Empower Your relationships & Stop anxiety and depression – Experienced Atlanta Counselors
My journey in becoming a counselor was an unconventional route. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of West Georgia later in life. Driven by a strong desire to help people on a deeper level, I transitioned from years of working in a legal career to pursue a second career in counseling. I am currently pursuing a Master of Science in Counseling with a specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling—a dually certified program at Thomas University.
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. While considering a person’s mind, body, spirit, as well as the environment they live in, I also employ a holistic, relational-psychodynamic approach that will help us explore the origins of your challenges and how they manifest. We will collaborate to find strategies to achieve your goals, and I will use a variety of interventions and tools that are individualized for your needs. Therapy might seem daunting, but it shouldn’t deter you from seeking the support you desire. I am here to support you, and I believe it to be a privilege to offer support to individuals as they pursue personal development and healing.
I enjoy rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs, baking, reading, being outside in nice weather, creating art, traveling, and writing. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Delta, International Sociology Honor Society and Chi Sigma Iota, International Honor Society.
I work under the direct supervision of Mikela Hallmark, LPC, offering support to individuals that are seeking assistance in dealing with anxiety, depression, grief, burnout, life transitions, and other concerns. I am available for in-person and virtual appointments. I offer sliding scale fees for those who need might be experiencing financial need.
I’m Dr. Shannon Pugh, MA, PhD, CCTP. I am passionate about supporting people by connecting with their personal strengths to approach their struggles from a non-judgmental, accepting, and caring place. Together we can work to help you shift from depression, anxiety, fear, anger, trauma, and disconnection, to more mindfulness, self-compassion, peace, inner healing, connection, and true joy.
I earned both my Master’s degree in Counseling—with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy—and my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Liberty University and my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science/ Psychology from the U.S. Air Force Academy. I have also completed advanced graduate course work at Liberty Theological Seminary in Systematic Theology (I and II) and Hermeneutics. Additionally, I have received considerable education and training in the integration of psychology and counseling with theology, spirituality, and religion, and I am well-informed in the areas of religious faith traditions and cultural diversity. I would love to help you integrate your personal spiritual or religious values and worldview with your counseling goals based on your preferences.
I have extensive education and training, and supervised experience in individual psychotherapy and group therapy (for adults, adolescents, and children of all ages), couples work, pre-marital work, play therapy, sand tray therapy, and expressive arts therapy for children ages 2 years old and up. Under supervision, I previously taught Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) coping skills in a group format as well as within individual counseling sessions for clients of all ages. I offer a person-centered, cognitive-behavioral approach which values the uniqueness of the individual client and situation, and thus I integrate various other theoretical orientations and therapeutic interventions in a customized approach that respects and honors what each client brings to the session.
Others would describe me as warm, compassionate, and authentic in my style, and I am especially skilled at breaking through those tough barriers of resistance, fear of failure, and self-doubt that can be characteristic of so many children and teens (and even adults!) who oppose therapy at first. I am very flexible and adaptable in my ability to offer developmentally-appropriate, creative, (and fun!) therapeutic interventions for children, teens, and adults of all ages. I understand the importance of providing a safe, inviting, comfortable space for effective therapy and developing a strong bond with each client, and I believe in collaborating with my clients to help them reach their personal goals in therapy and to cultivate a sense of empowerment and self-confidence along the way.
My professional experience includes work at a Children’s Bereavement Center, Family Violence Prevention Service, long-term residential addictions treatment, and private practice settings. Because I am committed to ethical practice and to providing the highest quality counseling services for my clients, I am an avid researcher and regularly attend continuing education trainings to maintain competence in the latest evidence-based treatment modalities, therapies, and interventions which I skillfully integrate within my highly customized approach for treating clients based on their unique needs in therapy.
COUNSELING SERVICES OFFERED:
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Person-Centered Therapy (Rogerian)
Family Systems Therapy
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotional Freedom Techniques
Expressive Arts/ Creative Arts Therapy
Play Therapy (ages 2+)
Sand Tray Therapy (ages 2+)
Integration of an individual’s personal religious/spiritual beliefs and faith traditions within therapy
COMMONLY TREATED CONCERNS:
Trauma, Complex Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Postpartum Depression/ Postpartum Anxiety
“Sandwich” generation caring for elderly parents
Veterans’ concerns (deployment of family member, transitioning from military to civilian life, service-related disabilities)
Pre-marital and marital counseling
Recovery from extramarital affairs and other marital concerns
Issues of Grief and Loss (of a loved one, a pet, a job, a marriage; suffering a physical disability/ major injury or surgery/ debilitating disease)
Complicated Grief (suffering multiple losses)
Anticipatory Grief (discovering that someone or something dear to you will soon be lost, such as a loved one entering Hospice care)
Disenfranchised Grief (grief over a relationship that can’t be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned, or publicly mourned)
Low self-worth/ worthlessness
Shame and guilt
Suicidality and self-harming behaviors
Life transitions (adjusting to divorce or separation, an “empty nest”, a new baby, a new job, going back to school, going back to work after staying at home or a period of unemployment)
Spiritual and religious concerns
Emotional &behavioral problems in children &adolescents
Poor performance or other problems at school
ADHD & Spectrum Disorders
• PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision from Liberty University
• Master’s degree in Counseling, with a specialization in Marriage & Family Therapy, from Liberty University
As an Atlanta counselor, I believe we all deserve and can benefit from therapeutic support to help navigate the challenges of life. If you have experienced, or are currently experiencing, difficult or painful life experiences, including anger, anxiety, career issues, depression, low self-esteem, relationship issues, substance use issues, trauma, unhealthy behaviors, or other life transitions – You do not have to do it alone! You and I can look at our Atlanta counseling services and create a therapeutic partnership and plan that is tailored specifically to you, for you and with you. I am only seeing clients virtually at this time.
I work with clients of all ages, from children to adults, and specialize in anxiety, relationships, and trauma, having advanced training in each of these areas. I have a humanistic orientation and most closely adhere to a client-centered approach which means the focus is put on the client, not the therapist, as key to the healing process. When working with children I typically use child-centered play therapy as toys are children’s words and play is their language. For adolescents/teens, I utilize talk therapy combined with activities (games, art, music) that allow them to get creative and express themselves. In all cases, the safety of the relationship is the foundation of the therapeutic alliance I create with my clients.
Being an Atlanta Counselor is my second career after having a successful career in Human Resources Leadership. I believe my decades of experience in a high-profile and demanding career puts me in a unique position to offer my clients the extra benefit of a therapist with first-hand experience of the struggle it can be to balance professional and personal life, to navigate the pressures of a high-powered career, and to avoid burnout.
As for my background, I earned a Bachelor of General Studies in Communication, Management and Psychology at the University of Michigan- Dearborn and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the School for Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Atlanta. Additionally, I earned the designation of National Certified Counselor (NCC) by the National Board of Certified Counselors. I am also trained as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCH). My advance training includes: Gottman Method (Level 2) which assists me in my work with couples, Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (ERP) which is the gold standard treatment for Anxiety and OCD, Play Therapy which I utilize with children, and I am currently working towards a post-master’s certificate in Trauma Stress Studies from The Trauma Research Foundation. I am a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Association for Play Therapy (A4PT), and the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia (LPCGA). Lastly, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) .
My commitment is to treat you, as my client, with great care, to be both a safe haven where fears and challenges can be discussed and a therapeutic partner that helps clarify goals, challenges and supports you in your growth and healing and in recovering the balance, connection, joy, and success you desire. I am offering virtual sessions only at this time.
Remember, you do not have to do this alone! Please reach out…
Mikela Hallmark, MS, LPC – Founder
It is my joy to serve this community. I tend to see a lot of high achievers who set unrealistic and demanding expectations of themselves. While they long to reach their personal goals, they find themselves experiencing anxiety, depression, or relationship issues. My clients would describe me as someone who works with them to release judgment and care for themselves while pursuing their passions.
In terms of experience, I worked in business before becoming a counselor, and that helps me connect with some of my clients who might achieve in this area. And, I’ve been a counselor for around eleven years. I’ve received some training in Motivational Interviewing, CBT, DBT, ERP for anxiety and OCD, EFT for couples, treating affairs for couples, attachment based trauma treatment, treating depression and anxiety, and more. I am also trained in Gottman Method (Level 3) which is for couples therapy, and EMDR which is an incredible trauma treatment. I’m a licensed professional counselor in Georgia, and a licensed mental health counselor in Florida.
I am passionate about avoiding judgment, exploring practical solutions, and helping you explore feelings and some of the more complicated things in life that don’t necessarily have easy solutions (which can seem like an impractical approach for some of my high achievers.) But that’s okay, we work with it all.