Melissa Fogarty, of Soul’Speak Counseling, has been providing counseling service on the Key Peninsula since 2008. Courtesy photo

Melissa Fogarty, owner of Soul’Speak Counseling, has been providing counseling services to the Key Peninsula since 2008.

Fogarty has a bachelor’s degree in psychotherapy, a master’s degree in health and wellness counseling and is a licensed mental health counselor in Washington. She has 20 years experience as a counselor.

She moved to the Peninsula in 2005 and currently lives in Minter Beach.

Fogarty offers individual therapy to adults who are dealing with such issues as depression, anxiety, grief, relationship problems or women’s hormonal issues.

Through the Tacoma-Pierce County Health department, she also provides maternity support services including home visits for low-income expectant mothers.

For clients whose children need counseling or those who are looking for couples counseling, she makes referrals to other therapists in the area.

“There are more than 400 different types of psychotherapies,” Fogarty said in a recent interview. “Studies have shown that the relationship an individual has with their therapist is one of the most significant factors in success, regardless of what method is used.”

In her practice, Fogarty uses Cognitive-Behavioral, Insight Oriented and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction methods.

Cognitive-Behavioral therapies are based on the idea that a person’s thoughts have an impact on their moods and, therefore, their behavior.

“It teaches you to identify your negative thoughts and ideas –– such as fault-finding or an ‘all or nothing’ attitude –– and you learn to challenge that inner voice and replace the negative thoughts with more positive ones,” Fogarty explained.

“It’s really just a reminder of what we already know but have forgotten. If you practice thinking positive thoughts you can build momentum and build confidence and accept more responsibility for yourself.”

Fogarty also talks a lot with her clients about stress management. The holiday season can be especially stressful, she said. “Things can be fun and happy, but we often take on too many unrealistic burdens and expectations.

“I suggest that my clients do more self-care: get enough rest. Give yourself permission to say ‘no’. Be willing to forgive yourself and others. Do some deep breathing,” she said. “When you breathe really deeply, you send more oxygen to your brain and that helps you think more clearly. That’s also part of relaxation therapy.”

Insight-oriented therapy focuses on identifying past experiences and events and drawing connections between them and what’s currently going on in a person’s life, she said.

“You explore how the past influences present feelings and behavior, and you can start to recognize patterns and become aware that you actually have more choices than you might realize.

“The goal is to increase self-awareness and understanding and know that you really do have the freedom to change,” she said.

Fogarty’s fees are based on a sliding scale, depending on her clients’ income. She has flexible hours –– including evening appointments –– and accepts a variety of insurance.

Her Soul’Speak Counseling office is located in the Key Peninsula Health & Professional Center.

For information, call (253) 514-5422.

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