Meet Ilsa

Welcome to "The Counselor’s Chair" blog for Northshore Family Counseling, where our counselors provide clinically competent, biblically sound Christian counseling for individuals, couples, and families of the North Shore.  My name is Ilsa Araki, and I am the Owner and Clinical Director at Northshore Family Counseling.  I’m excited to have you here!  Over the next couple of months, my amazing team and I will be introducing ourselves to you and telling you a little about who we are outside of the counseling room.  You will find that we are all a lot like you!  

For me, I grew up in Texas.  I have been married to my high school best friend/sweetheart for 30 years, and I’m thankful every day for the decision to choose this man to walk alongside me through this journey called life.  We went through college together (Hook ‘em Horns) and lived the military life, which means we packed up and moved over 10 times in my husband’s 22-year Navy career, lived in 7 different states, raised 4 beautiful, kind, and compassionate children before settling down in the beautiful state of Louisiana.  10 years, 1 son-in-law, 2 grandchildren, and 3 dogs later, my life is still full of joy, love, and a little bit of chaos.  Sound like your life?  Just a little?  I love my work. I love what I do. I love working with my staff, and I absolutely enjoy encouraging my clients.  God blessed me with a career that brings me purpose and meaning and a family who loves unconditionally.  

When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family.  We love traveling the world and experiencing different cultures.  We love trying out new restaurants or just sitting at home watching a movie together.  However, sometimes I need a little “me time,” which over the years, I’ve come to realize is an absolute necessity in order to stay afloat.  During my time alone, I love catching up on my reading, hiking challenging trails, and riding my bike.  I love exercising, staying healthy and fit, and I absolutely love cuddling with my 90-pound German Shepherd, who, during moments when she crashes in for a hug, believes she is a 20-pound lap dog.  

As a counselor, I have the unique opportunity for personal growth each time I work with my clients.  One area that I have grown in this year is in my capacity to endure stillness.  “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10, NIV) has been a challenge for me in my years of packing up and moving my family, homeschooling 4 kids while pursuing a master’s degree, holding down the fort during my husband’s 6-month deployments, and the usual sick kids, soccer games, crock pot dinners, and endless loads of laundry.  Being still was not my thing.  However, I am realizing the benefits of pausing life and enjoying the here and now, the present moment in front of me.  At times, I experience the peace and understanding that comes with being still and present, not worrying about the future, not ruminating about the past, but just experiencing what God is giving me right here, right now in all of His graciousness and mercy. 

 I have learned that we are all alike in many ways.  We fear rejection, failure, and the unknown.  We need to love and to be loved.  When we can hit that pause button, we get a chance to reboot and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  If you would like to learn more about the art of mindfulness, and being still and present, I invite you to check out our website (www.northshorefamilycounseling.com ) and explore our Meet The Team and Our Favorite Books pages.  Contact me if you would like to talk about how to add mindfulness to your busy life.  I would be happy to talk with you!  

Thank you for reading.  My staff and I welcome your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions.  We’re excited to have you here!