Nancy Harkins, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Trauma and Substance Abuse Therapist

MY JOURNEY (Experience and Background)
I am a licensed psychotherapist and an award-winning motivational speaker and corporate trainer. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensed by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners and a National Certified Counselor (NCC) certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Additionally, I am certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/Equine Assisted Learning through EAGALA and Ok Corral; trained in EMDR through EMDRIA and certified in the Enneagram through the Enneagram Institute.

I serve clients in a wide variety of areas including, but not limited to: anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol addiction; family, marital and relationship issues, procrastination, grief and loss, anger management, Spirituality, life transitions and personal transformation.

I am committed to meeting my clients where ever they are on their personal journey by fostering independence and self-empowerment.


Life is a process and a journey not a destination.

Each day, we experience a multitude of choices points. Most often we move through these points without conscious thought, yet, our choices effect our journey – sometimes with significant impact. As you face divergent paths on your journey it is important to be conscious of whether your choices are moving you toward your desired state of being or blocking your process.

Using a variety of therapeutic interventions and techniques to develop present moment awareness, I assist you in identifying the choice points of your past and the, conscious or unconscious, choices that led you to your current state of being. As we identify the goals and objectives of your journey, we will co-create your roadmap for self-discovery. We will also identify interventions to meet your needs and support your process. 

By facilitating your own self-discovery, I will support you in bringing a sense of closure to those choices that appear to have had a negative impact on your journey. You will learn to practice and cultivate awareness of your current choice points and develop methods for making conscious future Life Choices.


I am a facilitator of personal, professional and Spiritual growth and development through the process of self-discovery, personal empowerment and healing, in myself and others.

• Life transitions
• Values and Vision clarification
• Personal transformation
• Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Grief and loss
• Depression
• Substance abuse
• Stress
• Effective communication
• Anger management
• Assertiveness training
• Relationship issues
• Couples

Services I Provide


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy which was originally developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980’s for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There have been 24 randomized control studies of EMDR therapy which attest to its value and demonstrate its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained all over the world in EMDR therapy and studies have supported the use of EMDR with many special populations with an assortment of conditions such as Acute Stress Disorder due to Recent Incident trauma or disasters, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, performance anxiety, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, addictions,  chronic pain, sexual and/or physical abuse, ADHD, and body dysmorphic disorders, just to name a few.

EMDR has been accepted as an effective form of treatment by several major health organizations including most recently the WHO (World Health Organization). It is listed as an evidenced–based practice by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and NREPP (National Registry of Evidenced Based Practices and Programs) and the VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guidelines (2004, 2010) recognize EMDR as being a “A” category (the highest level designation) for treatment of trauma.

EMDR is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies.

Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive. EMDR is a physiologically–based therapy that appears to be similar to what occurs naturally in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and seems to have a direct effect on the way our brain processes and stores information.

The Adaptive Information Processing Model is the guiding principle of the EMDR approach and it postulates that health and wellbeing is supported by positive and successful experiences that increasingly prepare a person to handle new challenges and that the brain is equipped to manage and process adversity. Sometimes it just needs a little help. EMDR Therapy utilizes a 3 pronged approach which includes not only a focus on past (contributory) memories, but also focused reprocessing of present situation that continue to be triggering, as well as the development of an adaptive, positive template for the future.

“EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”  (Francine Shapiro, EMDR .com)

For more information, go to, (Early EMDR Intervention and Disaster response). (International Humanitarian organization)  Shapiro’s describes EMDR therapy in a 1 hour webinar/video at

Enneagram in Coaching and Personal Development

The Enneagram is an ancient framework for understanding personality patterns, plus ongoing evolution in self and others. It helps people see their needs, fears, and gifts, and shows them where they could be inadvertently limiting their own development. Encompassing both spirituality and psychology, it helps people evolve towards living and working more authentically.

The Enneagram allows people to observe themselves thoroughly, yet compassionately. Have you ever wondered what it might be like for others to be “on the receiving end of you?” Have you ever noticed that certain clashes in relationships recur over and over? Exploring one’s life through the Enneagram can clarify these areas, plus help people respond with more awareness and patience. It’s far more than a “personality test”; it includes human energies, describes how people deal with various painful emotions, and offers pathways for personal healing and transformation. And more.

Each person has all 9 of the basic personality patterns within, but gravitates to one most reliably. Still, there are differences in tone and in expressions of various instincts, which affect how people show up. Perhaps even more important is level of consciousness (or awareness). The DSM 5 tends to pathologize personality attributes, and does not describe levels of awareness at all. However through the Enneagram lens, one can discover one’s own inner story and how this affects experience. Once seen deeply, awareness expands. These insights serve health, because people also realize that “it doesn’t have to go this way” with them anymore. Catching themselves earlier and earlier in their patterns, they can choose differently – and this can be liberating for everyone.

Enhancing self-awareness and self-responsibility as it does, the Enneagram can be a useful addition to both psychological treatments and coaching processes. Using the RHETI online questionnaire is a reasonable starting point, while realizing that the person himself/herself is the best judge of accuracy of results. Deeper learning is always possible, and some need more time, reflection, and self-observation to clarify understanding. Professionals skilled in Enneagram can facilitate this process


“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment — along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.

According to, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster

  • clear thinking
  • compassion
  • open-heartedness, and
  • the alleviation of suffering

Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.

As one aim of mindfulness is to take greater responsibility for one’s life choices, it may both strengthen one’s internal resources for optimizing health, and evoke greater engagement with one’s health care too.

Ample research documents effectiveness of mindfulness practices in avoiding relapse in depression, addictions, and also in many forms of anxiety. Studies of its applications in trauma survivors are underway as well. Some forms of psychotherapy which use these practices include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. It is not a panacea, though. Psychiatrists and therapists keep aware of potential pitfalls with certain types of people, conditions, and timing. For instance, actively psychotic patients may worsen with long periods of silence in an extended mindfulness retreat. Once symptoms remit though, the person may be well able to participate and benefit from such programs.

Mindfulness can be taught as part of formal meditation practice, and also as integrated into everyday life situations. It isn’t about changing what you think or feel – but about becoming gradually more aware of these things in a moment-to-moment way. Through mindfulness practice, you can develop a wiser and more compassionate relationship with your own mind and body. This pays dividends not only in how you feel personally, but also in the quality of your relationships with others.

All Optimal You professionals apply some form of mindfulness principles or practice in their work.


The keys to substance use problems involve answering two important questions; how did I get here and what do I do now? Dealing with underlying causes and conditions that created the substance use issue in the first place allows us to heal some old wounds that we are attempting to heal through substance use. With underlying issues addressed we can create healthy solutions for moving forward. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to dealing with substance use so we will collaborate together in creating what will work for you to achieve long-term recovery.

To schedule your appointment please call:  602-684-6759

Fees are based on a 50-minute session unless otherwise noted


Individual session​$175.00

Couple session​$200.00

EMDR session (90-minute schedule)​$225.00

Late fee for cancellation with less than 24-hours notice equal to the fee for scheduled session.

The late fee will be due and payable at the next session you do attend. If you terminate treatment and do not return to my office, you will still be responsible for the late cancellation fee and will be billed accordingly.

Payment is due at the time of service and cash or check are acceptable, at this time.