Kelsey Bates, LMHC, NCC, CRC
Kelsey Bates is a licensed mental health counselor with a background in rehabilitation counseling who is dedicated to helping patients overcome the mental and emotional obstacles that so often accompany chronic pain disorders. She believes in the importance of a team-based approach that emphasizes understanding and communication to fully address all aspects of pelvic pain.
Kelsey has had a lifelong passion for helping people. She received her undergraduate education at the University of Georgia, where she earned a BS in education. She then went on to spend her next two years teaching special education before going to George Washington University for postgraduate studies. Kelsey earned her M.A. in Education & Human Development in Rehabilitation Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health. She has provided her services as a therapist with a broad and diverse caseload, helping adults, children, and families deal with anxiety, depression, interpersonal issues, and more. She joined Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine’s team in 2020.
As someone who has personally battled endometriosis over the course of the past decade, Kelsey understands the mental toll that can go hand in hand with pain disorders, and her approach focuses on finding manageable goals to help her patients thrive, not just survive. She utilizes a variety of modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
When not working with clients, Kelsey loves cooking, going on hikes, and playing with her dog Daisy. She is also a big fan of mystery novels and country music.
Get To Know Your Doctor
Why did you decide to become a mental health counselor?
I’ve been interested in mental health since I was young. After teaching special education for a couple years out of college I really wanted to go back to school to increase my specialization and ability to help adults as well. During my clinical training I got the opportunity to learn from instructors who were at the forefront of CBT and REBT, which really impressed on me how valuable these tools can be.
How did you end up focusing on pelvic pain?
I had my own experience with endometriosis for over a decade and I found how important it was to take a comprehensive approach to take care of both mind and body. I was drawn to Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine because the practice already shared my philosophy of providing holistic treatment for patients.
What are the goals of your approach to treatment?
I take an integrative approach based on cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy while working as part of a team to try and address chronic pain from all angles. I really value communication. There needs to be trust between myself and my clients so that they feel empowered to manage their day-to-day, as well as teamwork with the other caregivers to keep up with progress and making sure that all needs are being met. Above all, I want to make sure my clients have hope that they can improve and live a higher quality of life.
What is your favorite part of your job?
You have to meet patients where they are, and I really enjoy the small victories. Whether it’s sticking to a healthy routine or even just getting out of bed in the morning, there are a lot of small steps that may not look like much to the average person, but they’re still marks of progress that are worth celebrating.
What is something you would like people to know about mental health counseling?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mental healthcare. Everyone’s experience is different depending on goals and approach, and there often isn’t any quick fix. It can take time to change habits and build long-term mindsets, but working together to make even small progress is well worth it.
How do you define patient care?
To me, patient care means looking at the whole patient. Even though pelvic health is a specialized field, caring for these issues means asking broader questions about factors like family history, daily routine, relationship dynamics, et cetera. There are a lot of dynamics at play and I think it’s a mistake to minimize any areas of someone’s holistic experience.
At Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine, we look at things differently. We consider the patient as a whole person, and we focus on the pelvic region because it’s the central core of your body. The pelvis is one of the primary regions in your body that helps your muscles, nerves, organs, ligaments and bones work together as a unified organism.