Care and Counseling is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to providing a safe, secure and affordable way for individuals and families to seek psychological help in times of need.
Laura Albers is a Licensed Professional Counselor, practicing with Care and Counseling at their St. Charles satellite office and a recently opened second office in O'Fallon.
Laura was born in Cape Giradeau, MO and attended Missouri State University in Springfield to earn her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology.
She moved to St. Louis in 2006 and currently resides in St. Charles County. For nearly 10 years, she's provided counseling in a variety of settings including a children's residential facility, substance abuse treatment center and a county jail. Most recently, she was a Clinical Therapist and then the Clinical Director at Edgewood Children's Center in Webster Groves. Additionally, she enjoys teaching and previously taught Applied Psychology at Hickey College.
Her new office is located in O'Fallon at 835 West Terra Lane inside Lighthouse Pentecostal Church. O’Fallon Patch talked with Laura about her experience, new office and advice for holiday stress.
Patch: What made you decide to go into counseling?
Albers: Since I was in the seventh grade, I can remember wanting to be a therapist. My father is a retired counselor and superintendent, and I have fond memories of him talking about how much he loved what he did. I have always had an intense passion for helping people through difficult times, much like my father did. I truly enjoy providing the support to those in need, struggling because of difficult childhoods or current life circumstances.
Patch: When is Care and Counseling open?
Albers: I have two office locations to best serve children, adults and families in St. Charles County. One is in St. Charles, located inside Trinity Episcopal Church (318 S. Duchesne, next door to Lindenwood University). The new location I am pleased to announce is at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church, located at 835 West Terra Lane in O'Fallon (right off I-70, between Bryan Road and Highway K). I currently offer flexible daytime and evening hours at both locations, and am at the O'Fallon location on Mondays and Thursdays and in St. Charles on Tuesdays. While there is some flexibility in my scheduling, the general hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Patch: Why did you set up a new office in O'Fallon?
Albers: So many of the clients that have come to see me at my office in St. Charles were coming from areas further West, such as O’Fallon, Wentzville, Defiance and Troy. It became apparent through marketing efforts, that mental health counseling services in O’Fallon was a real need. One of the resident therapist’s sons is the pastor at Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in O’Fallon and graciously offered office space to provide convenient, comfortable and confidential counseling space.
Patch: What type of therapy do you specialize in?
Albers: I specialize in working with individuals suffering from the effects of trauma (e.g., physical and sexual abuse, out of home placement, divorce, death of a loved one, adoption, bullying, etc). My expertise is working with children and adolescents; however, I also enjoy working with adults. I frequently work with individuals with depression and anxiety, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, job loss, fertility issues and difficulties managing the stress in their lives.
Patch: Who would you encourage to come see you?
Albers: I would encourage adults suffering from the effects of depression and anxiety and are looking to help manage their symptoms and live a more satisfying, fulfilling life. I would also encourage parents to come and see me if they feel their child is struggling with past traumas, difficulties in school, resistance to rules at home, depression and anxiety.
Patch: What insurance do you accept?
Albers: I currently accept Value Options and MHN. I have applied for and hope to also be an in network provider with Magellan, Aetna, and Medicaid acceptance in the very near future. I am currently applying to Blue Cross and Blue Shield and United HealthCare, and hope to be accepted in those insurances in the next couple of months. I offer a sliding scale fee based on income for those in need to make counseling affordable.
Patch: What advice do you have for people who are struggling, but aren't sure if counseling is right for them?
Albers: I understand and respect that deciding to go and see a therapist is such a huge step for most people; one that might feel scary. Often, people suffer so long in silence when a big part of the answer and the healing to finding a therapist to talk to and work towards healing together. Counseling is so much about finding the right fit and connection. I would encourage anyone suffering with depression or anxiety or otherwise feeling their life is not quite what they hoped it would be, to give me a call and we will determine together a plan to feeling better and more fulfilled.
Patch: The holidays can be a very stressful time, what advice do you have for people who are struggling at this time of year?
Albers: The holidays, while generally seen as a positive time by most people, can invoke feelings of stress, frustration and sadness in many others, particularly when there has been the death of a loved one during this time, the anniversary of the death or birthday or other special occasion of a loved one during the holidays, or when you feel your family is not as supportive during these family oriented holidays. Just recognizing that these feelings are a normal part of grieving can help the healing process. Some advice I would give is to recognize if you are feeling particularly depressed, anxious, or short with others during this time of year and looking at where this could be coming from; this is an area to discuss with your therapist. Being aware of these feelings and finding someone to talk to about them (whether it be your therapist, a family member, or trusted friend) is key. Journaling and exercise are also ways of taking care of yourself to prevent these difficult feelings from being completely overwhelming.
Patch: Is there anything else you want the O'Fallon community to know about your practice?
Albers: Come and see me if you are in need of non-judgmental support and understanding in helping you reach a more satisfying life. With flexible scheduling, insurance and sliding scales offered, it is easier than ever to get the help you want and deserve.