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Meeting a Growing Need in Our Community!

The growing need for quality clinicians is apparent, and we are working hard to meet that need within our community. With that being said, we are excited to announce Sophie Burns, LSCWA as a new clinician in the Greensboro Office! She started in March and has not missed a beat since her first day. Continue reading to learn more about our newest team member! 

Why did you choose Social Work?

I chose Social Work because I have a passion to help others.  Ever since I was little, making others smile brought me joy.  I turned my passion into purpose by choosing Social Work so I can work with others to improve their quality of life in any way that looks like!  

What population of clients do you serve? Why that group?

I serve all populations of clients! Treating different age ranges provides such a different style of therapy that I love to have the opportunity to experience.  With each different population, there are different “favorites” with serving them!

Did you relocate?

I recently moved from Cary, North Carolina! 

What are you sad to leave behind?

 I am sad to leave behind my family.  I was born and raised in Cary, which is where my entire family still lives.  Luckily, it is only a short drive to go see them so I can still have plenty of family time!

Why did you choose CPA?

I chose CPA because of their core values in serving the clients we get to work with.  CPA has a collaborative approach among the staff members which allows one another to be supportive with the common goal in mind, to best serve of our clients.

Share what you enjoy doing for fun!

For fun, I enjoy spending time outside with my dog!  We love to go somewhere pretty and wooded to walk… bonus points if it has water!

Do you have a fun fact?

I have a twin sister and I recently got engaged to a twin! 😀

Stress Less, Laugh More: A Brief “How To” For Stress Management

What is your definition of “stress?”

According to the Webster dictionary, stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”

While we may experience stress differently, from different stressors, one thing is the same: stress is an inevitable part of life.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of skills and strategies you can utilize to help manage your stress throughout life. Below are a few strategies you can try out over this month, because April is Stress Awareness Month!

Label things IN your control and OUT of your control

How in the world is labeling going to help with my stress? Well, that is a great question! You see, most of the time we stress about things we have absolutely no control over….can you think of an example?

The weather. Someone else’s feelings.  How much homework a teacher will assign. What question your boss might ask in that upcoming meeting.

These are all examples of stressors that are completely out of your control, unfortunately. Therefore, labeling what is in your control and out of your control is a great first step. If you can recognize something is out of your control, like the weather while on a trip, then you can refocus your attention on things you can control, like packing a raincoat or planning indoor activities. This does not eliminate the stressor, but helps you manage it.

List your priorities

Making a list, really? I know, just hear me out.

I’m sure you have a very, very long list of things tugging at your limited time. How do you decide what to get done and what can wait? Fine tuning this process can help manage the never-ending to-do list and stress that comes with it.

Write out your top 3 to 5 priorities for the day, the week, or the month (whatever timeline works best for you). This is your “needs to get done today, non-negotiable” list. Then you have a “running list” (think of this as a word bank) of all the other tasks you need to do at some point, but maybe they aren’t quite as time sensitive as the top 3-5. Work through your top priority list first, and if you have time leftover you can always add more from your “running list.” This can help you create some order to the many tasks vying for your precious time.

Maintain boundaries

Work-life balance is essential for healthy stress management. This might be a “trendy phrase,” however many people have no idea how to put it into practice. Healthy boundaries with work can look like taking a full lunch break (technology free), setting a strict cutoff time for work emails, creating clear “out of office” auto-replies to protect your personal time, and taking scheduled, short breaks throughout your workday to step away. Remember, the work will always be there when you come back from lunch, a break, or vacation.

Now this is certainly not a comprehensive list, but is a good place to start. Maybe even bring some of these up with your therapist at your next appointment or share with a friend. We’d love to know stress management strategies that work best for you!

Meet our newest team members!

We are thrilled to be growing our team in the Greensboro office again. Both Allison Sanders, MS, LCMHC and Erin McCarthy have already started seeing clients.

Allison Sanders, MA, LCMHC serves preteens. adolescents, young adults, and adults with various concerns with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationships, communication, and life transitions.

We are also excited to have Erin McCarthy as a counseling intern for 2024. She is serving clients ages 18 and older. Continue reading to learn more about each of them!

What services do you provide here at CPA?

Allison: I provide therapy to individuals aged 8 and up.

Erin: I am seeing clients for individual therapy using a client-centered/humanistic approach and dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, life transitions, grief/loss, and stress management.

Why did you choose this work?

A: I’m a career changer, so “newer” to the counseling field, but I think my other roles have always lent themselves to serving people and helping them in a way to become a favorite version of themselves. I previously worked in higher education in various capacities from advising to teaching to leadership roles, but I think what I always came back to was wanting to hear people’s stories and helping them empower themselves. I went back to school part-time, taking the slow-and-steady route while continuing to work full-time. 

E: Albeit perhaps a bit cliché, it is more accurate to say that this work has chosen me. Coming from the vastly different career field of Veterinary Medicine, this decision to pursue a career in counseling was not made lightly and has brought into alignment my background in Psychology and passion for and advocacy of those who are in need. I plan to pursue my PhD Clinical Psychology beyond this program.

What population of clients do you serve? Why that age/group?

A: I serve children, adolescents, and adults aged 8 and up. I think each age group lends itself to something unique. An overarching theme that weaves through is helping clients learn how to understand and manage their “big emotions” and finding their voice. I also enjoy helping them see things in a different perspective and learn to navigate through different life stages. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy so continuing to learn about different modalities and techniques keeps me on my toes as well.    

E: During this internship, I will be working with clients from their late teens up until late adulthood. I hope to specialize in gerontological counseling moving forward in my career, with a focus on rural populations.

Where did you move from? 

A: I’m originally from western Pennsylvania but have lived in various locations since then. I’ve called North Carolina home since 2015. I’m a fan of all things Pittsburgh including the insufferable Pirates who have been trying to rebuild since 1992.

E: I have lived in North Carolina most of my life, except for a couple of years in Maryland during the Pandemic, returning to NC to finish out my internship portion of my Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

What are you looking forward to while working at CPA?

A: I’m looking forward to getting to know my colleagues and to be able to collaborate with them in a positive space and have fun. I consider myself a lifelong learner, so I am also looking forward to learning from them and expanding my own knowledge base and skill set to better serve my clients.

E: I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be working at Carolina Psychological Associates for the duration of my internship and have already learned so much from this exceptional group of clinicians. I am excited to work beside this company’s knowledgeable and caring practitioners, as well as to learn and grow alongside my clients.

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

A: I like working out and spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy being outdoors (people-watching is great). I’m hoping to be more successful in my attempts this spring and summer to get out on the water to kayak and paddleboard. 

E: I have a love for learning and developing new skills, and consequently continue to add activities to my “Fun List.” I enjoy what nature can provide in the way of restoration and peace and try to make a date with the outdoors as often as I am able. Kayaking, hiking, swimming, camping, and trips to the mountains or beach are staples. I also spend time reading, doing puzzles, listening to podcasts/music, and making art in the way of sketching/painting.

Share a fun fact about yourself!

A: I have two rescue dogs, Murphy (an English Foxhound) and Hurley (a pittie), and also volunteer with Triangle Beagle Rescue. From time-to-time, I transport beagles coming in from different parts of the state (and beyond!) to their foster homes. They’re pretty good paw-sengers except when they want to sing the songs of their people (think howling 😊).

E: I have an extensive “Would-Love-To-Do” list. I am fascinated by severe weather (with a healthy respect for it) and would love to go on a tornado-chasing tour. I would also love to have my pilot’s license, and have taken a few flying lessons so far, once over the Rockies (hello, turbulence!). I would also not say no to going on a polar bear tour in Svalbard, Iceland.

Most fun fact: I have a Ragdoll cat named Kjerag, named after a Norwegian fjord, who goes by “Shmoo.”

Embracing the Journey: A Guide to Cultivating Self-Love

When is the last time you showed yourself some love?

The idea of self-love can carry a negative connotation. Some might even assume you’re being “selfish” if you indulge in some form of self-love. However, prioritizing yourself is important for overall wellbeing and maintaining healthy relationships.

I’m sure you have heard of the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” But what does this have to do with self-love? Well, keeping your cup full is important to be able to pour into others, and self-love is an essential way to keep your cup full. Here are some quick tips to help fill your cup!

Identifying Personal Strengths:

You are good at something. In fact, I bet you’re good at multiple things. How often are you thinking about the things you’re good at or succeed in? Probably not as often as you think about your weaknesses. Try this; spend the next 30 seconds identifying your strengths and weaknesses.

I bet you could easily think of your weaknesses but struggled to identify your strengths. Over the next month, work to identify your personal strengths. Recognizing these strengths will help boost your self-esteem and can result in increased self-love. We should celebrate the things we’re good at and our unique qualities!

Cultivating Self-Compassion:

Embracing understanding can be difficult, and it can be even more difficult when it comes to ourselves. However, being understanding is an important part of self-compassion. Being as compassionate towards ourselves as we would be to someone else is a key part of practicing self-love. This might look like forgiving yourself for making a mistake, giving yourself the benefit of the doubt, embracing good intentions that didn’t turn out the way you expected, and not judging yourself for the way you feel.

Setting Boundaries for Self-Care:

How often is self-care the first thing to “go” when your schedule gets tight? Probably more often than you’d like. Setting boundaries is scary! And, because it is scary, we are less likely to set boundaries for things we might not identify as a necessity. However, self-care is indeed a necessity and therefore might require a clear boundary to protect it in your busy schedule. Take a look at your schedule and find a few times you can “block off” for self-care. Keep reading below for specific activities you can incorporate into these time blocks.

Creating a Self-Love Ritual:

Humans are creatures of habits. That means, if you’re reading this, you are a creature of habit (surprise!) A self-love ritual combines self-care, self-awareness, and a positive connection with oneself on a consistent basis. Including practices like gratitude journaling, meditation, positive affirmations, gentle movement, and intention setting throughout your day is a great way to make your own self-love ritual.

Valentine’s Day often gets overtaken by romantic love. However, self-love can be just as important. So, here’s to incorporating more self-love into your Valentine’s Day celebrations.

New Year’s Resolutions: A Mental Health Prospective

Every year there is chatter about New Year’s Resolutions. Some people have a long list of things they’re going to change in the New Year, while others might have just one thing to change. Some have extreme changes, others just minor. While there are many opinions about resolutions as a whole, there are some important factors to consider to ensure your resolution is helpful and successful. 

 

 

Why now?

Is there something magical about January 1 of a new year? No. So, why now? Spend some time thinking about if now is the right time to set your resolution. Why haven’t you made this change before? What is different now? Maybe now is the time!

Make it achievable.

There is so much pressure to completely “overhaul” your lifestyle at the beginning of the year, and this might be sustainable for a month. But is it achievable for the whole year? Remember, these are yearlong changes. You can always add more goals or increase the difficulty throughout the year. So, start small and add more later if needed! 

 

 

Create a routine.

Good intentions, alone, are not enough to make lasting change. Creating a new routine will help create and maintain change. While you may be motivated now, this motivation will wane, and having a routine you can rely on is essential. 

Create accountability.

Will anyone know if you don’t complete your resolution? Community can be a key part of success. This might look like a “buddy” to do it with you or someone you check in with throughout the process. Bottom line, change in isolation is really difficult. Invite someone into the journey with you. 

 Think about each of these in relation to your New Year’s Resolution and feel free to make changes as needed. Above all, remember that change can happen at any time of the year. The pressure of January 1 can be overwhelming for some, so take your time and think through specific goals that are meaningful to you. Here’s to small, consistent changes throughout all of 2024. 

Embracing Growth: Reflecting on 2023

 When do you typically reflect on the previous year? Maybe you don’t?

In the rush of the holidays, we typically move right through the celebrations, straight to the next year’s resolutions and goals. This does not leave much time for valuable reflections on the previous year, before launching right into the next.

Why is reflection so important? That’s a great question. 

The practice of reflection can increase self-awareness, gratitude, learning, and growth while decreasing stress! It can even help improve your decision-making. Are you convinced it’s important yet? 

While these are all important outcomes, the practice of reflection can be uncomfortable. It requires us to take a close look at previous events, some that might have caused a large amount of stress, sadness, or anger. Therefore, before starting this guided reflection, grab a journal, find a private place to sit, and take a few deep breaths. 

What Were Your High Points and Achievements?

Reflect on the positive moments and accomplishments from 2023. This could include personal achievements, professional milestones, or any positive experiences that brought you joy and a sense of accomplishment. These might be things you shared with others or something others know nothing about. 

How Did You Cope with Challenges and Setbacks?

Explore the challenges you faced and how you coped and navigated them. Reflect on your resilience and the strategies you used to overcome the various obstacles you experienced throughout the year. What coping skills worked best? If you realized don’t have many coping skills, take a few minutes to write down a few new coping skills you’d like to try. 

What Did You Learn About Yourself?

Consider the personal insights and self-discoveries you made throughout the year. This could be related to your strengths and your personal values. This learning might have revealed aspects of yourself that you would like to work on. Understanding oneself is a crucial step in personal growth.

How Did You Prioritize Self-Care and Well-being?

Evaluate how well you prioritized your self-care and well-being. Which habits and practices contributed to your mental and emotional health throughout the year. Identify areas where you excelled in self-care and areas for growth in the coming year. Would you prioritize self-care differently next year? 

What did you think of this guided reflection? Feel free to share it with others who might also want some time to reflect. If you are currently seeing a therapist, these are great topics to bring up in your therapy sessions. If you’d like to begin talking to someone, feel free to call our front office at (336) 272-0855. 

 

Welcome, Erica!

We are thrilled to introduce the newest clinician in the Greensboro Office. Erica Andrews, LCSWA started on November 1st and is currently accepting new child and adolescent clients. Continue reading to learn more about Erica!

What led you to the clinical social work profession?

Giving and helping has always been a passion of mine, as far back as I can remember. From trying to sneak in all the stray animals (which may or may not include frogs, rabbits, and anything else I thought needed love) to creating a rock band as a child (and having multiple air guitarist as to not leave anyone out), all signs pointed to clinical social work. I knew social work was the route to go, as it would allow me to be a part of inclusion and bring awareness to mental health/releasing the stigma. I mean, I get to be a kid myself to an extent and get down on their level. Doing something I love so much, that I get to call my job, is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What population of clients do you serve? Why that group?

Children, inbetweeners, and teens are my jam! This allows me to work together as a team with the caregivers and family units. The younger population has such big emotions and raging hormones in the teen years. They often don’t know how to express or handle their emotions. I love aiding and empowering them, as well as the caregivers, because you know kids don’t come with instructions.

What type of work were you doing before coming to CPA?

That depends on how far you want to go back, haha! I’ve always loved waitressing and serving people before I started my clinical social worker career. In my most recent job, before coming to CPA, I was at a private practice working with Littles to 21-year-olds.

What is something that you enjoy doing for fun?

I love the outdoors because that and Jesus are amazing self-care! I like to walk trails with my family, putt-putt, and play H-O-R-S-E with my oldest in basketball. I also like to watch movies and scary and thriller genres are my favorite :).

Share a fun fact about yourself.

So, I am afraid of heights, and I found that as a challenge. I told myself that I would never get on an airplane again! However, last year my daughter and myself went to Germany to visit my sister! Since I challenge my clients, it’s only fair I challenge myself!  By the way, Germany was absolutely beautiful!

Disasters: What are they and how can I feel more prepared?

Do you feel like there is a new “disaster” each time you turn on the news? Do you feel prepared to navigate a “disaster” if it impacted you or your community?

Susan Peek, LCSW is a clinician in the Greensboro Office. Before coming to CPA, she worked for many years providing various levels of care to individuals following a disaster. Proper disaster response is crucial for individuals and communities. Continue reading to learn more about disasters and ways you can be prepared to navigate them.

What defines a disaster?

The etymology of the word “disaster” means “bad stars” or “ill-starred.” The modern definition is any event caused by nature, technology or humans that causes loss of life or serious injury, damage to property, or significant disruption to people’s lives.

Why is emotional support important following a disaster?

We know that providing immediate support to those affected by a disaster can help build resilience and improve individual and community ability to recover more quickly. Providing the basics of safety, medical care, shelter, food and water can help stabilize people so that they can better undertake the emotional aspects of recovery. Psychological First Aid and Disaster Mental Health services help people understand their emotional reactions to what they have experienced and helps them to identify what they need to recover. What I need to help me recover may look very different from what you need, and when we are in shock it is difficult to identify what we need. Part of what Psychological First Aid and Disaster Mental Health services do is help people stabilize emotionally and name what they need for further recovery.

How to be “best prepared?”

We know that the better prepared folks are for a disaster, the faster they recover. Preparation can serve us in multiple aspects. Being prepared and having a plan can help alleviate some anxiety. Knowing what to do or that you have supplies at the ready can help redirect the focus from anxiety to a plan of action. Preparation and planning also decreases delay in reaction times, decreases the chance of potential injury or loss of life, and helps people focus in the moment instead of being paralyzed in fear.

It’s important to think about emotional well-being and safety as well as our physical needs and safety. Thinking about what helps you keep calm and putting some items in a “go bag” can be helpful. Items like playing cards, games, fidgets, stuffed animals, music, pictures, etc., can be helpful to have on hand to release nervous energy or make long periods of waiting more bearable. We often talk about building “social capital” or making connections with neighbors and others in our communities so that when disaster strikes, we know that we can call on others should we need help, or we can go help someone else. These are all things that contribute to building resiliency and the ability to bounce back after a disaster.

How do disasters intersect with mental health?

Most everyone has experienced a disaster of some sort whether it be a house fire, hurricane, or a vicarious witnessing of others’ experiences. Emotions run strong during disasters and recovery, and it is important to be aware of how they affect our thoughts and actions. Looking for the physical cues that we are experiencing strong emotions can be helpful in addressing them. We often point to “the extremes” such as not sleeping or sleeping too much, not eating or eating too much, being hyper vigilant or dissociating and completely shutting down. Feeling unsafe often tends to be at the root of most reactions, so identifying and providing what one needs to feel safe can be effective.

Experiencing a disaster is not something that people “just get over”. There are short-term emotional responses such as shock, fear, and anger but the long-term emotional responses like grief, depression, and anxiety can sometimes be more challenging to address. It is important to be aware of both the short and long-term emotional effects of experiencing a disaster and how they may play a part in the recovery process.

Resources:

Disaster Preparedness Checklists:

The American Red Cross

FEMA

Coping Tips and Psychological First Aid:

SAMHSA

Children and Disasters:

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

The Chapel Hill Office is Growing

There is currently a huge demand, within the mental health field, for psychological testing. Therefore, we are thrilled to add another clinician to our team to better meet this need and better serve our clients. Michael J. Reed Psy.D., LP, HSP-P, has extensive experience in psychological testing for a wide range of ages and specialties. He recently relocated to North Carolina and has joined the CPA team in Chapel Hill.

Continue reading to learn more about him. 

What led you to the clinical mental health profession?

I originally wanted to become an FBI profiler. My main goal has always been to be of service to my community as a psychological professional. 

What population of clients do you serve? Why that group?

My client population has changed drastically over the years. I first began working with adults who misused substances, then to men in a medium security prison, to adults/teens in a primary care clinic, and now providing assessments to children from age 6 to adults. I find kids challenging but in a good way. My first doctoral practicum was in pediatric neuropsych. and the rest, as they say, is history…

What type of work were you doing before coming to CPA?

My position was very similar to my work at CPA. I was the director of assessment services so along with conducting comprehensive evaluations I also oversaw staff, a budget, and was a clinical supervisor for students and post-doctoral psychologists. 

If you recently moved to NC (or the GSO area), where did you move from and what will you miss the most?

My wife and I recently moved to NC from Anchorage, AK in May 2023. I will miss a lack of humidity. and the mountains. Alaska has the tallest peak in North America. 

What is something that you enjoy doing for fun?

I love to hike and travel. Exploring new places and cultures is one of my passions. 

Share a fun fact about yourself!

I love sharks and if I was not a psychologist I probably would have been a marine biologist. Jaws came out the year I was born so it must be some sort of sign I was destined to love sharks. 

If you are currently in need of a psychological evaluation, please call our front office at (336) 272-0855 to be connected with a clinician. If you are currently seeing a CPA therapist and are interested in a psychological evaluation, speak with your therapist to determine if this is a good fit for you and they can connect you with a clinician from there. 

Introducing a new face here at CPA!

We are very excited to welcome a new clinician to the Greensboro office! Elbert “Jay” Hawkins, III, Ph.D., LCMHC-A, NCC has served school-aged kids and young adults in the school counseling role for over 20 years and recently made the jump into private practice. He brings a wide variety of experiences and knowledge in working with this population of clients and has hit the ground running here at CPA! He prioritizes creating safe spaces with energy and understanding to help all clients reach their mental health goals. Continue reading to learn more about Jay. 

Why did you choose the counseling profession?

Initially, I chose the counseling profession to be an advocate for children. However, I quickly learned advocacy is a part of the profession, but educating and promoting mental health and well-being is an even more significant part of counseling.

What population of clients do you serve? Why that group?

I serve children and young adults. Children and young adults keep you young and “on your toes!” Based on my experience, educating them on the positive effects of taking care of their mental health and managing life challenges early on will enable them to sustain a healthy way of living.

What type of work were you doing before coming to CPA?

I was a professional licensed school counselor. I served in the role for over 19 years.

If you recently moved to NC (or the GSO area), where did you move from and what will you miss the most?

I am a native to North Carolina, born and raised in the eastern part of the state. My college acceptance to UNCG brought me to the area, and I am still here.

What is something that you enjoy doing for fun?

For fun, I enjoy the company of family and close friends who have become family.

Share a fun fact about yourself!

I enjoy good food, so I am a “foodie!”

Looking for a clinician for your child? Contact the front office to see if Jay is a good fit for your family.