Counseling & Mediation
Counseling and Family Mediation Services
The Sharevision team is committed to developing respectful and collaborative counseling relationships focused on bringing the best out in people. We have a can-do approach to problem solving and conflict resolution. We incorporate creativity, narrative, humor, role-playing, affirmations, meditation and mindfulness techniques, expressive arts, EMDR and other modalities.
Ellen M. Landis, Ph.D., LMFT, BC-DMT Dr. Landis is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is a Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Level II EMDR Practitioner with a doctorate in Expressive Arts Therapies.
Lisa D. Thompson, Ed.D. LICSW. Dr. Thompson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and is a Certified Mediator and Divorce Mediator with a doctorate in Social Justice Education.
The Sharevision Counseling Center currently has two offices, one conveniently located at 217 Russell St (Route 9) Hadley, Massachusetts and the other is conveniently located in downtown Amherst at 26 South Prospect Street, #10.
Family members interested in convening family meetings can contact us to facilitate. Any family member can initiate a family meeting and invite the involved parties to partake in a discussion. There are numerous reasons family members schedule regular family meetings. Parents may want to meet together to discuss co-parenting issues; a parent and child may need to meet to discuss developmental challenges from time to time; an adult child may want to meet with siblings to discuss elderly parent needs and to develop strategies to address them.
Important family matters deserve input from all members to maximize potential for positive outcomes. We encourage the use of the Sharevision group meeting format sharing air time equitably. Family members practice stating their needs and interests in an assertive way while others practice listening and responding reflectively.
For acute conflict resolution within a family, mediation style family meetings is an option. Our counselors are trained and experienced mediators. Family mediation generally begins with a public meeting where each person has an equal turn to talk to explain the situation from their point of view. Then each person has an opportunity to meet privately with the mediator to further clarify what they need in order to resolve the conflict. Finally, the family comes together to negotiate a resolution. Generally when people come together with the goal to resolve the conflict, have an opportunity to have their say and ask for what they want, and what they can offer. The trained mediator can help them build an agreement they can all live with.
Couples interested in investing in a successful long-term relationship can sign up for what we call "relationship check-ups." Partners can review, discuss and decide upon important family matters with a neutral third party. For couples to take the time to participate in a relationship check-up is just as important as getting an annual physical exam, regular oil changes or routine tune-ups for vehicles. Couples who engage in relationship check-ups are more able to proactively approach predictable issues that arise in the family life cycle. Some of the issues couples discuss include: building a healthy lifestyle together; communication and intimacy needs; coming to agreement on shared financial goals and income-making strategies; household management; family planning, child and parenting approaches; family of origin issues; and developing healthy stress management strategies.
Couples are encouraged to schedule three one and half hour sessions with one of our licensed counselors to do an initial assessment. By the third session, couples will be asked to articulate and then write down the agreed upon goals for their relationship. Examples of some of the goals couples have established include: learning how to communicate in ways that your partner can best understand you; moving past barriers to greater intimacy and closeness; showing appreciation and affection to one another; learning how to support and nurture one another as individuals; becoming good at sharing power and control; learning how to find ways for all family members contribute to the household.
Depending on how much time couples want to invest in working on their goals, they then contract for a number of sessions over an agreed upon time frame. Usually couples with up to three goals will schedule to meet with a family therapist every other week the first couple of months and then once a month for as long as needed, for a total of 8-12 sessions. Most insurance companies will cover family therapy sessions for couples even when one or both partners are in individual therapy.
Individual Counseling What to expect:
We suggest that people interested in developing a therapeutic relationship schedule three sessions for an initial assessment to discuss presenting issues, identify their aspirations and goals for therapy. This allows for a mutual evaluation to be sure there is a fit between what the client is looking for and what the therapist has to offer. During the third session, a contract and time-line is established for the number of sessions to work on the agreed upon goals.
Goals are measurable behavioral changes clients are seeking to make in their lives. Clients are guided to write down goals in their own words. Some examples include: to communicate better with my spouse, family, friends and colleagues; to be able to speak up and be assertive when I have something important to say; to find healthy ways to cope with stress, anxiety and/or depression; to develop a more balanced life which includes good sleep hygiene, healthy nutritional eating, sufficient exercise, play and relaxation. In one example, a client might set two or three goals and spend 12 sessions over 3-4 months to work on them. A mutual understanding of concrete goals and focus on desired outcomes provides both clients and therapist with helpful guideposts throughout the consultation period.
At the end of the agreed upon time-frame, the client reviews progress made on his/her goals to date. This also provides an opportunity to change their goals/focus and re-contract for more time if desired. Subsequently, people can seek therapeutic consultation on an intermittent or as-needed basis.