Welcome! You did it- you clicked the link and made it to my website, in the middle of whatever shitstorm is happening for you. This is the hardest part. If you can- take a deep breath- really, don’t bullshit this. And now, let’s find out if we are a good fit and how I can help you.
~ Jimmy Eat World
Therapy can give you the space you deserve to be real about your struggles in a world that values your smiles more than your tears of anger, shame, or fear and says that we gotta figure our shit out on our own. I believe that we are not designed to hold our pain by ourselves, and I want you to know that you don’t have to keep holding yours alone any longer.
~ Lord Elrond
Every Frodo needs a Sam- someone who goes with you into the fires of Mount Doom with compassion, humor, and a bullshit detector. As we work together, I can help you get back into your body and learn practical skills to navigate your pain. If you’re ready to stop running and start living, now is the time to find your courage and reach out. Let’s do it!
Welcome To Mountain Soul Counseling PLLC
Specializing in working with queer, neurodivergent women and gender-expansive professionals
I’m Sarah (she/her), and I specialize in working with queer, neurodivergent women and gender-expansive professionals in the creative industry and the helping industry (such as artists, marketers, therapists, physicians, and more) who struggle with getting stuck and easily overwhelmed by their emotions and thoughts, feeling disconnected, scared, or lost in their relationships, haphazardly channeling their energy and creativity (both personally and professionally) in a way that does not feel sustainable or meaningful, and questioning the impact of their family upbringing on their lives.
I affectionately call the intersection of neurodivergence, relationship trauma, and family trauma “the neurodivergent trifecta.” My goal is to help you create a life where you are thriving in your personal and professional roles, confident to be your authentic self, and empowered to set boundaries and engage in your life in a way that works for you.
Chances are, if you are on this page, there’s a part of you (or many parts of you) that feel “different” from the rest of the world in some way. Maybe you relate to one or more of the following:
- Your brain NEVER stops running- and it gets worse when you try to relax or rest.
- You’ve been called “too sensitive” for most of your life.
- You feel intense shame for the intensity of your emotional reactions.
- You look “put together” on the outside but often feel chaotic on the inside.
- You resonate with “anxiety” or “depression”, but question if either is a good fit.
- You would describe your childhood as “sad”, “lonely,” “scary,” or “confusing.”
- You can’t make sense of your relationship with your family, particularly your parents.
- You feel often drained, lost, and hurt after interacting with your parents.
- You can’t understand why your parents criticize you or cross your boundaries.
- You feel unaccepted or unloved by your parents because of who you are as a person.
- Your romantic relationship history includes emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
- You are often worried something bad will happen in your romantic relationship.
- You want to know more about boundaries, communication, and healthy relationships.
- You are trying to recover from a recent breakup.
- You want to better understand who you are individually in romantic relationships.
At Mountain Soul Counseling, I see your “different” as a critical part of who you are. I’m not here to change your “different”, and I promise you I will never ask you to throw it away, bury it, disguise it, or stick it in a closet. I’m here to help you OWN your “different”- whatever that is for you. I firmly believe that without “different”- our world would be meaningless. We NEED “different”- and more of it, not less. You are probably so used to trying to make your “different” smaller- and I’ll be honest, and let you know that I’ve struggled with that for most of my life. If you are willing to imagine a life where you can take up space (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and exist as YOU rather than a watered-down, masked version of yourself- then you’ve come to the right place.
If You Identify
I support folx who struggle with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Many folx I work with are creative or helping professionals who struggle to regulate their emotions, navigate relationships, and engage in the world because it is so damn overwhelming. Neurodivergence can feel scary or shameful in a neurotypical world- I can help you learn skills to build a life that works for you, not against you. Learn more.
If You Have a History
of Family Trauma
I work with folx who identify feeling frequent guilt, confusion, anger, or shame around their family dynamics or upbringing. Many folx I work with have experienced being unloved, unheard, or rejected by their parents. This pain is real- I can help you learn skills to tend to your pain and heal these wounds, one step at a time.
If You Have a History
of Relationship Trauma
I assist folx in unpacking their relationship baggage. Many folx that I work with have a history of being in abusive relationships or feeling lost, confused, or uncertain about what makes a healthy relationship. You don’t have to be stuck repeating the same shit- I can help you find new skills and behaviors that enrich your relationships.
Why Mountain Soul Counseling?
I chose the name Mountain Soul Counseling to reflect two important pieces of my work with folx: one, to capture the essence of that which grounds us, and two, to capture the unique essence that makes all of us different. As I was reflecting on how I wanted to name my business, one interesting fact I discovered is that mountains, in fact, have roots that stabilize the earth we walk on. And “soul”-what I define as the part of us that makes us unique- whether that be our neurodivergence, our bodies, our abilities, our gender or sexuality expansiveness or non-conformity, our culture, our skin color, our spirituality, and so much more.
Core Values of My Practice and
How They Can Support YOU.
I believe that we need roots to stay in the present and to anchor to our values- the things that REALLY matter. Without values, I have found it impossible to create a life that actually works for me. As I have discovered my values, my business model has changed. The model I’ve created at Mountain Soul Counseling reflects my core values: authenticity, courage, assertiveness, personal growth, and responsibility. I feel strongly about weaving these values not only into my business model but also into our individual sessions. Building a values-based practice has changed my life, and I believe that incorporating them into our sessions will change yours, too.
Core Values of My Practice and How They Can Support YOU:
This is the cornerstone of my business. I want you to be able to show up just as you are- whether that be happy, sad, angry, guilty, ashamed, overwhelmed. Authenticity has a lot of different definitions- I define authenticity as being able to speak about your internal experiences in a way that feels true to you. To be able to say the hard stuff. “That hurt my feelings.” “This needs to stop.” “This isn’t helping.” “I hate that fucker.” I am here to help you be MORE you.
You will hear me talk about courage A LOT in our sessions. One of my favorite quotes about courage comes from Susan David- “Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is fear walking.” You have to have fear in order to have courage. I go to scary places with a lot of folx that I work with. I’ve been to (and continue to go to) scary places in my own personal work. I’m willing to navigate scary experiences with you- you aren’t alone in this.
Being assertive (speaking up for your needs and expressing your views without defensiveness or judgment) may feel like a pipe dream to you. In a world where reactivity and violence are rampant, it can be hard to imagine being able to have a voice. Therapy can be a space where you can practice speaking up and exploring your internal experiences and actions from a place of curiosity. I can help you reclaim your voice and learn to set healthy boundaries.
This is the work- we work on ourselves. We shine lights in the places that are dark or scary. We become more aware of our patterns. We become willing to learn new skills. We are willing to feel stupid, scared, and small in the service of becoming more authentic. At times, I may share with you some personal pieces of my own growth during our sessions, if I feel like it will be in service to you and your journey. I can help you learn practical skills to navigate your pain in the service of building a meaningful life.
I think about responsibility as “response ability”- our ability to respond to our internal or external pain or experiences. For those of us who have been through trauma, our responses have been chosen for us by our brains and bodies to keep us safe (aka fight, flight, freeze). It is impossible to thrive when our brains and bodies are constantly in survival mode. I can help you transform your relationship with your painful experiences so you are thriving rather than surviving.
Do You Have Any Questions?
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is therapy anyways?
I define therapy (also known as counseling or psychotherapy) as a form of healing that involves giving you the space you deserve to be real about what’s going on for you and teaching you the tools you need to get un-stuck from the shit that’s holding you back. You might say, “So how come my friends or family can’t help with this?” or “Do I really need therapy?” So, I’m biased here- I believe everyone can benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. To me, the differences between talking to a therapist vs. family or friends include:
- Therapy is confidential- meaning your friends or family don’t have any right to know about the work you are doing unless you want them to.
- Therapy is skills based- you won’t just be venting; you will actively be learning and practicing skills to support your wellness.
- Therapy will challenge you- you won’t get a “smile and nod” therapist vibe from me; you will get (compassionately) challenged to examine patterns that aren’t working for you or explore new perspectives. Contrary to popular belief, therapists don’t usually give advice- instead, we ask questions and provide education to help you make the most informed choices possible.
Do you work with folx who are new to therapy?
100%!!!! I love working with folx who have never been in therapy before or who have had shitty experiences with past therapists. If you are new to therapy, you probably have a lot of questions- I encourage you to read about my approach and also check out the other FAQs to answer some of the questions you might have.
Do you offer online or in-person therapy?
I offer telehealth across the state of North Carolina, and I also offer in-person sessions at my Sylva office! Fun fact: research shows that the effectiveness of telehealth and in-person therapy is about the same!
Can you see me if I don’t live in North Carolina?
I can only see individuals who are permanent residents of North Carolina at this time. I am looking into getting licensed in both South Carolina and Florida- stay tuned!
Can you prescribe medication?
No. I do not have a license to prescribe medication. That being said, I am more than happy to help you connect with a medication management provider, if this is something you feel like would support your treatment goals.
How often do we meet?
I meet with most folx I work with every other week and/or 1x a month. However, how often we meet depends on a number of factors, including:
- Your schedule, availability, and life circumstance.
- My availability.
- Ongoing life challenges (may increase or decrease frequency of sessions).
- The nature of your specific challenges and how you address them.
- Personal finances.
What are your hours of operation?
My office hours are 11:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Thursday. My typical individual session slots are at 1:00pm, 2:30pm, and 4:00pm. My typical intake slots vary, although I aim for doing intakes between 3:30-4:00pm no more than 2x a week.
What happens in an intake session?
The first session we will have together is our intake session. During your intake session, we discuss your history (mental health, substance use, medical, family/social, safety concerns), review my practice policies, complete a safety/crisis plan, discuss a mental health diagnosis (if applicable), collaboratively discuss your goals for therapy, and complete a treatment plan. My intake session focuses on giving you education about my approach and teaching you a skill prior to the end of the session.
What happens in an individual session?
Individual sessions may vary in structure, depending on your specific needs. Most sessions include a combination of skills practice, psychoeducation, or verbal processing/discussion. Some individual sessions are used to review your goals and treatment plan, when clinically appropriate. I also may use assessment tools during our individual sessions, such as the DIVA-5, which is commonly used to diagnose ADHD in adults.
Are you supportive of marginalized communities (queer, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, fat oppression)?
Absolutely! As a holder of marginalized identities myself, I am all about creating a space where marginalized humans can just……be. Reach more about my approach here, including talking about privilege in private practice and using intersectionality theory
How do I know if you are a good fit for me?
There are several things you may want to consider when finding a therapist, which include (but are not limited to):
- How are you going to pay for therapy? Do you want to use your health insurance benefits with someone who is in-network? Are you interested in using out-of-network insurance benefits? Do you want to do private pay only? Check out my page on benefits of private pay here. Depending on your answer, you may also want to consider how often you want to be seen for therapy.
- What are you seeking therapy for? Take a look at some therapists’ websites or directories. Do they address the issues you are looking for? Do they sound like someone you can relate to, or do they sound like they are reading right off of their resume? It’s really important to find someone that you can connect with and that addresses the specific issues you are struggling with.
- How do you want to attend therapy? Take a look to see if folx offer virtual or in-person therapy. It is totally up to you which one you want to do. Research shows that both have equal effectiveness.
What are your specializations?
I specialize in working with queer, neurodivergent women and gender-expansive professionals in the creative industry and the helping industry (such as artists, marketers, therapists, physicians, and more) who struggle with getting stuck and easily overwhelmed by their emotions and thoughts, feeling disconnected, scared, or lost in their relationships, haphazardly channeling their energy and creativity (both personally and professionally) in a way that does not feel sustainable or meaningful, and questioning the impact of their family upbringing on their lives. I affectionately call the intersection of neurodivergence, relationship trauma, and family trauma “the neurodivergent trifecta.” My goal is to help you create a life where you are thriving in your personal and professional roles, confident to be your authentic self, and empowered to set boundaries and engage in your life in a way that works for you.
How do I get started to see you?
- Step 1: Reach out via phone call or text (828-547-3790) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) to get ahold of my virtual medical receptionist, Shalelia. She will schedule you for a free consult.
- Step 2: Complete intake paperwork. After your intake paperwork is completed, Shalelia will help you schedule your intake appointment.
- Step 3: Meet with me for your intake session and start some kick ass therapy!
Why do I have to do paperwork before seeing you?
My current policy is that I don’t schedule an intake appointment with any new clients until their paperwork is completed. There are several reasons for this:
- This allows me to review your intake paperwork well in advance so I can get a better sense of who you are, what your needs are, and how I can tailor your intake session appropriately.
- I see the paperwork process as an investment of time and energy, and by extension, a part of starting the therapy process.
- Here are some of the forms that you will fill out in your intake package:
- Intake Questionnaire
- Telehealth Consent, Policy, and Agreement
- Credit Card Authorization
- Release of Information for Emergency Contact
- Informed Consent/Professional Disclosure Statement
- Disclosure of Insurance Use and Coverage
- Good Faith Estimate
- Additionally, Shalelia will support you in connecting with Spruce Health, my HIPPA-compliant messaging platform.
What is your cancellation policy?
I ask that all clients arrive on time for all of their sessions so that we may utilize our time together as efficiently and effectively as possible. If you do not show to your appointment, cancel your appointment less than 24 hours in advance, arrive more than 15 minutes late, report that you are out-of-state (if telehealth), or attempt to join your session (if telehealth) while driving or from an area that is not private and are unable to appropriately relocate to a safe/private space, you will be charged the full rate for the session. The credit or debit card that you have on file will be charged the same day of your missed session. The only exceptions to these above circumstances are emergencies (e.g. sudden illness, family death, child illness or childcare crisis) that can be verified and/or if you would endanger yourself by trying to attend a session (e.g. driving on icy or snow-covered roads). If you are able to re-schedule your appointment within the same week of your original appointment, you will not be charged for your session; however, please note that my schedule is usually full, and it is not guaranteed that I will have additional spots available. For both telehealth and in-person sessions, I respectfully ask that all clients show up to session without using substances that day so that we can maximize our time together. If it becomes apparent that you are impaired due to substances, I will end the session. If you are unable to schedule within the same week of your original appointment, you will be charged the full rate for the session on the same day of your scheduled session.
Do you accept insurance?
I use an OON billing service, Thrizer, to support with verifying OON benefits for my clients and submitting OON claims. This means that you do not have to submit superbills; Thrizer takes care of this for you. If you choose to use your OON benefits, then you agree to pay my full private pay fees; otherwise, you will need to use sliding scale fees and will not be able to receive potential reimbursement via your OON benefits. If you do not want to use Thrizer, I can provide monthly superbills for you to submit to your insurance company on request. Please note that using Thrizer or submitting your own superbills does not guarantee that your insurance company will reimburse you for our counseling sessions; it us up to your insurance company (not me or Thrizer) about whether they choose to reimburse or not for counseling services. You are responsible for submitting your information to Thrizer before our intake session (which I will send to you via email prior to our intake session). Learn more at https://thrizer.com/client
How long are your sessions?
All individual sessions are 60 minutes (1 hour) long. All intakes are 90 minutes (1.5 hours) long. Please note that your fee is a flat rate for a reserved time slot of 60 minutes (in the case of an individual session) or 90 minutes (in the case of an intake assessment). You get to choose how much of your reserved time slot you want to utilize. Regardless of whether you fully use the reserved time or not, you will still be charged your fee. For example, if you schedule an individual session but only choose to use 30 minutes of the time and your session fee is $100 per session, you will be charged $100 for that session.
How do you pronounce your last name?
My last name is pronounced “Meh-tuh.” Think like feeling “meh.” And then add the “tuh.” Please don’t confuse it with meth- not the same thing by a long shot.
What does a “typical client” look like for you?
We will likely be a good fit if:
- You identify as neurodivergent or suspect you struggle with ADHD.
- You have a trauma history related to your family or your romantic relationships.
- You are a creative professional or helping professional.
- You are willing to get courageous and try new things.
- You are highly motivated to engage in therapy.
- You are willing to be challenged.
- You are willing to go outside of your comfort zone.
How can I contact you directly?
You can contact me by phone, email, or text. I respond more quickly to emails or texts than I do to phone calls!
- Cell: 828-547-3790
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are your pronouns?
I use she/her/hers pronouns.
“I have known Sarah for many years and we have shared much of our journey into the field of counseling together. We have spent many hours consulting with one another regarding our clinical work, and her compassion and empathy for others comes through in our conversation. I value her insights as a colleague and as a friend. Western North Carolina is fortunate to have such an excellent counselor to serve the Sylva area.”
1294 Savannah Drive, Suite 3, Sylva, NC 28779