Therapist focusses on services for women
Ashley Schofield-McEachern was a public health nurse for 10 years, working with moms, babies and young families, which sparked an interest in returning to school to learn about psychotherapy.
In her work she experienced a disconnect between physical and mental wellness.
“Mental health was the golden thread that weaved through all the components,” she said.
That insight motivated her to launch Whispering Pines Counselling and Wellness, offering therapy for women at a new in-person location in Creemore, in addition to online appointments.
Schofield-McEachern says women’s issues could include stress and anxiety, job burnout, life transitions, chronic illness, depression and low mood, confidence and self esteem, relationship issues, life balance, prenatal and postpartum changes, and personal growth.
“The thought of seeking therapy may seem scary but all of us need help at certain points,” she said. There are many factors and stressors that may motivate a woman to seek therapy, says Schofield-McEachern. “It could be about noticing patterns that have presented since childhood,” she said, “or feeling really stuck and just not happy.”
Schofield-McEachern said her role is to help people learn more about themselves, make space to get curious, and challenge thoughts.
She opened the office in Creemore to provide that alternative space for women who may want to get out of the house and dedicate some time to their mental health in a non-judgemental, supportive atmosphere. Whispering Pines’ homeyness, with its comfy chairs, soft lighting and electric fireplace, make it feel more like a living room than a clinic.
Schofield-McEachern says a therapist draws on their inner wisdom to help identify patterns and behaviours, offering strategies not advice.
The intake process often begins with a free 15-minute phone consultation so a prospective client can ask questions, hear her voice and learn a little bit about the process. Schofield-McEachern says usually people also ask about fees and insurance during the initial meet and greet.
“People may have been thinking about therapy for years,” she said, so the objective with a new client is to get the wheels turning while building a rapport. She continues with a 60-minute session to build momentum.
She may ask clients to imagine their lives one year down the road as a way of setting goals for improvement, and says people typically notice some changes after four or five sessions.
Schofield-McEachern also offers walk-and-talks during all seasons, which work really well for some people.
“A lot of people are finding fatigue in the virtual world,” she said.
When they get out in nature, people tend to feel less intimidated and move their bodies more, making for more free-flowing conversation.
“I know that some of the best conversations I’ve had with family and friends have been while out walking,” said Schofield-McEachern, adding that people tend to open up when they are outside, breathing a bit more deeply, and are not forced to make eye contact.
Whispering Pines is also offering women’s groups, workshops and a book club in a non therapeutic context at the new location, 3 Caroline St. W.
For information about appointments and rates, visit counselling-wellness.ca.