the common themes are problems with intimacy. In addition, there may be a relationship/attachment disorder or a history of trauma or abuse. Possible indicators involved with offline/online sex and love addiction include: loss of control, compulsive behavior, efforts to stop, loss of time; preoccupation, inability to fulfill obligations, continuation despite negative consequences, escalation, losses, withdrawal. People with attachment and intimacy disorders may experience a disconnection between love and sex. Because there is a disconnect, the risk is that sex is not used in the service of love, but rather in the service of medicating. People who have a compulsive relationship with sexuality use sexual behavior to produce a charge of gratification and to escape internal discomfort. Some people might not be available for connected sex because the always accessible fantasy images of pornography, hooking up with others, or the escape in romantic stories feel “safer” than being in an intimate relationship. Opening one’s heart and being vulnerable to sexually connect authentically with another requires tremendous courage, safety, and trust.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Brown University Student Health Insurance
- Johnson & Wales University (United Health)
- Providence College (United Health)
- United Health
- RISD Student Insurance (United Health)
- URI / University of Rhode Island Student Insurance (United Health)
- Individual and couples sessions: $150/session (50min)
Sliding scale: A sliding scale of $80 - $150 is offered to clients who need a reduced fee to receive therapy.
Therapist's note: Gretchen can provide you with paperwork for reimbursement from your insurance company if you are seeking out-of-network sessions.
Message to clients
"There are many ongoing benefits of mindfully managing sexual health. Mindful management is empowering and proactive by developing and practicing skills that identify what specifically promotes balance and health for each individual, as well as what leads to imbalance. It is an integrative approach that includes a holistic perspective of including body and mind in identifying and cultivating the development of an individual’s authentic sexual self. Practicing mindfulness-based basic tools, for use in accessing information, supports individuals to make informed decisions for more immediate course correction, that is advantageous for short and long-term contentment and well-being.
In therapy, we identify and follow an individual’s personal values and beliefs. We practice mindful exploration of the sexual self and individuals learn about skillful management of personal erotic energy. The experiencing, experimenting, and deepening understanding of one’s authentic sexual self is a conscious and self- respecting process that assesses for health, harm and safety. This process is starkly different from mindlessly and carelessly repeating past expressions of sexuality that might have had included some short-term pleasures, leading to longer-term adverse consequences. Examples of some ways that one’s sexuality can be negatively influenced include; operating from an arousal template that is informed by past trauma, acting out sexual behaviors that induce shame or create disconnection, engaging in sexual experiences that are in conflict with one’s values, or by acting out problematic or compulsive expressions of sexuality."
Mindfulness PracticesMindfulness practices include but are not limited to developing awareness, attention, and remembering. In mindfulness-informed therapy, clients develop tools to become aware of what is occurring within and around them, so they can begin to untangle from mental preoccupations and difficult emotions. Self-acceptance and compassion are also core elements of mindfulness-informed therapy.
Education and work experience
Private practice, Psychotherapist, 2009 - Present
University of Rhode Island, Instructor for Human Sexuality course, 2009 - Present
Center for Sexual Health, 2008 - 2012
International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, 2012
Hakomi Experiential Psychotherapy Training, Advanced graduate training in mindfulness-based psychotherapy, 2006
Salve Regina University, Masters in Holistic Counseling, 2003
Seattle Massage School, Licensed Massage Therapist, 1994