By Susan Elise Campbell
With Grace Mental Health Counseling PLLC has been growing and operating at capacity at their Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park locations since 2018. The business recently opened a third location in Queensbury, increasing access to quality mental health care in the North Country.
“We consistently heard feedback that the community in and around Queensbury would benefit from more providers to support the expansion of the area,” said Nicole Edwards, LMHC, who is co-founder and co-owner with Diane Webb, LMHC.
Edwards specializes in couples and family counseling and Webb in trauma, “which is why we are well-matched. We do different things and have a well-rounded staff of therapists,” she said.
All three locations are purposefully located close to clinics, and the Queensbury location at Fowler Square is across the street from Adirondack Community College.
“We are easy to find at 719 Bay Road,” she said. “Students can walk over to Suite 2101 and receive services.”
When Edwards and Webb were solo practitioners, they had waiting lists a year and a half long, according to Edwards. Joining forces allowed them to open a large practice and hire more therapists.
They want to help remove the stigma attached to people seeking mental health services.
“It doesn’t work to create shame around mental health services,” she said. “It means people haven’t been getting needed treatment. Counseling is a necessary part of life, and fortunately the shame associated with it is now diminishing,” Edwards said.
The pandemic, isolation and the societal changes that have driven many to counseling, according to Edwards.
“The unique pressures of our time create significant stress that may make us susceptible to anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges,” she said. “COVID put a spotlight on couples, leading to separations among many adults because there was nowhere to hide. In other relationships, fewer face-to-face interactions and remote conversations often led to lack of depth and fulfillment in those relationships.”
“For our young people, it is particularly hard to be a teen today because of isolation,” she said. “And social media is causing them to make unhealthy comparisons with one another as teens try to put their best face forward. Also for children, the lack of structure and isolation caused by the pandemic in such formative years is something that we are still seeing families working through.”
COVID also forced the entire practice to be “more flexible and adaptable,” and Edwards said they “had to turn the business from full-time in person to completely virtual overnight.”
“Thanks to secure online platforms, we are able to continue to provide traditional in-person therapy while offering cutting edge on-line therapy for those that benefit from that modality,” she said.
Edwards and Webb oversee and split their time among all three locations. There have been four new hires in Queensbury, three relocated from other offices. The space could accommodate as many as 10 professional staff.
A second goal when designing the Queensbury space was to create “a healthy workplace environment that promotes work/life balance.” Edwards said With Grace is a practice “where therapists can put their families first, so our focus is on putting staff first while supporting them in their growth and passions in the field.”
The partners thus encourage the counsellors to select a specialty, choose the amount of time they want to work, and “essentially build their own salary. Therapists today really are overworked and underpaid,” she said. “We are putting a lot of energy into creating a stress-free, supportive and positive environment.”
“We believe that investing in our employees will lead to the best possible treatment for clients,” Edwards said.
The partners chose a suite that allowed new construction so that they could design it for the needs of their business and their patients, such as soundproofing. Edwards said it is “set up more like a spa than a clinic,” which helps the practice “stand out. This gives patients a more profound sense of a place for healing and where they can feel their worth when they enter our space.”
The scope of professional services at With Grace Mental Health Counseling includes couples therapy, family therapy, trauma, teen specialties, maternal mental health, grief and bereavement, addiction, co-parenting, and more for the unique needs of clients.
Edwards said that everything she does is driven by her faith, which is why she and Webb named their business “With Grace.”
“The meaning of that word, Grace, is what we work very hard to extend and to teach,” she said. “We are all mental health counselors from different faiths and backgrounds.”
Learn more about the locations and services that With Grace Mental Health Counseling, PLLC has to offer at the website www.withgracemhc.com.