For mental health professionals like Michelle Fitzhugh and her Redeemed Life Counseling therapists, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed challenges beyond what they could have imagined.
Redeemed Life Counseling is an Argyle-based full-service, trauma-focused counseling center serving southern Denton County for more than three years. Several of the counselors at RLC have been practicing for 20+ years.
It is their goal to provide high quality, outpatient counseling services for individuals, children and adolescents, couples, and families. They offer group counseling and workshops.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Redeemed Life Counseling has been creative in providing continuing care for its clients and is available and ready to work with the influx of new clients experiencing a variety of issues including anxiety, depression and relationship problems.
The therapists rose to this challenge and began immediately providing remote counseling services through a HIPAA-compliant telehealth system. Their clients reported continued healing with few gaps in their services during the time where remote counseling was the only option.
Since the fall of 2020, RLC has been offering both in-person and telehealth therapy to meet the needs of each client while continuing to offer quality counseling services.
“We’ve had a large number of new clients seeking counseling services as well as clients that we hadn’t seen in years returning for counseling,” said Fitzhugh, RLC’s clinical director. “I hope that one benefit of the space in our lives created by the pandemic for both the new and returning clients has been the opportunity to face straight-on the issues of the past and present so that there is a chance for healing instead of denial and suppression.
“The pandemic has pushed some people to get help and face what they needed to so that they could resolve issues and be healthier and more resilient people.”
The counselors recognized a high demand for trauma therapy as many people were experiencing trauma symptoms seemingly reignited by the stressors related to the uncertainty and forced changes in their lives due to COVID-19 restrictions. While the world was collectively facing issues with loneliness, fear and insecurity about their lives and circumstances, those with a history of unhealed trauma may have experienced the effects of the pandemic at an even deeper level, ultimately needing to seek professional help from a counselor.
“We didn’t necessarily have people coming in saying ‘I’m so stressed out because of the pandemic.’ We had people coming in saying ‘I don’t know what’s going on. I haven’t thought about this in years and now I lose sleep at night. I keep having nightmares,’ and we as trauma therapists know that the body remembers and when the body feels things like being trapped and powerless and hopeless it goes right back to those places that felt familiar and to the surface saying, ‘take care of me,” explained Fitzhugh. Fortunately, all of Redeemed Life’s counselors were already trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to meet the demands for the increase of trauma therapy requests.
The counselors also experienced a spike in requests for marriage counseling.
“The pandemic put pressure on marriages and brought to the surface issues that may have been easily overlooked in the busyness and hustle of pre-pandemic life. There have been some amazing marriage restorations during this time and Redeemed Life Counseling therapists have been walking alongside couples as they found healing in their marriages,” she said.
“It forced people to really notice what their marriages were like, what was missing, what they were happy with and what they were unhappy with. People are having to look at things in their marriages that they didn’t want to look at.”
Redeemed Life’s counselors also noticed a large number of those seeking help were kids and adolescents, many anxious and depressed, much of it related to the disruption in their school routines and the other changes they faced during the pandemic. Add the fact some children went a long time without seeing their grandparents and other extended family and friends compounded the issues.
“They couldn’t play with their friends. Their whole world got shut down,” Fitzhugh said. “Not all of them had the cognitive functioning skills to problem solve, reason or assign meaning to what was going on in the world around them.”
“It was the unknown that threw them because anxiety loves uncertainty,” said Stacy Allen, a licensed counselor who has been with Fitzhugh since the practice started in 2018. “Kids look to their teachers as their support system and their teachers didn’t know how it was going to look and parents didn’t know how it was going to look. That’s the top two support systems in their lives and if they didn’t know, it threw them for a loop.”
Being a Trauma-Focused counseling center working with individuals, couples, and families of all ages, Redeemed Life Counseling is a light for their community and many surrounding areas. The counselors at Redeemed Life understand the great need for advanced training in trauma informed, body-focused therapies and therefore are all trained or currently training in EMDR therapy. It is unique for a counseling center to have their entire staff trained in EMDR and other cutting edge experiential modalities, making RLC a standout among counseling centers in the DFW area.
The therapists also are trained in experiential therapies such as Brainspotting, Psychodrama, Equine Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Internal Family Systems and many more.
“Redeemed Life’s primary goal is to be a safe and judgment free space for people to come and find help so they can live healthier, abundant lives,” Fitzhugh said.
If you or your family need help, reach out to Redeemed Life Counseling which is ready when you are!
Visit redeemedlifecounseling.com or call 940-222-8552.