The Road That Lead Me Here!

Hello, I am Vanessa and I would like to tell you a little about myself. My orientation is a unique blend of business, education and clinical experiences that has allowed me to create special processes, and techniques in my private practice to create meaningful change for my clients.

Right out of high school I went to a local community college to become a teacher, but because the field was over-saturated at that time I decided to be a dental assistant instead. I had always been fascinated with the field of dentistry.  I became a licensed and certified dental assistant and hygienist. I noticed that a lot of patients were often terrified of being in the dental chair and I spent a lot of time calming and relaxing these patients.  This lead me to become very interested in anxiety / fears and the field of psychology.

I later worked for the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR).  Today, unlike years ago I am thankful that clients are given the dignity of being referred to as mentally challenged.  Here I gained a lot of knowledge and insight about individuals and their challenges in life.  How clients were treated became vitally important to me after my experiences at DMR.  I was privileged to work with professionals who exhibited true compassion and caring for their clients. This was a time when state mental institutions were being shut down and for valid reasons. I helped transition clients from the institutions into residential community settings.  This was when I developed my own personal code of ethics to treat each and every client with dignity, respect and true compassion.

At this point in my career I was blessed and had two wonderful children. I discovered the joys and the challenges of motherhood and parenting.  I gained much more respect for parents and their difficulties and again learned valuable knowledge that I could apply to my field.

While I was raising two children I started and ran a Day Care Center from my home and several years later developed and managed a Dental and Medical Staffing business interviewing, staffing, and coordinating my business from my home. After my children were all old enough to be in school I  became a life/balance/career/business coach in the Amherst and Northampton areas. I had my own practice and also worked as a consultant for the Franklin County Community Development Corporation or FCCDC.  I worked with new entrepreneurs who had started businesses and with individuals who wanted to make career changes or start businesses of their own. I provided individual help, did trouble shooting for businesses to determine what wasn't working and why, devised plans for businesses to make changes and did training for business owners, executives and managers. 

Over a span of time I also worked at the Franklin / Hampshire Career Centers in Northampton and Greenfield and at the North Central Career Centers in Gardner and Leominster, MA. assisting individuals in their careers and or helping them transition to new careers.  I provided transitional help to individuals with their careers, business interests or through training to assist them in re-inventing their careers. I taught classes on Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills, Job Search Techniques, Creating A Career Portfolio, Transforming Your Career and held weekly workshops to motivate job seekers. In one position I served as The Disabilities Navigator placing person with disabilities into meaningful jobs and careers working closely with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commision For the Blind; and as a Case Manager screening and placing job searchers into training programs that provided the skills they needed to begin new careers and return to work.

I went back to undergrad college and majored in psychology and then on to grad school for my Masters in Education majoring in Counseling Psychology.  I began working in the field of psychology as a crisis counselor and in a respite program where clients could come to stay who felt unsafe to be alone, but yet did not need to be hospitalized.  Again, this experience provided me with great training, deep insight and valuable knowledge in the field of psychology.  After I received my Masters I went to work in a community mental health clinic working with chronically mentally ill clients.

I have also been an adjunct professor at Greenfield Community College teaching in my community for many years in the area of career development.  For a time I worked as a career specialist and counselor at a local high school testing students to determine their career interests and developing a program to place them into internships and work experiences in the community and coordinated the school's Career Fairs. I also taught a business class in the high school, and two afterschool business classes entitled "What An Employer Really Wants", and "Interviewing Skills" as well as working with alternative students to intergrate all of their academic subjects into a hands-on experiencial project of starting and running a business making and selling herbal products for one academic school year.  For this project I partnered with Verizon who graciously provided a grant to implement the business, and with the YES Program - the Youth Entrepreneurial Society who offered help teaching classes as well as their Employer Panel who offered wise and sage business advice to the students.

Once again I returned to grad school for a CAGS, a Certificate In Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling Psychology and did my graduate project on using hypnosis for pain management.  Since graduation I have met all of the requirements to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).

I have worked in this professional area utilizing my clinical skills in a community mental health clinic for fourteen years; and I remain currently employed at the clinic.  I now divide my time between the clinic and my private practice in Amherst, MA.  I also teach 7th PATH a Spiritual Meditation, Self-Hypnosis classes in the community and personal and professional development and growth seminars.

My passion is in working with individuals, groups and businesses to initiate personal and professonal development, growth and transformation using a varity of skills, processes and techniques such as coaching, transformation coaching, career development, hypnocoaching, hypnotherapy and counseling. My focus is to help individuals, groups and businesses to create meaningful change and empower others to be successful and meet their fullest potential !