Holistic wellness is a unique modern-day concept that covers all aspects of life. It differs from other forms of wellness in that it is an amalgam of a lifestyle coupled with a deeper understanding of self to implement changes and promote healing. This form of well–being is gaining importance as it recognizes and acknowledges that illnesses go beyond just physical health and works to elevate the entire living process. Nicole Bankhead, a Licensed Professional Counselor and CEO and Founder of Serenity Wellness and Counseling Center, is committed to treating the mind, body, and spirit of her clients through a holistic approach.
Nicole, a native of Texas, holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a Minor in Marketing and International Studies from the University of Houston. Nicole began working as a paralegal for several law firms, and it was during this period that she questioned herself about what she could do to feel fulfilled and serve a bigger purpose in life. This led her to acquire teaching certificates in general and special education to become a school counselor.
While teaching, she completed her master’s degree in School Counseling from Capella University and landed a job in an off-campus behavior transition program for working teens who needed the skills to return to their home campus. Her ability to build trust and truly help those students caught the attention of her supervisor, who suggested that she become a full-fledged licensed therapist.
Beyond Just Talk Therapy
Holistic wellness is based on the concept that the human body works like a machine with interdependent factors that affect one another. With a vision to empower people to heal and change from the inside out, Nicole founded Serenity Wellness and Counseling Center. She believes that the therapeutic process can help empower individuals to work through difficult life transitions, traumatic events, strained relationships, depression, anxiety, and other life stressors. Her passion for exploring the underlying psychological forces that drive behavior and thought patterns is the core to helping her clients make meaning of their life and achieve the changes they seek.
Through her own experiences, Nicole has come to acknowledge that change does not come from just one source but the ability to learn and grow through multiple avenues. Her center allows clients to heal through evidence-based therapies, nutrition, micro neurofeedback, yoga, and mindfulness. Nicole’s niche lies in addressing anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, and eating disorders. Her unique counseling style combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR). She collaborates to set specific goals and a treatment plan that includes role play, meditation, psychoeducation, book studies, mindfulness, thought records, exposure techniques, cognitive restructuring, and eye movements.
Nicole believes in facilitating effective counseling and that the connection between therapist and client is most important. Besides understanding the emotional side of the client while maintaining a high degree of confidentiality and integrity, she also provides accountability to help them reach their goals. As a former educator, counselor, and student support specialist, Nicole is armed with the knowledge and tools to help restore joy and happiness for clients of any age. This includes one-on-one counseling, consultations with a dietitian, neurofeedback for stuck brain patterns, pain management and healthy habits, meditation/yoga, evidence-based practices that go beyond just talk therapy, and a prescriber for medication management.
At Serenity Wellness and Counseling Center, Nicole and her team of highly qualified professionals work with the clients to help develop the knowledge and skills they need to get back on the path of happiness, success, and long-lasting positive change. Alongside, they go beyond just talk therapy to uncover underlying causes and provide support and confidence in changing the behaviors and thought patterns that keep an individual from being the person they were meant to be. Each company counselor, instructor, dietitian, and nutritionist has an area of specialization. Through specialized training, they provide the clients with a unique, more individualized plan to facilitate higher quality care with quicker results.
Nicole believes that rather than eliminating the bad habits, one must replace them with good ones to achieve an overall sense of wellness. Everyone talks of working towards maintaining physical health but rarely do people want to ensure the quality of their mental health. Therefore, Nicole wants to advocate this aspect as well. The pandemic has changed lives forever for many people, and mental well-being has taken a major hit. Nicole wants to help those still fighting it out and trying to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. She provides a non-judgmental space where the client’s fears are validated, and pain empathized with an approach that is skills-based, trauma-focused, and deeply compassionate.
For the women who are just starting, Nicole asks them to find a good mentor who they can trust. “I now have a couple of mentors, and my life could not have been easier. Expect to make your own mistakes but take them as a learning curve. They only make us stronger and inspire others. Never forget that you were also an employee and treat your staff how you want to be treated – safe and comfortable. Your employees have to love the company first before others can put their trust in you,” she said.
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