"Two sessions with you were far better than many more with other counselors I have seen!” - Feb 5, 2018
3 years ago, I was at a low point in my life. A mess of transgender issues and bad social anxiety. I had just come out to a friend as trans and she suggested I find a therapist specializing in gender issues. On a recommendation from her therapist, I was given Anna Lisa’s name. It took me a couple days, but I worked up the courage and sent her an e-mail asking for help. She responded, and that turned out to be a defining point in my life.
Anna Lisa has been a caring and compassionate force for me. She’s given me the tools to live as my true self and to be proud of my uniqueness. She’s taught me to push my boundaries in social situations. Because of this, I’ve become a much more whole person. I’m making new friends and living 100% as the person I know I am at my deepest core.
Thank you Anna Lisa for helping me in this wild and crazy journey we call life!
Jan 17, 2019
I just wanted to thank you for listening last night; I appreciate your insight. Although difficult, I am managing because of your countless hours and expertise over the years. You’ve validated my thoughts when I needed to be heard, uncovered many of my issues and problems, used modalities like EMDR and brain spotting to help facilitate real change and pushed and pushed and pushed me to do “the work”. I don’t always enjoy “the work” as the challenges are exhausting, but I couldn’t make any real change without you.
Jan 23, 2019
"Hi Annalisa! (from mom of client)
I wanted to let you know that (trans male teen client) had a complete hysterectomy. He’s home and recovering well. Another big hurdle for him and the family as a whole. It got me to thinking how far he’s come and how much we’ve learned. You were our first REAL saving grace and official hand holder/guide on this journey and I feel so very grateful for you!
Many, many thanks! ❤️"
-- Jan 24, 2018
"Hi Anna Lisa, I'm steadily coming out of the closet to more friends and family. I even told my children. I've reached a point where I'm very proud to be a transgender woman. And I LOVE how the hormones make me feel and I love that the real me is coming out. It's perfect! And the dysphoria is long gone. I'm planning on coming out to the entire world very soon. It is very exciting and scary too, but I feel like it's time. Yep, I'm moving outward and onward. Thanks for checking in, and thanks for helping me reach this stage in my transition. I was in trouble and you really helped. I'll appreciate it forever."
-- December 2017
“I’m so very very thankful for your help on my journey of self-discovery!... Anna Lisa Derenthal has been absolutely wonderful and I truly believe she saved my life. She was so sweet and calm, I felt really relaxed, she listened intently, and said ‘You are not sick or in need of healing, you are simply in need of understanding’. As I write this, it’s hard to hold back the tears. Finally, finally I truly believe I have found the answer that I have been searching for most of my life. I am transgender and I am not alone, there are many more like me. I am not a freak or sick, I just need to let the real me be free and with help, lots of help, from Anna Lisa. It wasn’t easy, especially after being told for so many years that something is wrong with you and you just need to stop doing that, you know, wearing women’s clothes. On my 4th visit, I actually went to my appointment with AL dressed as myself. I was shaking like a leaf, but she made me feel so comfortable. The TG support group really took some courage to attend. Very nervous at first, but I met some amazing people with stories very similar to mine. I felt like a veil had been lifted and for the first time I was actually experiencing and getting to know the real me. Scary as hell, but at the same time so liberating. All that started in February 2016.”
-- Nov 2017
I have to pinch myself to believe how far I have come since first coming to see you. I wanted to share a great event I had. A friend and I went to a party where I knew no one. One of the people there struck up a conversation with me. He said he had never met a Trans woman so comfortable and confident with herself. I am comfortable because I am finally me. I am not only not trying to be a boy, I am not trying to be a CIS woman. I just embrace who I am and try to be the best at being me as I can be."
-- December 8, 2014
" I sincerely appreciate you for everything! I NEVER would have been able to set up the boundaries that I did last week or had the courage to feel like I'm worth standing up for, without you. Like I've said in the past, I've spent my whole life feeling worthless and like a waste of space. And now....I feel like things are finally changing for me and it means the world! Thank you for believing in me, not giving up, and teaching me everything you have. I think you are the best! "
-- December 7, 2014
"Anna Lisa, thank you so much. I took your advice on everything and it has been spot on. Everyone gave me the support I was looking for since I posted about last Saturday. You're very insightful and gifted! I am lucky to have you as my therapist."
-- September 26, 2014
"I had to move on short notice, which is why you haven't heard from me. I owe so much to you and everyone i met there in the group, and i hope you all know that and know how greatly everyone and everything impacted my life. i can't even begin to capture the amount of meaning and emotion i have in regards to that, but i hope at least a portion of it translates. you are super awesome and i hope to visit in the future! thank you so much!!!"
-- May 15, 2014
"When I first reached out to AnnaLisa, my fundamental belief was that I was a bad person at the core and the best I could do was try to contain it and appear loving and friendly to others. I was also losing a battle with a pain that I could neither see nor identify. The only way I could verbalize it was to say that something was wrong with my brain and that it was something that I could not fix. I was hurting, severely depressed, and was beginning to lose hope that I could ever get better. Not to be overly dramatic, but the longer I went without a diagnosis, the more deteriorated my situation became. That was over three years ago.
Today, my fundamental belief is that I am a good person at the core. I am more free to love and be loved than anytime I can remember in my life. And although I still struggle at times, I can honestly say that I am happy. And as someone who was broken, I needed someone who was compassionate, honest, smart, and most of all, loving, which is exactly how I would describe AnnaLisa. By being who you are, you were exactly who I (we) needed, and for that, I am forever grateful."
-- April 24, 2014
"I hope you know how immensely grateful I am for all that you've done for me. I am so much better off than I was 3 years ago. Two things you've done for me that are amazing: One, I don't think I'm bad at my core anymore and two, I can love and be loved on a deeper level than I have ever experienced. And for that, I cannot thank you enough."
-- January 22, 2014
“What can I say?? It's been 2 months since I left GA... and life is better than it's ever been. I attribute so much of this to you and the techniques you taught me...the techniques that I use when I start doubting myself. I have been to other therapists over the past 20 years but no one taught me the things you did...which I can draw on when needed...including talking to my "monster" which I keep with me at all times. You are a caring and empathetic therapist...I miss our sessions! I hope that you get the opportunity to touch the lives of many more people!”
-- May 18, 2009
“I am 53 years old. I have suffered with very vivid haunting nightmares since I was 9 years old. I met with Anna Lisa and began EMDR therapy. After only 3 sessions my nightmares completely stopped. I have gone for 9 weeks without a nightmare. I am so thankful for the new life that EMDR is allowing me to have.”
-- June 3, 2009
“The best thing was to be finally admitting and understanding who I really am. Though I have always felt I was and wanted to be a woman, finally admitting that to myself and to someone else was very liberating and brought a sense of freedom I had never felt before… For the first time in my life I was able to be completely and totally honest with myself about things which are so deep within me. I have never discussed these issues with anyone before. The ability to finally do so was therapeutic in itself. For whatever the reasons you made me feel extremely comfortable and at ease and allowed me to open up to you and discuss ME. That has helped me and continued in other relationships that I have.”
-- June 6, 2009
“I am a 61-year old married woman who has buried issues of sexual childhood abuse from my father and others, and the resultant humiliation by and disgust of my mother. For nearly 50 years I lived a productive and successful life; only by keen observation could a pattern of self-punishment be determined. Several attempts at therapy were not only dismal failures, confusing me even more, but financial disasters as well, reinforcing that feeling that “I deserved” the punishment.
When my mother died I was the only member of our small family to stay with her, and it was a ghastly experience sitting with her for 3 days and nights as she slowly passed away… Once it was over I seemed to function OK. I flew home a few days later and within a week began to fall into the most bleak, black despair I had ever experienced. Medications did not help and I was quite seriously considering suicide. Finally my doctor gave me an ultimatum: see a therapist or go into a mental health facility. Through some sort of good luck or an angel on my shoulder, I had the good fortune of being referred to Anna Lisa Derenthal. I’d been told she practiced a new form of therapy called EMDR, but I was so discouraged I would have gone along with anything just to stay out of the hospital. I really didn’t think this therapist would do me any more good than any of the others ever had. After a few visits I found her to possess a profound ability to “see through” what I was saying to what I was really trying to say but couldn’t seem to let the right words come out. Every time she freed up a little thought or feeling that had been stuck inside me I felt as though I had just exhaled a noxious bubble, and felt the lighter and better for it. The EMDR therapy was an incredible tool which worked amazingly well. Sometimes it went very quickly and sometimes more slowly, and although there were many outbursts of crying, they were the result of bringing up and out memories or perceptions I had been harboring inside for years. Sometimes I was exhausted after the therapy. I found after a while that the EMDR and the thoughts and conclusions I had come to, worked not only in the therapy room, but throughout the day, at night in my dreams, and even several days later. I would find myself driving along and something would just “click”, sort of like putting on a new pair of glasses and having the sensation of “Wow – I can really see clearly! Things don’t look like I thought they did at all!”
I don’t think I would be here today, or I would be a drugged-out zombie, if it were not for the hard work Anna Lisa has invested in me. I look forward to my sessions, my husband and family are thrilled at having “the old me” back again, and I am finding myself doing things I simply felt incapable of doing a year ago. I’m also learning that I don’t have to be the person I had always put forth that I was, and that I can really stand up for myself and be the person I feel I really am. Most amazingly, I can’t believe how many friends have commented on how worried they were when I had gone thru the withdrawal stage of depression, and hardly talked to anybody or some days didn’t even get out of bed. I never realized how many friends I really have, and how pleased to find me back in circulation.
I would recommend Anna Lisa to anybody, especially anyone who is a bit apprehensive of therapy or therapists. She has not an imperious bone in her body, finds fun and laughter in almost everything and has more genuine empathy and humanity than I would have thought possible in one person. She gave me back my life.”
--November 3, 2008