One of my favorite things about building a business is building a network of practitioners that I trust and can refer my clients to. Our community is so lucky to have such wonderful people ready to support us in all different ways. It has been a pleasure getting to know Hannah and Whitney of Manifest Counseling Services. They are full of energy and have a fresh perspective -plus we both chose ferns as a representation of our practice and values. I strongly encourage my clients to have mental health support as part of their wellness team. So I asked Hannah and Whitney to share their approach and their practice.
Can you tell me a little about Manifest Counseling Services- who you are, who do you help?
We are two very passionate women about the work we do. We have both known since we were very young that we were meant to be in a “helping profession” and both had dreams of owning our own practice some day. Neither of us thought that some day would come so quickly, but various circumstances in our life brought us each to assess how we can be the most helpful in our community and what we truly want out of life. We both came to the realization that chasing our dream didn’t have to be so far-off in the future. We realized that the best way we could help others was by walking through our own fears and making our dream a reality.
We work with all sorts of individuals. Hannah shines in her couples and family work and I’d say I shine in working with anyone who is open to a more holistic approach to mental health and wellness. We both have a background in supporting individuals and their families coping with substance use challenges and continue to love that work. Our work has since expanded to helping people with many of life’s challenges such as anxiety, life transitions, building self-confidence, dream chasing, and relationship challenges.
We also provide walk and talk therapy (year-round!) for people who want to utilize the healing powers of nature and are not into sitting for talk therapy. This can be a great method to practice active mindfulness for anxiety or to help build a relationship in a more open environment. I do not offer this with my couples or families but both Whitney and I offer it as an option with individuals/teens.
What makes your practices different or unique?
We both strongly believe in a relationship-first approach. Our priority is to build a strong relationship with everyone we meet so that they leave feeling understood and inspired to accomplish what matters to THEM. We do not believe in harmful labels or a one size fits all approach. Our therapy practice is truly holistic, exploring how your mental health, physical health, environment, relationships, movement, food intake are all connected to your general well being.
We both really emphasize mind-body approach in healing and have a thorough understanding of how both relationship and mental health issues can present as physical ailments as well. I am a Registered 200-hr Yoga Teacher and Reiki Practitioner and enjoy integrating that sort of work into sessions if people are open to it. Hannah has an infectious sense of humor and is super easy to connect with. Pretty much nothing can phase either one of us, and I think that can be helpful too.
What are some common themes that women and their families see a counselor for during: pre-natal/infertility, pregnancy, postpartum, or pre-menopause/menopause?
Whitney: I feel like this list is endless as well. During pregnancy, women may seek support to discuss the many changes that are occurring leading up to delivery. Infertility is so common and oftentimes women reach out because they feel really alone, overwhelmed and angry with their bodies, the universe, etc. Many women experience postpartum depression or anxiety and are needing a place to safely talk about their feelings and experiences.
Hannah: Women’s bodies are incredible miracle machines, and with that comes a lot of moving parts, beauty, pleasure, and difficulty. In my work with couples I explore how these changes and/or complications have affected their connection with their partner. Having a child can be a scary and exciting change for couples. It’s a great time to meet with a counselor about values in parenting and how to parent as a unified couple. Also in the years after having a child it isn’t unlikely that your relationship can fall between the cracks. I thoroughly enjoy working with couples on re-igniting their flame and falling in love again.
How can counseling help women meet their personal goals?
Whitney : A variety of ways. Many find that just the process of goal setting can begin to open so many doors. It can be difficult to set goals that are realistic and attainable, so counseling can help to prioritize and focus efforts on what’s important. Counseling can help to explore both what’s working and helpful versus what barriers there are to meeting your goals. Having someone else to listen and facilitate exploration with this can uncover some of the things we have been unaware of. It can also just help to have an outside perspective to brainstorm creative strategies.
I should add that oftentimes people come to therapy without any particular goals, but rather a sense that there is work to be done. That sense, or inner wisdom, is so important to listen to and I would stress to anyone who is considering counseling that you don’t have to know exactly what your goals are to begin the process.
What is one thing that someone could consider today that could make a big impact in their mental health?
Hannah: I am big on asking yourself the question, “How does this serve me?” Before you call a relative back, argue with your partner, buy a new pair of shoes, start a new job, commit to a dinner plan you don’t want to attend, eat a salad for lunch… How does this serve me? Is doing this going to help me reach for my dreams? Does visiting with this person make me feel good about myself or does it drain me? Am I doing this because I feel like I’m supposed to or because I want to? Often times our lives feel meaningless and our relationships feel like a struggle because we are not being true to our needs and are left feeling empty. Do things that serve you. Practice healthy selfishness so that you can truly “show up” for yourself and the people that matter.
What do you love most about what you do?
Hannah: I love watching couples fall in love again and remember why they chose one another. It is common in the beginning of my couples work that one or both parties are unsure if they will ever “get back” to where they once were. I love being the guide on their journey that helps them rediscover their attraction, connection, and respect for one another. Being lonely while in a relationship is so painful. There is nothing better than seeing two people build a love that’s stronger that it was in the first place. I also love helping families find structure and balance. Our families are such a big part of how we view life. Helping everyone find a voice and know that they matter is my favorite part of family work.
Whitney: I am so inspired by the many people that seek help and are so open and vulnerable in the process of healing. I love it when I am working with someone and they have an “a-ha” moment, like something has just “clicked” after months or years of not understanding. I love it when people realize they are not “crazy”, not alone, and that their feelings are valid and there for a reason. I love it when someone first starts seeing a shift in themselves and begins to build confidence, trust and hope in the healing process. Being a part of someone’s healing process is the biggest gift and blessing for me.
What are the common misunderstandings about seeing a counselor?
Whitney: Hahaha. I feel like there could be an entire podcast about this topic. Hmm, that might be a fun idea. I will just name the first few that come to mind: 1) Something has to be wrong with me in order to see a counselor 2) Counseling is for times of crisis and I am not in crisis 3) If I see a counselor they are just there to analyze me 4) Counseling is for people that don’t have “willpower” to make the changes on their own
Hannah: Haha Yep! I will add to this list- 5) Couples counseling is only for couples who fight (wrong, it’s also for couples who want to connect on an even deeper level) 6) Someone is always right or wrong in an argument and the counselor will pick sides (two people in a relationship= two people who need to create change).
Want to learn more? Hannah and Whitney are both currently accepting new clients and provide FREE phone consultations to anyone who is interested.
(207) 480-3491 Hannah ext.1 Whitney ext. 2
Instagram: @manifestmaine Facebook Page: Manifest Counseling Services