» Team » Alexandra Milspaw PhD, M.Ed., LPC, CST
Meet Your Behavioral Health Provider
Dr. Alexandra T. Milspaw is a licensed professional counselor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist who has been practicing counseling, as well as providing educational seminars and training sessions, since 2007. Dr. Milspaw is a Board-Certified Hypnotist and is also certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.Dr. Milspaw is a Certified 4-D Wheel Practitioner within the 4-D Network www.4-dnetwork.com. The 4-D Wheel is a four-dimensional approach to understanding, exploring, and discovering all aspects of our human experience. This method is specifically helpful when addressing not only the effect of chronic pain and trauma on our lives, but also highlights the need for a comprehensive, interdisciplinary treatment approach. She seeks to utilize evidence-based research to highlight the connection between mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual experiences as a way of empowering clinicians and clients alike to trust the healing potential within everyone. She joined the behavioral health team at Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine in 2021.
GET TO KNOW YOUR DOCTOR?
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR?
My journey into the counseling world began when I started “Break the Silence”, a 24-7 crisis line for gender-based violence, at Lehigh University. I become passionate about educating, supporting, and guiding those who experienced trauma. Working with those in crisis energized me, while I saw it exhausting my colleagues. I knew counseling was the right path for me. Through this work, and my work with producing Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” several times, I discovered a link between those who had experienced all forms of trauma and those who were navigating chronic pain and chronic illness. When I met Gina Ogden, PhD during my graduate school in Counseling Psychology, I discovered that “sex therapy” was an academic direction I could pursue. This led me to Widener University’s doctoral program in human sexuality. This awareness, mixed with the timely meeting with Dr. Robert Echenberg, allowed me to begin bridging the gap between the medical and the psychological worlds. I became even more passionate about educating, supporting, and guiding those who experience trauma and pelvic and sexual pain disorders.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO TREATMENT?
My goals are to educate, support, and guide patients and healthcare professionals on understanding the brain’s role in chronic pain, how to heal the brain, and how to utilize the mind, body, heart, and spirit in specific ways that calm the nervous system and restore one’s natural state of wellbeing and balance.
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING PRM'S COMMUNITY OF PATIENTS?
Working with our providers; being able to work with providers that understand that it’s all connected (psychoneuroimmunology), to work with providers who respect the power of the brain and the mind, and how it interacts with the nervous and immune system (which is exactly what endometriosisaffects).
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE PATIENT CARE?
I start by hearing their story, then move into psychoeducation around pain science and the effect of stress and trauma on the nervous and immune system. I explain the interventions and how and why those interventions work, so they understand why I am suggesting specific things.I train them in various exercises that heal the brain and retrain the vagus nerve, how to support their immune system, and heal the gut to heal the brain. Once they feel confident, we go deeper into more mindfulness practices, and self-hypnosis. My goal is to increase their skill of interoceptionwhich is the ability to be aware of mental physical and emotional sensations without fear, as the observer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I love teaching the workshops and I love the 1:1 connection and guidance. I love seeing the lightbulb go on in my clients when they realize how it’s all connected and how easy and effective these exercises can be. One of my favorite things to do is help women become pregnant that have had a history of fertility issues due to sexual pain, endometriosis, or a myriad of other variables. I feel so honored to be part of such a unique, special, personal experience! I love helping those who have been inundated with pain and struggle in their life. So often humans internalize their experience, which can lead to a sense of powerlessness and despair. I love being able to guide them towards discovering their path to recovery and healing…because there’s always a path.
WHAT DOES PRM'S MISSION OF "DECREASING THE TIME PATIENTS ARE SUFFERING WITH PELVIC PAIN" MEAN TO YOU?
To me, it means that PRM encourages and supports simultaneous interdisciplinary (seeing multiple providers) and intradisciplinary (seeing multiple providers actively communicating together)care. Our research verifies that a simultaneous intradisciplinary approach is what is necessary to get people better – long lasting and sustainably.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HELPING THE POPULATION OF WOMEN SUFFERING WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Throughout my entire career, I have worked with women with endometriosis, and I know many people and love many people suffering with endo. Western medicine says we don’t have a cure, but there is eastern medicine that is catching up (for example, with auto immune diseases). I tell people not to believe it (that they can’t cure it), that’s not true,and as with any disease, it takes commitment and discipline and work to heal, butit's possible.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT COUNSELING?
Counseling at PRM is more than just talking about your pain, stress, and history. We focus on education, so you’re equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to last a lifetime. We focus on an interdisciplinary approach to healing your brain, gut, nervous system, and everything connected to it. We teach specific brain exercises that heal and restore your brain’s hardware to its natural, healthy state of functioning. This healing allows your brain to “click save” with the software changes you gain through Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. It is my hope you will learn, experience, and realize the life that can be here for you.
EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE
Dr. Milspaw earned her Master's and Doctoral degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and Human Services from Lehigh University. She is also certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Consulting Hypnosis, and the Explain Pain educational program from the Neuro-Orthopedic Institute of Australia.
MEMBERSHIPS & AFFILIATIONS
An active advocate for pelvic pain-related issues, Dr. Milspaw has been a member of the International Pelvic Pain Society since 2009. A strong believer in holistic, comprehensive healing, Dr. Milspaw is passionate about bridging the gap between the psychological and medical worlds.
PRM CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
As a member of the International Pelvic Pain Society, Dr. Milspaw serves on the Executive Board and provides international trainings on chronic pelvic pain and trauma since 2011. She has recently published a book titled “Hello Down There: A Guide to Healing Chronic and Sexual Pain,” and wrote her dissertation on the histories of females with pelvic and sexual pain. She has been in this field since the beginning of her career, and she knows it well. Dr. Milspaw has attended more medical conferences than psych conferences, so she is well-versed in the intradisciplinary approach to chronic pain.
Alexandra T. Milspaw's Reviews
The meditations, techniques, references and information presented by Dr. Milspaw in the CBT class are invaluable. I have gained a better understanding of the brain/pelvic floor connection as well as...
Jul 20, 2022 5.0
I have learned so much from the course and the kind and caring manner in which Dr. Milspaw presented the material. Her voice is so calming during the instruction videos....
Jul 20, 2022 5.0
I have greatly enjoyed Dr. Milspaw's course over the past 5 weeks and have learned so much from it, I wanted to thank Dr. Milspaw for her incredible help and...