Often in life, we feel stress taking over, experience feelings of worry or sadness, and get overwhelmed. Research has shown that one in five people in America experience mental health issues – more than 40 million adults yearly. Good mental health is important to living a healthy and balanced life. Therefore, seeking help in such cases is very important to improve the quality of life. Mental health counselors are trained professionals who can offer advice, support, and a safe environment to a person to talk about their problems. These professionals help you understand your thought processes, symptoms, triggers, and reactionary behaviors and help discover the root cause of problems. Abby Jo Hawkins, mental health counselor, and founder of Mental Matters Therapy, PLLC, provides counseling and mediation to help clients alleviate their concerns.
Abby holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in Psychology and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Clinical Mental Health from Tarleton State University. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor specializing in grief and trauma therapy. Abby is also a National Board-Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CCATP) as well as a Certified Grief Counseling Specialist. A chance psychology class in college made her fall in love with the subject, and there has been no turning back ever since. When Abby received her master’s degree, she was selected as the Outstanding Graduate for the Department of Health Sciences and Human Services at her university. An adjunct instructor, advisory board member, and mentor for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Tarleton State University, Abby has a history of working in psychiatric facilities with inpatient, outpatient, detox, and crisis clients. Besides, she is on the crisis team for Denton County MHMR to help clients who may need medication assessment or management of mental health issues.
Mental Health Matters
Abby wanted to provide a safe space for people to talk about their feelings and thoughts without being judged. Often, people do not reach out for help for fear of being criticized due to the stigma associated with mental health counseling. With a mission to help such people, Abby founded Mental Matters Therapy, PLLC, in May this year to provide individuals, couples, and/or family counseling services to adults and adolescents via Telehealth (remotely). She works with various age groups, including children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics, who are troubled with mental health illnesses such as different forms of psychosis, substance abuse and addictions, depression, anxiety, trauma, crisis, relationship stressors, and more.
The mental state of an individual is undoubtedly a key aspect of his/her overall well-being, and Abby believes the key to a therapeutic relationship is rooted in trust, respect, and transparency. Her expertise lies in guiding clients through depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other personality and learning disorders. She understands that psychotherapy is not “one size fits all” and focuses on utilizing theories of CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), the person-centered model, and motivational interviewing to help her clients achieve their goals at their own pace. Besides confidence-boosting, Abby provides resources, encourages homework options, and coping skill strategies to decrease unhelpful symptoms and increase self-efficiency.
The impact of mediation in amicable dispute resolution is vastly underrated as it has been restricted to only family disputes and other elementary matters. However, with COVID-19 bringing about dynamic changes in the world, including the legal industry, to adapt and reform around the new normal, the significance of mediation has gained fresh ground as an effective form of dispute resolution mechanism.
A successful resolution through mediation is the most cost-effective solution and ensures the agreement suits both parties. Abby, being a mediator trained in family disputes and general mediation, started another company, Dispute Resolution and Mediation, in March this year to provide clients with professional and confidential mediation to support and integrate communication into conflictual situations. Abby is also on the Tarrant County, and Dallas County Mediation teams for court-ordered mediations.
Abby believes everyone has a natural tendency toward psychological growth and health, but access to this inner “compass” can be hindered by various life stressors. Therefore, she strives to provide clients with an empathic, accepting environment in which they can reconnect with their inner tendency toward wholeness and mental health and lead happier, more satisfying lives.
Abby is engaged in a lot of activities where she gives back to the community. This year and next, she is on the listed resource magnets for incoming freshmen at Southern Methodist University. Alongside, Abby plans to launch her own podcast this year. To maintain a work-life balance, she prefers to streamline everything and makes time for the things she loves every day.
In advice to future businesswomen, Abby asks them to let go of fear. “Do not let fear hold you back. Dive in to figure things out. Lean into the discomfort, and do not worry if it is not perfect. You need to just start out and move forward with it. Most of the time, it is our inhibitions and fear of failure which prevent us from following our passion. Unless you take that leap of faith, you will not know if you can make it,” said Abby.
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