Lynna Meadows said people often have the wrong idea about visiting a professional counselor.

“People think it’s lying on a couch while someone is in the room nodding and just taking notes. We don’t necessarily have to go back to discuss someone’s childhood. That’s a Freudian thing,” said the Fort Payne-based licensed professional counselor at Comprehensive Counseling Associates, LLC.

Clients come to her for help navigating personal issues including stress, depression, grief, employment, self esteem, empowerment, addiction, relationships and marriage counseling. Her specialties include children’s issues, teen and adult issues such as depression and military issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Personality disorders, employment issues, abuse, empowerment and LGBT issues are all within her field of expertise.

Meadows believes many issues can be treated in the short term rather than requiring years of complex, costly and ongoing therapy.

“Counseling is about empathy, and you really have to be born with a heart that cares to do this type of work,” she said. “I talk with patients and figure out what’s going on and what we can do to get them to a better place. If the problem is anxiety, I can walk you through different coping techniques.”

She said some of the stigma attached to seeking help for a mental health issue in the past is fading as society realizes that complex emotions are simply part of the normal human experience and everyone can benefit from talking to someone who can provide a unique perspective.

It means a lot for her to return to the area where she grew up and reconnect with a lot of old friends.

“This area means a whole lot to me. I was crowned the Northeast Alabama Potato Queen and Miss DeKalb County. Pageants launched me into being able to attend the University of Alabama. That was huge, at the time, for a girl from Collinsville. I didn’t know anybody from there or who’d been to school there. That experience changed my life,” she said, recalling how, at the age of 17, she relocated to Tuscaloosa and married a football player.

She studied general counseling and child development, then spent years moving up the corporate ladder while living in Montgomery. She has a background in substance abuse counseling and was the director of Bradford Health Services for three of those years before opening a private practice. She’s also lived in multiple other states.

“Populations are different wherever you go,” she said. “I discovered that people are friendly in other places, not just in the South. I’m learning a lot about the Hispanic population that has settled in our area. They are a very tight-knit community and do not frequently turn to someone outside of it for help.”

Once her children were grown, Meadows returned to graduate school at Alabama State University. She lived in Huntsville when she married her husband, Barry. She left her practice for a while after he suffered an aneurysm and stroke. They moved to Mentone, then returned to Montgomery and moved back for good in August to retire.

She was able to do telemedicine for several months from Mentone and found a greater need for her services in North Alabama than Montgomery. Comprehensive Counseling Associates, LLC.

has continued to grow since she opened it. As an LPC, she is able to supervise younger counselors looking for experience out of college with their master’s degrees. She said it’s “a long, hard road to become a counselor. There’s 3,000 hours of supervision and a national exam to pass. LPCs are very well educated by the time they leave college.”

She is involved with the American Counseling Association (ACA), where she works with counselors across the nation to help them thrive in their profession.

Meadows works with Employee Assistance Programs serving local industries, as well as Medicare patients. She has operated from Encore Medical Spa but gets many referrals from the Psychology Today website, seeing patients from 6 years old to 80, five days a week. Often, they speak to her through a secure connection via a desktop computer or mobile device.

To learn more about Comprehensive Counseling Associates, LLC, call (334) 610-3904 or visit https://lynnameadows.vpweb.com.

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