About Us

Learn About Us and How We Can Help. *Currently offering Online Sessions*

You spend your time wondering if you’ll always feel this dissatisfied.

Or if you’re ever going to feel like you have everything you want to show for yourself, like a healthy relationship, successful job, and good friends. I’ve heard stories of like this so many times in my Atlanta counseling office. And we’re here to support you! We’re currently offering online sessions.

You’ve always trusted the key to success was hard work. And if something wasn’t quite turning out the way you thought it should, you knew that if you just put some extra time and effort into it, the situation would always work out. Sure, there are certain circumstances that are beyond your control, but you really believed that good intentions and heavy lifting could accomplish almost anything. Or so you thought…

To an outsider looking in, it seems like you should be happy. You have everything you need and you’re good at what you do. But on the inside, you know something’s missing.

When you look at yourself today, you feel like you’ve come to an anxious and vulnerable place. Your life is moving forward, and new things are happening. But they are extremely hard to celebrate or be proud of when you feel so distant from those around you. On your worst days, you fear you’re never going to feel complete because there is no one in your life that you’ve connected enough with to help you celebrate your wins. You’ve kept people at a distance.

Well, we’re here to tell you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You are not destined to live an isolated life. You are completely capable of having personal and professional success while forging lasting bonds with the loved ones in your life who matter.


There are a few things I’m certain about. Feeling satisfied and fulfilled is possible at any age and at any stage of life. I’ve had so much joy in helping people walk towards purpose, fulfillment and connection, and have gotten pretty busy in my practice. For this reason, I’ve had the opportunity to bring on counselors who share my same passions including helping people connect in relationships, releasing judgment and shame while pursuing excellence, and healing from trauma anxiety and depression.

Sometimes the pressure to succeed or look like you have it all together makes you feel so awkward and inadequate that it is easier – and less painful – to pay attention to the outside world. Like focusing on the tasks it takes to earn external recognition rather than the way constant striving makes you feel on the inside. When this happens, it is as if you give up what matters to you personally for the sake of validation from others.

This doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to love and enjoy yourself and who you truly are. It simply means you have work to do in order to stop judging yourself against other’s expectations. And to also give up the unrealistic expectations you’ve set for yourself.

Often, when you grow up in a family that places such a strong emphasis on achievement, you can start to value results over relationships. Soon, you’re left with an enormous amount of success but no one to share your incredible accomplishments with, no one to help you feel truly successful. On the journey to success, you’re left alone carrying the stress and anxiety of it all.

And, the truth is, you can set all the standards and surpass all the limits, but without people to celebrate with and to cheer you on, you can start to wonder if you’re ever going to be good enough. If you’re ever going to be loveable.

Even though you grew up thinking that the way to earn love was to be the best, you do not have to keep proving yourself over and over to find people who will care about you. You can learn to validate yourself so that you can truly connect with others.

Too often, you set lofty goals to test yourself and to see if you can achieve the results that make you worthy of love from others. You push yourself to succeed regardless of the cost and you start to sacrifice the relationships you have built so that you can continue to earn recognition.

But, sooner or later you realize that recognition is not the same as love. You feel disconnected from those who are important to you and unable to participate in or meet the needs of a normal relationship. You judge yourself for not being able to make the one thing you want out of life a reality.

Eventually, your disconnection destroys your confidence and you’re left believing you’re incapable of having loving, long-lasting relationships in your life. Read more about our Atlanta counselors below. 

I’m Vonda Davis, counseling intern at Rise Counseling. With counseling being my second career, I enjoy working with people who are experiencing stress related to adjustment in work, in relationships, or just struggling to manage anxiousness. My clients would describe me as someone who helps them feel really comfortable. Interms of therapy, I implement evidence-based methods of treatment, including Person-Centered Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, with a focus on each individual. I have additional training in working with grief as well working with fears, blocks, and resistance to shifting behaviors. I am committed to building a therapeutic alliance by fostering an empathetic environment where you can truly be yourself. I also employ a holistic, relational-psychodynamic approach that will help us explore the origins of your challenges and how they manifest. I offer sliding scale fees for those who may be experiencing financial need.
Read More About Me

I’m Karen Michael, MA, LPC, NCC. I’m an Atlanta counselor who believes we all deserve and can benefit from therapeutic support to help navigate the challenges of life. I view each client as a unique and special individual who has the capacity for growth and healing. I use a client-centered approach for counseling in which I create a safe and comfortable environment, holding each client in unconditional positive regard. I believe that each and every one of us is capable of the balance, connection, joy and success we desire in life. I am only seeing clients virtually at this time. Read More About Me

Here’s where our Atlanta counseling office comes in:

We help people stop judging themselves. It is our job to help counseling clients explore how situations in their pasts have impacted their lives in the present.

With Mikela Hallmark’s training (Gottman Method Level 3, EMDR, DBT, CBT, MI, Reality Therapy, and more) and counseling expertise (Years in outpatient, residential, and private practice counseling as well as experience as Clinical Director of treatment programs and history of working in business previously), she helps individuals explore the assumptions they hold that actually make their lives more difficult so they can move forward in their lives and have healthy relationships with themselves and others. ‘

And, the team’s expertise and training are just as great. Karen is trained in couples therapy (Gottman Method Level 2), hypnotherapy, and has experience supporting people who are suffering with mental health issues including anxiety and depression, people in life transitions, and more. Ashley has eperience in working with disordered eating, and more. The list goes on.  Read More Here.

When you participate in counseling:

Our mission is to give you permission to feel so you can heal. We believe effective therapy helps you get in touch with the emotions that are preventing you from living your happiest life. Our passion is helping people love themselves and others without judgment, so they can begin to seek and find love with others.

Our Atlanta counseling office is the place for people who want to break free from constantly having to achieve external validation and learn to rely on themselves and their personal relationships for the respect and love they need. You can still set goals for yourself – and achieve them. But instead of setting unrealistic expectations, and holding yourself to perfection, you can learn to let go and live a meaningful and connected life while pursuing your passions. Learn more about individual counseling here.

This counseling practice also helps you learn about communication and love. Perhaps you are in a new or long-term relationship and you’re starting to notice how unhappy you are. There is pain in your relationship you never thought you’d experience and both you and your partner have hurt each other in ways you didn’t expect. You can’t help but feel like you’re going through the motions rather than really enjoying your relationship and you wonder if you’re still together because it is easier than separating. You want to do what it takes to truly enjoy each other, but you just don’t know the first place to start. That’s ok. Through our Couple’s Counseling sessions, you and your partner will learn to move towards each other and connect rather than moving away. Click here to learn more about Atlanta couples counseling.

Or maybe you’ve experienced a horrifying trauma in your life. You’re looking for the best ways to move past the negative events that have happened to you, but you can’t seem to process the heavy emotions that come from your experiences. When we work together for EMDR Trauma Counseling, we will reduce the impact your memories have over your life and help you take back your personal power. Click here to learn more about Atlanta EMDR therapy.

Sometimes clients are looking for counseling from a Christian point of view. God is an important part of your life and you want to make sure He is present in your treatment and your healing. Your life has gotten extremely busy and stressful and these changes have caused your priorities to slip. You’re experiencing anxiety and guilt about the way you’re currently living and the impact of your lifestyle on your relationships. Together, in Christian Counseling sessions we will explore the ways God is present in your current circumstances and find ways to connect with him throughout your healing process. Click here to learn more about Atlanta Counseling From a Christian perspective.

Wondering about our prices? Karen Michael’s fees are $175 per 50 minute session. Mikela Hallmark’s fees are $200 per session. Shannon Pugh’s fee is $250 per session. Vonda Davis’ fee is $70. To read more about our Privacy Policies, HIPAA and the No Surprises Act, click here. Ultimately, life is about accepting the fact that you’re never going to please everybody, admitting you’re human, and finding someone to share your life with even on the days you don’t succeed.

You’re ready for the connection that comes from completely being yourself with someone else. It is entirely possible to have a thriving life, achieve your goals, and maintain happy, healthy relationships with others.