Counseling Blairsville, Georgia
Counseling Atlanta, Georgia
You’ve come to the right place if you are an adult who wants to eliminate painful patterns associated with stress, anxiety, trauma, grief, or depression. I provide counseling only via Zoom video conference.
I specialize in helping highly sensitive people and couples. See my bestselling book on Amazon: The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self.
What is the difference between psychotherapy and life coaching?
Psychotherapists are trained in a medical model which studies symptom clusters that result in a mental illness diagnosis. Past wounds, influences from your family of origin, and societal programming shape your maladaptive coping strategies in the present. The inability to process emotions effectively often results in low self esteem, physical pain, disease, and dysfunctional relationships. Counseling helps increase self-understanding and heal wounds. Clients learn skills to decrease stress, anxiety, grief, and depression. The focus is on getting rid of what hurts. Personally, I think diagnoses can be a short way of understanding a person, but I don’t like labels that pathologize people. My clients are real live human beings. They deserve to be treated with respect, not put in categories and then viewed through a narrow lens. I create an environment for my clients to excavate their inner wisdom.
Life Coaching, on the other hand, has a future focus. It’s about creating what you want. Clients function in a normal range. We help you design a fulfilling life based on your core values and what is most meaningful to you. We help you identify what gets in the way of accomplishing your goals. We hold you accountable as you take steps in your action plan to achieve your goals and dreams.
I offer both psychotherapy and life coaching. Healing the chains that bind us is essential, but that’s only half of it. We also need to learn how to be the conscious creative forces in our lives.
Who are My Clients?
My S.M.A.R.T.* high-achieving women and men are successful, intelligent, and creative. They often work long hours, excelling at their career. Excellence is important to them. They often experience physical pain or disease. If they exercise, they treat their bodies more like performance machines than the temple of the Holy Spirit. Insomnia leaves them fatigued, and prone to being emotionally triggered by their loved ones. Tempers flare, or they distance from a loved one to avoid conflict. Both behaviors damage relationships. They don’t want that to happen, but it is common.
* S.M.A.R.T. = Spiritual, Mature, Authentic, Responsible, Trustworthy
My clients have a hard time turning off their thoughts. They have busy minds. Some drink alcohol or take drugs to relax. They often wake up tired, but they are so dedicated to work, they push through. They tell themselves they function better under stress. But inside, they know it is taking a toll. Self-care is on their radar, but difficult to apply consistently.
As clients work with me over time, they become aware of how their family of origin affects their current life.
Often, their parents applauded their drive toward excellence. They became winners. Along with wonderful encouragement, however, one or both parents were probably emotionally or physically distant. Or worse, they were critical … or emotionally, verbally, physically, or sexually abusive.
As a consequence, my high-achieving clients feel a kind of emptiness inside, but on-lookers would never know it. My clients look confident, poised, and secure. But there’s an ache deep down, a kind of loneliness. It makes relationships challenging. Sometimes, they experience Imposter Syndrome.
This hint of inadequacy, and the opinion that they should not feel insecure, keeps my clients driven to perform. That generates success, but this often results in burnout, damaged relationships, and hurting bodies. Memory sometimes suffers.
Sooner or later, there is a crisis.
Stress, anxiety, or depression increase. Work demands pile up. If there’s a job change, fears of financial insecurity may hover. Headaches, fatigue, backaches, high blood pressure, heart conditions, weight, diabetes, and digestive disorders take their toll. Anxiety attacks mock symptoms of a heart attack. Someone falls out of love, has an affair, threatens divorce, or actually leaves.
How I Counsel Adults
From my holistic mind-body-spirit-emotion approach, I see these things as symptoms of a bigger picture.
Experiential “bottom-up” therapy often reveals the pain of a broken heart and a wounded spirit. Often the pattern started in childhood. Perhaps there was emotional distance with a parent where you didn’t feel like you were understood.
Perhaps you didn’t feel a secure emotional attachment.
Or, there was some kind of trauma such as a car wreck and a frightening medical procedure. Or perhaps there was emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. Or, there was a family lifestyle of stress, worry, and depression. Some of my clients are adult children of an alcoholic.
When entering therapy, my clients may or may not be aware of the impact of their family of origin patterns.
I do not treat just the symptoms because I do not want short-term fixes for my clients.
I want long-term results.
I look for the root cause and focus the healing there. I help my clients explore, excavate, and express their Authentic Self. As they proceed along the journey toward the Authentic Self, they feel more secure, confident, and competent.
Without the haunting need to be perfect, clients no longer feel driven to succeed, which serves to cover up insecurity. A quiet inner peace emerges from the inside out. True strength and courage arise.
If you are in a committed relationship, you will experience the fastest, deepest progress when your partner attends counseling with you.
Emotional wounds were created in the context of a relationship, and are best healed in a relationship. Having said that, if you are not ready for couples counseling, or you are not in a relationship, we can do individual counseling. Our relationship can be the safe haven in which you heal.
One client shared her progress:
“I feel so much more secure and safe. I am OK, warts and all. I no longer need to impress anyone, convince them, or get them to agree with me. I am free to be me. I respect others and their life choices, even when I disagree. I can clearly see other people for who they are, so I know who is prone to try to take advantage of me. I can set appropriate boundaries so I do not let them hurt me. Because I have more ability to be discerning, I can also let down my guard, and trust people more. I can receive love better, and really let it in. I am finding more people who truly love me for who I am. I can give myself the rest I need. I can receive healthy forms of pleasure before I drive myself to exhaustion. I can balance my work and my personal life. I know how to cultivate inner peace. From this place, I know a new purity of love; not the false love that comes from projecting a mask of how I need people to see me. People can feel my genuineness and my authenticity. I like it, and so do they.”
Click here to read more testimonials.
My Holistic Approach leans more toward experiential “bottom-up” body-centered therapy than cognitive therapy. Intellectual understanding lays a helpful foundation. However, when shifts occur on the emotional-physical-spiritual levels, the transformation is deeper, faster, and longer lasting. I tailor my work to each client to maximize results.
I use these evidence-based methods: Brainspotting, Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) by Dr. Sue Johnson, Attachment Theory, Internal Family Systems, Humanistic, Transpersonal, Motivational Interviewing, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Mindfulness, Breathwork, Guided Imagery, Positive Psychology, Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
I’ve been impressed with how Brainspotting helps create rapid unexpected shifts. Here are a few examples:
- A brilliant, kind divorced man had a life-long feeling of rejection and abandonment. Although he wanted a loving relationship, he reeled from the trauma of a failed marriage after his wife had an affair. Later, another woman cheated on him. In our Brainspotting session, his activation level was level 10 (where 10 is high) regarding the feeling of rejection. His heart was racing and his throat was tight. He simultaneously wept in anguish and happiness as he reconnected with the wounded lost boy inside himself – the scared one who hid behind his mask of success. By the end of the Brainspotting session, his activation level was 0. Two years later, he married a beautiful woman, and they have a vibrant healthy marriage.
- A high-achieving woman experienced anxiety when giving presentations at board meetings. We met the morning before a presentation. She visualized herself being calm and confident as she tuned into her Wise Self during the meeting. Her anxiety went from a 10 to a 0 in the session (where 10 is high). Afterward, she reported feeling calm as she led the meeting. She commented that it was especially remarkable because she had not felt physically well earlier in the week. She said, “My healthy self-talk now results in calming down my emotional fears whereas it never did that before.”
- A woman’s agoraphobia (fear of leaving home) totally vanished after one Brainspotting session.
- Another woman was afraid to drive after a car wreck required her leg to be amputated. She was especially scared to drive past the site of the car accident a year prior. Within a few sessions, she was able to drive her specially outfitted car. She drove past the accident location with no anxiety. In addition, she discovered that she could eliminate phantom pain with Brainspotting.
- Another woman experienced chronic depression. She was married to a man with a mental illness who was extremely dependent on her, and she hated it. She felt trapped. Although she was miserable, she felt guilty about the thought of divorcing him. When we addressed this issue with Brainspotting, her depressed mood decreased from a 4 to a 0 where 10 is high. Also, the physical pain in her lower back and hip went from 4 to 0. Physical therapy had been ineffective in reducing the pain. In the following weeks, she reported that before Brainspotting, she was triggered by her husband every day. Afterward, she was triggered only twice a month.
These are just a few Brainspotting success stories. I like to introduce my clients to it so they can experience more rapid results than cognitive “top-down” therapies.
Brainspotting is a neuro-experiential model that helps the client process unconscious material. Progress is enhanced by using music played through stereo headphones or earbuds. The sound moves between the ears causing bilateral stimulation. The sound has a calming effect on the nervous system so that clients can process more deeply.
Accessing the unconscious material creates major shifts. That’s what we want: major shifts!
I also use faith-based Christian counseling when clients request it. I work with people of all faiths that are rooted in unconditional love.
Contact Benita A. Esposito if you are curious to learn more. Fill out the client questionnaire on the website, and I’ll respond within 24-48 hours. You’ll be invited to a 10-minute complimentary Discovery Call if I think we are a good fit.
Benita A. Esposito, MA, (Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in North Carolina). Author of the bestseller: The Gifted Highly Sensitive Introvert: Wisdom for Emotional Healing and Expressing Your Radiant Authentic Self. Available on Amazon and other booksellers.