Tampa Bay Center of Relational Psychology

Deborah Spence

Deborah Spence, Ph.D, LMHC

Deborah Spence

Deborah Spence, Ph.D., LMHC

Deborah Ann Spence, PhD is a professional therapist with over 38 years of experience. She has been a mental health counselor in private practice for the last 20 of those 38 years. Her experience includes working with men, women, adults, families, educational systems, parent training, courts, and faith-based organizations. Deborah’s mission is to provide effective, compassionate, and client-centered mental health services to help individuals, couples, and families achieve and maintain optimal mental wellness. She believes that good mental health is fundamental to overall well-being and is committed to helping people of all ages and backgrounds experience the benefits of a healthy mind. Deborah also recognizes the close relationship between mental and physical health and strives to empower her clients to take an integrated approach to their well-being

Dr. Spence specializes in adult counseling, women’s issues, issues of fidelity, marital counseling, conflict resolution, depression, anxiety, co-parenting, self-actualization, relationship conflict, gifted teenagers, faith-based counseling, psycho-educational training, relational aggression, anger issues, and trauma interventions. Her warm and personable approach and her ability to connect with clients on a deeper level helps empower clients to examine and take charge of their mental health.

Dr. Spence’s approach to therapy encompasses consulting and coaching. Drawing from her training in leadership and philosophy, she views her clients holistically. She considers their core beliefs, early beginnings, educational track, goals, and purpose. She recognizes the close relationship between mental and physical health, and strives to empower her clients to take an integrated approach to their well-being. She enjoys levity and positiveness, and often laughs at herself during sessions. She believes that there is no perfect person. And follows the statement saying: present company included. 

Dr. Spence’s mission is to provide you with the effective, compassionate, and non-judgmental client-centered mental health services you need to achieve and maintain optimal mental wellness.

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Education at Wayne State University, Dr. Spence continued to graduate school at Eastern Michigan University where she received her first Master of Arts Degree. At Eastern Michigan University, she trained as a Speech and Language Pathologist to acquire clinical skills which include diagnostics and intervention. This training has helped her counsel those who are medically fragile and those with disabilities, including their families. She later earned her Master of Arts in Community Counseling and Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership and Philosophy (concentration: Counseling Psychology) from Andrews University.

Dr. Spence is a Nationally Approved Clinical Supervisor and National Board-Certified Counselor through the National Board of Counselors, and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) through Evergreen Certifications.

Dr. Spence’s warm and personable approach has coined her the nickname ‘Dr. Auntie’ from clients who appreciate the close therapeutic relationship she builds with them. She is committed to providing effective, compassionate, and client-centered mental health services that help individuals, couples, and families achieve and maintain optimal mental wellness. Her focus on empowering clients to take charge of their mental health has helped people of all ages and backgrounds experience the benefits of a healthy mind. She has worked as a chaplain and commander chaplain in a major urban police force, giving her a unique perspective and the ability to work with those behind the blue line. Dr. Spence has collaborated with a renowned artist to administer interventions with groups of clients who have experienced trauma, which has been well-received. One recipient responded:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the art therapy course. It was the perfect blend of creating and healing, which is definitely a happy place for me. Each session was powerful, and when I walked away, I felt refreshed and ready to deal with my traumas and simultaneously walk anew. I can’t thank you enough for opening my eyes to a new avenue for healing and unleashing a fresh version of myself. Thank you!!!.” 

She has also developed a program called “Lunchapy” that has been successful in working with staff conflict in corporate settings. Her workshops with women in relational aggression have been enlightening and have broken through barriers of aggression. Dr. Spence has written a program called C.O.D.E. (Children of Divorce Education) and judges have ordered families in conflict and experiencing parental alienation to receive intervention with her.

Dr. Spence’s research has focused on relational aggression among women, which she has found to be a real phenomenon. She conducted research across twelve states to prove its existence and its effects. Surprisingly, women abuse women 10% more than men abuse women. Secondary finds suggested that aggression between women provided early models for children of all genders. Children, especially aging boys, aggressively repeated this modeled aggression until, over time, it manifested in rough-and-tumble. With age, these modeled behaviors were subject to manifest as physical abuse. She continues her research into the psychosocial realm of everyday life, resulting in a novel that explains this phenomenon in the physical and spiritual worlds.

Dr. Spence has traveled across the country to work and collaborate with women in relational and emotional abuse. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences and a workshop presenter. She has also been the host of the “Need to Talk” radio show in Michigan, which presented a mental health platform, delving into topics such as mental health diagnosis, community health, community help, and reform.

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