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Meet Shannon Wilson of Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Wilson.

Hi Shannon, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Plot twist – I am a mental health professional now, but my undergraduate degree was in engineering. After extremely rigorous coursework at Georgia Tech and working in engineering roles through internships and other experiences, I realized that my heart and purpose were tied to more people-focused roles. I took a career assessment, set up a few informational interviews, and did a LOT of praying and reflection. It took a few years to muster up the courage to apply to graduate school; as this was a complete career change for me. To my surprise and delight, I was accepted into my program of choice, which focused on multicultural counseling and social justice. Working full-time in Corporate America, attending school, and working clinical internships at night was tough, but I got through it. Today, I love working as a licensed mental health professional and clinical director at a large group practice.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road was challenging! Navigating the Maryland licensure process was tough. Since I graduated from a Virginia-based program, but lived in Maryland, I was not well-prepared for the nuances of the Maryland licensure process. There was a national test I had to pass first, which required months of intense studying. I took the exam one full year after graduating, so many details from the study guides required brushing up on.

Furthermore, the licensure process takes a long time. Gathering transcripts and recommendation letters, waiting for communication from the Board, working thousands of clinical hours, attending supervision sessions, etc. It was a journey. Then came the challenge of adjusting to working as an independent contractor for the first time, which meant having no healthcare benefits, living off of unpredictable income, and learning how to navigate quarterly taxes. The learning curve was steep. I am thankful to have made it through those years!

We’ve been impressed with Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
At Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative (CMHC), we envision healthier communities through authentic connections with self, others, and our natural world. I am a director, a fully licensed psychotherapist, and a clinical supervisor at CMHC. Our focus on integrating nature into the healing process sets our practice apart from others. CMHC is a leader in mental health training therapists from all over the country on nature-informed therapy practices. We are also known for fostering a strong sense of community for local clinicians by offering self-care events, professional development workshops, and opportunities for networking and fellowship.

After reading this article, I hope that readers feel welcomed and accepted in the mental health field, regardless of their background. Our services, which include but are not limited to,  counseling, self-care retreats, backpacking and hiking opportunities, and self-improvement workshops – are accessible to all. Please know you are welcome here! And if you are considering joining the field as a mental health professional, I would encourage you to follow your intuition.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
One of my favorite childhood memories is traveling the world with my family. My parents did an outstanding job of exposing us to people, places, and practices that were different from our own. It shaped who I am today.

Pricing:

  • We are an insurance friendly practice. We accept CareFirst/Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Johns Hopkins EHP.
  • For those who are uninsured, underinsured, or have insurance that we do not accept, we have an Affordable Counseling Program that offers counseling sessions at $30.00 (or less) per session.
  • We have a scholarship fund for our nature-informed public events. We do not want finances to be a barrier to access.

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