For nearly a decade, Colleen Kradel has been a clinical social worker, practicing mostly cognitive behavioral therapy in the Eastern Panhandle. For the past three years, her practice—be well / Betterment Counseling Services—has been conveniently located within The HUB (126 E. Burke St., Suite 4, Martinsburg), where she has seen her client list grow, mostly by word of mouth.
Recently certified as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator (CDWF), Kradel has the ability to work with her clients using renowned social worker/researcher Brené Brown’s curriculum on vulnerability and courage. Clients who use this curriculum open themselves up to learn about their barriers to living a full and whole-hearted life.
“Many of my clients are dealing with some type of anxiety—panic attacks, OCD, and more—and I provide individual counseling for them,” she noted. Kradel’s practice offers therapeutic services covering adult, adolescent, and family counseling, as well as areas of specialty that cover anxiety, depression, panic attacks, OCD, life transitions, troubled relationships, and self-esteem/self-worth. “I began as a school social worker, so I worked a lot with kids, but as my business has grown, I’ve been seeing more adults—especially with the anxiety piece.”
Because of that growth, Kradel has added group sessions, retreats, and intensives. In the group sessions, attendees run through much of the curriculum developed by Brown. It runs on Tuesdays and comprises eight weeks, and attendees aren’t required to be in therapy to take part.
And because she has been working more with adults, she began to look for a solution that circled back towards young people. Enter Ellie Johnson, who recently interned with Kradel for 22 weeks, and then came on board after receiving her master’s in social work and passing her licensure exam. “I’m filling in the kids part—ages 5-18 is typically my ideal age,” indicated Johnson, “but I also take on adults—thought I steer more towards younger people.”
Johnson will also be going into local schools soon via a partnership with Project Aware—a grant program designed to help state and local education agencies work with young people and families struggling with mental and behavioral health issues. She’s looking to do some partnership work with local DHHR as well. “We want to help people to understand that they matter, regardless of age,” she assured. “They’re important, and when they understand that, they feel safe, empowered, and validated. It helps them heal.”
Kradel sees Johnson as a perfect addition to the be well endeavor, and emphasizes that the goal of her practice is to meet the client where they are—helping them problem solve, and providing a safe place where they can tell their story in confidence, with no judgement.
“And if needed, we refer out to resources in the community,” she said. “We look at the whole picture of the person, to uncover the best solution. At the end of the day, it’s really about sitting with someone in their pain, holding space with them, and listening. I spend my days and weeks with people who are hurting—helping them work through it—and for that, I’m extremely grateful.”
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