About Harper West
Harper West, MA, LLP, is a licensed psychotherapist at Great Lakes Psychology Group in Clarkston, Michigan. She provides counseling to help adults and teens improve self-compassion and self‑acceptance, strengthen self-worth, regulate emotions, and develop mindfulness.
Harper is an expert on self‑acceptance and self‑compassion
“By teaching myself mindful self-acceptance, I fundamentally changed from being hamstrung by self-doubt and self-criticism to truly being calm and self-assured. In relationships with others I am no longer submissive and conflict-avoiding by default in an effort to gain their approval. I use prompt, forthright, assertive communication to set healthy boundaries. However, I am proudest of the new relationship I have with myself. I can respond with kindness and compassion when I am feeling emotionally distressed. I can be my own secure attachment figure, without having an unhealthy dependence on others for my emotional needs.”
Learn more about Mindful Self-Compassion Classes led by Harper West
Education & Training
Harper graduated from Michigan State University and earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the Michigan School of Professional Psychology following a career in corporate marketing communications.
Harper is an expert in mindfulness, self-compassion and meditation. Her advanced training includes:
- Member of the first cohort of the seven-month Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (SCIP) certificate program
- Mindful Self-Compassion core skills training with Kristen Neff, PhD, and Christopher Germer, PhD
- Compassion-Focused Therapy training with Paul Gilbert, PhD
- Trained in transcendental meditation in 1978
- Yoga practitioner since 1996
Harper has completed an externship in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT) one year of additional advanced training in EFCT.
Harper has also completed advanced training in Mindful Self-Compassion and Compassion-Focused Therapy.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Harper to a three-year term on the Michigan Board of Psychology beginning 1/1/2021.
Harper is a contributing writer to the #4 New York Times and #1 Amazon bestseller “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” (Lee ed., 2017) and “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” (Lee ed., 2019).
Harper is also author of the award-winning book Pack Leader Psychology, which combines simple ideas from the animal world, such as the “fight-or-flight” response, with the latest in social psychology and neuroscience to explain human behavior and relationships.
In 2020 she was the lead editor and a contributor for a Special Edition of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology entitled: “Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Stories of Ethical Activism in the Age of Trump.” She has been quoted in the news media and written for numerous publications.
Harper has also written an ebook on Self-Acceptance Psychology, a new paradigm for understanding emotional health.
She is a speaker and trainer on topics such as self-acceptance, mindfulness, the effect of trauma on anxiety and depression, ADHD, relationships, domestic violence and parenting. Subscribe to her YouTube channel to get her current posts.
She was asked to present on her Self-Acceptance Psychology concepts at the 2018 annual conference of the International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) in Toronto, Canada.
Chronic psychological stress, recent studies indicate, may be as important — and possibly more important — to the health of your heart than the traditional cardiac risk factors. In fact, in people with less-than-healthy hearts, mental stress trumps physical stress as a potential precipitant of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular events, according to the latest report.
It is important to set boundaries with narcissists, such as setting limitations on behaviors and words. But emotional boundaries that block the incoming feelings of guilt and shame are also important. Victims of narcissistic abuse are often empaths and too easily take on the emotions of guilt and shame as a result of their childhood emotional abuse by parents or siblings who are narcissists.
Why does he abuse me? Stop asking this question! Victims of abusive and narcissistic relationships often ask “why does he abuse me?” They do this 1) because our primitive brains engage in pattern-finding for make sense of fear 2) trauma bonding 3) love bombing 4) self-blaming tendencies toward “fixing” the self 5) Victim blaming by the abuser 6) victims trained not to hold the abuser accountable