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 earned her Masters and Doctoral degree in Human Sexuality from Widener University and a Masters 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-Orthopaedic Institute of Australia. She joined the behavioral health team at Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine in 2021.
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.
An active advocate for pelvic pain-related issues, Dr. Milspaw currently serves as a Board Member and the Co-Chair of the Clinical Foundations Course for the International Pelvic Pain Society. She is a co-manager of the Pelvic Messenger Podcast, which provides interviews with specialists around the world on chronic pelvic and sexual pain disorders. She also provides annual training sessions for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and Pennsylvania County Bar Associations on the neurobiology of trauma and stress, how to foster resilience and reduce burnout, and how to support trauma victims in the courtroom.
A strong believer in holistic, comprehensive healing, Dr. Milspaw is passionate about bridging the gap between the psychological and medical worlds. She seeks to utilize evidence-based research to highlight the connection between the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual experiences as a way of empowering clinicians and clients alike to trust the healing potential within everyone.
When not helping her patients, Dr. Milspaw enjoys reading research about the brain, practicing Iyengar yoga and mindfulness, and playing outside with her two dogs, child, and loving partner.
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 “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 lead me to Widener University’s doctoral program in human sexuality. This awareness, mixed with the timely meeting of 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.
HOW DID YOU END UP FOCUSING ON PELVIC PAIN?
While in graduate school for my Masters in Counseling Psychology and Human Services at Lehigh University, I was told about a presentation by Dr. Robert Echenberg, a local gynecologist specializing in pelvic and sexual pain disorders. As I listened to his presentation, all of the dots of my experience started to merge. He outlined the overlap of trauma and chronic pain within the nervous system and how that plays out with the main organ systems of the body, and how we need to help retrain the brain and nervous system out of the habit of pain. The lightbulb went on in my head immediately. At the time, I was becoming certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Energy Work, and Hypnosis. After his talk, I went up to Dr. Echenberg and told him he should hire me to do pain education, mindfulness, and hypnosis with his clients to help manage their pain. To my surprise, he did! I At that point he introduced me to the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS) and incredible pelvic floor physical therapists and physiatrists he worked with at the time. I fell in love with the pelvic pain world and how every specialist I seemed to meet understood the intradisciplinary approach and focussed on lifestyle medicine. I was in heaven! I worked with him for 5 years before branching off and opening my private practice. I then created the Alliance for Pelvic Pain with Amy Stein, Nancy Fish, Deborah Coady, and Dr. Echenberg and began presenting for the Pudendal Neuralgia Association. That’s when I met Allyson Shrikhande, owner of PRM, for the first time and realized we shared a similar vision for the treatment and education of patients with chronic pelvic and sexual pain. The rest is history!
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF YOUR APPROACH TO TREATMENT?
My goals are to educate
, 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 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 off 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 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.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE PATIENT CARE?
Patient care is a treatment approach where the patient is provided with informed-consent on all of the options available for treatment and the patient is an integral part of the decision-making process about the path towards healing. We seek to understand the patient’s goals. Patient care allows their goals to be a priority in treatment while we simultaneously help them understand the why, how, and when we may recommend certain interventions.