Each month Gilstrap & Associates will feature one member from our firm. We hope to give you an insight into their personal and professional lives by asking them a few quick questions.
The June, 2017 Featured Counselor of the Month is
Abby Wirick, M.S., N.C.C.
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern #13924
Tell us about your education and professional counseling experience.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I completed my student internship at a day school and program for troubled adolescents and teens that were on probation and court-ordered to participate for offenses such as theft, burglary, physical assault, drugs, and carrying a concealed weapon. Since graduating, I have worked in the public school system, as well as private sector, as a school counselor for students in Pre-K through 8th grade, an agency providing in-home and community based counseling for children and families, as well as a faith-based residential program for troubled teens in the Orlando area. I am now blessed to add Gilstrap & Associates to my counseling experience, allowing me to work with children, adolescents, teens, adults, and couples.
What would you say has been the most significant life experience (past or present) that has shaped your counseling direction?
The most significant life experience that has served to shape my counseling direction would have to be the suicide of my first husband and father of my two children in December of 2007. My children were only 3 and 6 at the time and I had just started my counseling program the semester before. I chose to place school on hold and focus primarily on getting help and healing for myself and my kids through individual counseling and grief support. Through this experience, and my relationship with God, I realized my heart and passion was to provide that same kind of support and healing for others. I decided to go back to school, taking one class at a time, working and taking care of my kids, and soon falling in love and getting remarried again, while completing my degree and allowing all of my life experiences and walk with God to bring me where I am today.
What can a client expect working with you as their counselor?
A client can expect to have a true partner in the therapeutic process when working with me, as I truly believe I can only take clients as far as I am willing to go myself. If I ask them to do something new, or try something different, they can trust that I would do the same. Clients can always expect that I will be genuine, open, and transparent with them, while allowing and enabling them to do likewise with me in the therapeutic relationship.
What would you consider your specialties in counseling?
My specialties in counseling include trauma focused interventions, as well as crisis informed care aimed at addressing various cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disorders. I am also trained to work with individuals and families dealing with grief and loss, divorce, “blended” families, and abuse.
What do you like to do for fun when you’re not counseling?
When not counseling, I love spending time with my family going on adventures, exploring new places, and making memories together. As you can see in the pictures provided, time with my family means the world to me…especially when I can make my kids laugh and have picture proof!
For more information about Abby,
click here to view her bio.