To get the most benefit from counseling, it's essential you feel safe, at ease, and have confidence in your counselor. In fact, a recent review covering 20 years of research studies found there's one factor that accounts for over 70% of how helpful counseling is for clients. That one thing is the overall quality of your relationship with your counselor.
Clearly, counseling is not a "one size fits all" kind of arrangement... and assuring that you and your counselor are a good match is critically important. But, that isn't something you can really know from a website. That's why I offer a free initial consultation at Asheville Marriage Counseling and strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of it. Meeting for a consultation gives you a chance to get a feel for who I am - and how I work as a counselor - without needing to make a commitment or invest any money.
But as a general background for you here, I've been a counselor consistently for 40 years. (Whew... that's hard to believe, but true.) And so, I now do look like the stereotypical grey bearded therapist! And like most counselors and mental health professionals, I've worn several different hats throughout my career.
My first experience counseling occurred while I was earning my undergraduate degree in psychology... at a free clinic I'd actually turned to for help as a broken hearted teenager a few years earlier. After being trained, I was a volunteer counselor for them working with teens who'd been arrested for minor crimes.
Over the next couple decades I worked in a variety of public and private programs, including psychiatric hospitals, group homes, therapeutic boarding schools, suicide lines, and parent coaching programs... amongst others.
I came back to North Carolina in 1986 after completing my graduate degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling and spent the next 8 years working for the local mental health center in Hendersonville. (Yes, NC used to actually have a public mental health system!)
In 1992 I started building a private practice in Asheville. Initially I formed a practice with a colleague that we called "Man Alive", because it focused on serving men. After a couple years my partner decided his true calling was elsewhere and we closed Man Alive; although I continued conducting men's groups for several more years.
Over the next 15 years my practice (Bullock Counseling and Consultation) was divided between seeing clients in my Asheville office and also adolescent clients in a few nearby therapeutic boarding schools. At one point the boarding schools' needs nearly absorbed my whole practice. But, then the recession hit and many therapeutic schools, including those I worked with, closed their doors.
After 35 years of counseling - and figuring I was probably facing the last phase of my career - I decided to invest it in the area of counseling I've always found the most fascinating and most rewarding... helping couples to have strong, mutually supportive, and enriching relationships. So, Bullock Counseling and Consultation transitioned into Asheville Marriage Counseling and since 2008 marriage and couple's counseling has been the primary focus of my counseling activities.