Telehealth Counseling 740.448.1604 - 740.592.5689 - No Office Visits -- Individual/Couples Teletherapy Counseling

                                   Biography and 
                   Methods of Counseling

    My solo, private, professional practice is based on the belief that clients' therapeutic needs are of the utmost importance. I am committed to meeting your needs and helping you to achieve your mental health recovery goals.
 
     With more than 30 years of professional experience working with mental health, I specialize in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety-related issues, relationship problems, and other "life-related " stress. I have experience in working with adults sexually abused as children and those who have experienced domestic violence.

     I was born, raised and educated in Ohio.  I have a Masters in Education: Rehabilitation Counseling, from Ohio University (1989). 
I received the Nancy Reagan National Scholarship Award in 1987.  
This was a unique award for a woman pursuing studies in addiction counseling and treatment. I was selected from submissions from the United States and all United States territories. This award aided in my Master's degree work with my focus on women and addiction recovery.  

     In my undergrad work, I achieved a Women's Studies Certificate during my Bachelor's studies (BGS) which focused on psychology, sociology, and criminality (OU, 1987).  I received an Associates Degree in Mental Health Technology (OU, 1985).  I attended Washington State Community (WSCC) college where i studied Data Processing.  I was elected to the Student Council while at WSCC (1982-83).
 
     My extensive background working with addictions includes:
 providing alcohol/drug addiction evaluation and  treatment, co-dependency recovery,  and Adult Children of Alcoholics  (ACOA)and Adult Children of Dysfunctional (ACDF) families healing processes. 
I have worked in various mental health and addictions treatment settings: in-patient treatment,  the local and out-patient community mental health, domestic violence shelter, home-based mental health services for the elderly, treatment alternatives programming for the criminal justice system at the local and states levels, and for the last 10+ years in private practice in Athens, Ohio. 

     I served as an appointee by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland to the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board where i served on the ethics committee.

     I welcome the opportunity to provide quality, individual mental health, addiction, or couples counseling teletherapy services to you and/or your family member.  I primarily work from an eclectic approach that is well-grounded in Person Centered  therapy which is a therapeutic approach of providing "... a non-judgmental environment, demonstrating empathy, and having unconditional positive regard toward the client."
 
     I also use the following therapies and approaches, tailored to each client’s unique counseling needs, a “what works best” approach:

                                       Various therapies:
 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),solving problems concerning dysfunctional emotions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure of changing thinking patterns to effect a behavioral change
  • Rational Emotive therapy (RET,)  identifying irrational and self-defeating beliefs and philosophies and actively questioning them, replacing them with more rational and self-helping ones
  • 12-Steps Facilitation therapy (TSF) to treat anxiety, depression, addiction, trauma and relationships issues by educating about the effectiveness of Twelve Step concepts in addiction recovery process and providing linkage to local and e-based Twelve Steps meetings
  • Dialetical Behavior therapy (DBT) is based on mindfulness and emotion regulation to identify and change negative thinking patterns, strive for positive behavioral changes and improve healthy emotional functioning
  • Biblio-therapy (BT),an expressive therapy that uses an individual's relationship to the content of books including poetry and other written words as therapy. Biblio-therapy is often combined with writing therapy & has shown to have long lasting effects. 
  • Expressive arts therapy (EAT), helps clients identify, personalize, and work on reducing and eliminating emotional distress by using drawing, designing, painting, collage-making, photos, mandalas, song writing, poetry, short stories, singing or other musical expression  to externalize feelings and process emotions though creative self expression.
  • Couples  relationship counseling (CRC) utilizes biblio-therapy, communication skills education, journaling/writing assignments,  meditation and relaxation skills, and self-awareness homework activities. John Gottman methods and principals to increase friendship and closeness to build a shared life together are also introduced to couples as a resource for increasing marriage appreciation and relationship renewal. 
  •  Referral for individual counseling while in relationship counseling may enhance and aid the relationship healing process. This service would be with another clinician and is not provided by Ms. Smithchild.