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Removing the Barriers to Mental Health

Hope Connects Counseling

Hope Connects Counseling
    
    Removing the Barriers to Mental Health

By
Meredith Knight
| Photos by Penny Whistle
Photography

There was a time when mental health
was stigmatized, a thing to be spoken of only in hushed tones.

Fortunately, those dark ages are behind us. Thanks in part to athletes,
singers, actors, and civic leaders who chose to openly discuss their
struggles with mental health, advocate for therapy, and encourage others to
seek help when they need it, mental health is becoming more
normalized.

That’s a good thing and here’s why. Our mind
and bodies are intrinsically connected. When the mind is unhealthy, it
reflects in the body. When the body is unhealthy, it reflects in the mind.
Without mental wellness, there can be no true physical wellness. Our mental
health plays a role in our longevity, in our susceptibility to certain
diseases, in our potential for substance abuse, and in our ability to thrive
within our jobs, relationships, and life in general.

Hope Connects Counseling exists to remove the
barriers to mental health and wellness. “Just as we each should partner with
a dentist and a primary care provider, partnering with a good therapist can
play a vital part in our overall wellness care,” said Founder Shelley Guess
MA, LPC. “Physical and mental health are so intertwined that you can’t tease
them apart. When you’re taking care of your mental health, you’re doing
things for your physical health — and vice versa.”

Hope Connects Counseling
    
    Removing the Barriers to Mental Health
Shelley Guess, MA,
LPC, Owner

Five years ago, when Shelley established Hope
Connects Counseling, she didn’t anticipate how quickly it would grow and
never dreamed she’d amass the dynamic team of counselors all working under
one roof with her. “The Irving area is growing so fast and the demand for
comprehensive mental health has grown with it,” she said. “We’ve been able to
welcome clinicians who specialize in chronic pain, spiritual abuse,
schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, marriage therapy, children and adolescents,
and other areas. These are outstanding therapists who are passionate about
what they do, eminently trained, and individually motivated. Although we each
have our areas of focus, we’re able to consult with each other and support
each other — and our clients. We’re supportive of each other and our focus is
— first and foremost — whatever is best for our clients.”

Therapy at Hope Connects is tailored to each
patient. Whether they’d benefit from a stroll around the lake for
walk-and-talk therapy, EMDR therapy (eye-movement desensitization and
reprocessing), a little time with the clinic’s therapy dog, Maggie, online
therapy when you can’t be there in person, or just needing a safe space to
process life’s troubles, Hope Connects therapists seek to meet each client
where they are. They’re also diligent about keeping up with continuing
education and training to stay sharp and up to date on interventions that may
be the best approach for a certain patient. “We want to provide something for
each individual who comes to our office,” Shelley said.


Voted the Best Mental Health Clinic in Irving in
2023.


Zach Zender, LPC-Supervisor is another
counselor at Hope Connects. “I believe ‘relationship’ is one of the most
important words in the English language,” he said. “We’re all in
relationships with others, with our environment, and with ourselves.
Relationships play a big part in our ability to work through healing. At some
point in our lives, we can all benefit from counseling. There are many goals
individually or in our relationships with others in which an outside
perspective can help.”

At Hope Connects, clients are carefully matched
to the best therapist for them. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how
much training or experience a therapist has,” Shelley said. “The thing that
will benefit a patent the most is the client/therapist relationship. Our goal
is to provide a safe and authentic space for someone to be able to come and
talk about hard emotions, to talk about something that’s happened to them in
their past. They shouldn’t feel judged or like they have to sugar-coat
anything, but like they can be real and be really heard.”

Hope Connects Counseling
    
    Removing the Barriers to Mental Health
Maggie, Therapy
Dog

Shelley is also passionate about making sure
the needs of her team are met. “This is such a great group of professionals,”
she said. “They’re all about what is best for the client, but I also want to
make sure I’m doing what’s best for them. I want them to have enough time for
self-care. There’s a big burnout rate among therapists, and that’s not good
for the clients or us. I want our therapists to be taken care of, to know
they are seen. I want their pay to honor their experience and all they bring
to Hope Connects. We wouldn’t be who we are without this outstanding
team.”

Shelley is also passionate about offering
mental health to the entire community. Toward that end, she encourages her
team members to accept insurance and offers reduced-cost sessions for those
in need.

From anxiety, depression, marriage and family
counseling, child/teenage issues, trauma, divorce care, grief care, and more,
the Hope Connects team is experienced in a wide range of areas to meet just
about any client need. “I’m completely humbled by the way Hope Connects has
grown,” Shelley said. “But if any mental health clinic loses sight of the
client as their priority, their fundamental purpose has been lost. In
everything we do, we strive to ensure Hope Connects Counseling never loses
that perspective.”


CONTACT

5000
Riverside Drive

Building 6, Suite 100E

Irving, Texas 75039 

(510) 858-6775

HopeConnectsCounseling.com


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