All Transformation All The Time!

How do I get an appointment?

For information or referral, please call 850-432-7820 or email to: carolhicks@bellsouth.net Tim Goudy is my office manager and may answer this telephone. He can take your insurance information, call for authorization and eligibility, and give you an appointment time. It is also a confidential voicemail and you can leave a message and one of us will get back to you as soon as we can.

Where are you located?

The consulting office is located in my home in the residential East Hill area of Pensacola at 1821 Escambia Avenue. It is a light tan brick ranch style house on the northwest corner of East Avery Street and Escambia Avenue. There is an ancient Oak tree on the corner and a silver Airstream trailer on the C driveway between Avery and Escambia. There are three spaces to park on the driveway and adjacent parking pad off of Escambia. Parking on the street is also fine if these spaces happen to be filled when you arrive. Even though my consulting office is in my home, there is no need to ring the doorbell. If you have an appointment with me, please go right in and have a seat in the waiting room. I will probably be in session. Just make yourself ‘at home’ and I will be with you shortly. Click here to take the ‘Virtual Wellness’ photo tour to and through The Institute.

Virtual Wellness

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Driving Directions to 1821 Escambia Avenue:

From Interstate 110, South to Exit 3 Maxwell/Jordan. Left on Jordan to Escambia Avenue. Right on Escambia and go three blocks just past Lakeview Street to 1821 on the right just before Avery Street.

From Airport, Left on 12th Avenue coming out of the Airport and stay on 12th through the intersection at Bayou Blvd and as it curves to merge with Fairfield. Turn left at that light to stay on 12th Avenue as it goes through the famous ‘tree tunnel’ until Cross Street. Take a left at Cross to Escambia Avenue. Right on Escambia and go six blocks just past Lakeview Avenue to 1821 on the right just before Avery Street.

From Gulf Breeze, Take 98 across 3 mile bridge to light at 17th Avenue and turn right. Go under the train trellis and up to and through the Cervantes Street intersection. Continue north on 17th Ave. for eight blocks to Avery Street. Right on Avery for four blocks to its end at Escambia Avenue. Turn left and park on the driveways and adjacent parking pad.

From Milton, Take I-10 or Highway 90 to Scenic Highway and go South on Scenic until it curves into and becomes Cervantes Street. Continue on Cervantes as it crosses Bayou Texar and take the first right after the bridge at 19th Avenue. Go North on 19th for eight blocks to Avery Street and turn right. Go two blocks on Avery until it ends at Escambia. Turn left and park on the front driveways there at the Institute on the corner.

From NAS, Take Navy Blvd. (295) north to Barrancus Avenue (292) and turn Right. Stay on Barrancas for 2.9 miles. Turn R onto W.Main Street and follow W. Main (which becomes Bayfront Parkway) for 2.9 miles. Turn L at the traffic light near the foot of the Pensacola Bay Bridge onto 17th Avenue which will take you under the railroad trestle. Go 1.2 miles up 17th Avenue to E.Avery Street. Turn R on Avery and go 4 blocks to Escambia Avenue (Avery ends here) and turn L. Take an immediate left to park on the drive at 1821 Escambia Avenue right there on that corner.

How much does it cost?

If you are seen on a private pay basis, the fee is $100 per 50 minute session at the first appointment. Sliding scale fee reductions can be arranged when need be for ongoing sessions. I am a provider with many insurance companies and EAP programs. Almost all policies require approval and/or authorization before the first session so if you want to use health insurance, it is imperative for us to obtain necessary plan information before your first visit so that we can contact your insurance company to verify benefits and obtain that approval. If everything works, then we will file claims with your company and your cost is the designated copay amount unless unmet deductibles apply. You can call the member services number yourself and request authorization to see me and learn what that copay will be. Insurance panels I participate on include: Tricare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Aetna, United Behavioral Health, United Health Care, Value Options, Psych Care, Magellan, GHE, Military One Source, and Medicaid if the member is enrolled for mental health coverage in Access Behavioral Health (ABH) through Lakeview. I can not accept Medicare. Acceptable methods of payment are check, cash, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express.

How long have you been in practice?

I have been providing mental health counseling services for over 35 years and have been in private practice in Pensacola since 1980. I had my counseling practice at The Avery Center for four years until it closed September 1, 2006. I started The Wellness Institute then and conduct individual counseling, marriage therapy, and wellness work from this location. I encourage you to go to the ‘Wellness Institute-Without Walls’ links section (WI-WOW) on this website for a complete listing of my various associates offering body work, yoga classes, biofeedback, acupuncture, psychiatric consults, etc.

If it’s marriage therapy, do couples have to come in together?

No. Couples do not have to come in together but probably half the couples I see come in together for the first appointment. There are often reasons to have individual appointments after that with both parties while meeting together thereafter as much as possible. However, the other half of couples enter treatment with one or the other coming in alone to give me their perspective. If that is the case, and the other person is also willing to come in, I offer them an individual appointment as well and then eventually see them together as much as possible. I schedule weekly appointments for the couple and they are free to decide and either both come or elect whichever representative of them is available for and/or most needs the appointment. And I don’t need to know ahead of time which way they decide to use their session.

Are children allowed and do you treat children?

I treat families with children and sometimes see children in individual appointments for specific concerns brought by the parents or voiced by the child. When necessary, occasionally adults will bring a young child or infant with them to their adult focused session and while it is possible to proceed in this manner, it is far better if at all possible to arrange child care so that you are free to give your therapy goals your full attention. The cuter the child, the more they take up all the available energy in the room and the session deteriorates to child management and attention is diverted from the purpose in coming. However, well behaved children are always welcome to wait in the front room and read or watch videos while the parent is in session.

What happens in the sessions?

Every session is different and unpredictable except for the fact that they typically take place in the private consulting room and couples either talk together with me or I sit in dyad with an individual and reflectively listen and work together with her/him to clarify personal goals and generate ‘action-item’ options for resolution. It is not a place for me to act as an ‘expert’ who tells you what to do or what is wrong with you. It’s primarily a place for you to focus attention on learning what you want and what you need in order to accomplish that. My part is to help you retrieve desired resource experiences from wherever they exist in your learning history and help them become available in the current life contexts where you need them. My role also frequently includes serving as a ‘translator’ for couples as I help each one hear and understand what the other is trying to say. Occasionally, I conduct sessions floating on ‘noodles’ in the pool, sitting in the spa, or in the infrared sauna. Frequently, I lead guided meditations and teach self hypnosis and relaxation training for stress, anxiety, habit or pain management.

How does hypnosis work and why would I need it?

Despite everything you hear and see on television about it, hypnosis is simply a means of focusing your attention inward meditatively so that you disregard external distractions and develop an absorption of attention on your breath and inner experience. Hypnotic trance is typically very pleasant and calming but it is not, in and of itself, a cure for anything. It is only an opportunity for me to act as a ‘spotlight operator’ to guide your attention to the relevant matter of reviewing your options and detailing your goals. It sometimes includes a review of related history for resolution of early trauma. I do not ‘do’ anything to you or ‘put you under’ and you do not lose consciousness or become oblivious or helpless. In fact, it is a heightened state of empowered awareness though you are often very still with eyes closed such that you may appear to be asleep. It is completely safe and as easy as taking a nice, deep, breath and just riding your consciousness inward with curiosity about what you can learn about yourself. It is universally applicable to many symptoms and presenting problems including: smoking cessation, weight management, anxiety management, stress reduction, sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, pain management, healing and disease reversal, childbirth, habit control, panic disorder, social anxiety, etc. It is not a truth serum and can not be used to make someone tell or remember the truth of what happened to them in this – or previous – lifetimes.

Can hypnosis help me remember a blocked memory?

Memory is a complicated phenomenon. People frequently want to use hypnosis to assist recall when they may have lost some item. It is often possible to facilitate a hypernesia (which is the opposite of amnesia) and significantly recover details of an event so that a person remembers where they put something they’ve misplaced. Others want to use hypnosis in order to remember what happened to them growing up or remember details of an assailant for use in identification to assist police. Helping the person objectively focus attention inward and directed to the spotlighted event can return to awareness much that had been obscured in the shadows of the unconscious, much like when you suddenly remember a vivid dream from the night before that you had completely forgotten. However, there is no guaruntee that we remember the absolute truth unbiased by our own perceptions. There is a distinct disadvantage to using hypnosis as an aid in memory retrieval for purposes of pressing charges against a perpetrator of crime in that testimony influenced by hypnosis may not be admissible in court.

How many sessions will I need?

There is rarely a predetermined number of sessions that can be predicted, regardless of whether treatment includes hypnosis or traditional talk therapy methods. Often times, significant results are accomplished in one session and there is no need for more. More typically, the first session is devoted to gathering history and understanding the problem and stated goals. If hypnosis is to be used, we would probably devote the second session to doing that and then assess results and movement toward the desired outcome. I often make a tape recording of hypnosis sessions so that you can take it with you and listen to it as needed to recreate the hypnotic experience at home. We continue with as many sessions as we both feel necessary to accomplish desired results. Hypnosis sessions are often interspersed with ‘talking’ sessions to gather feedback and redirect our treatment plan regarding modified goals.

Can multiple people be present during a hypnosis session?

Yes. I sometimes conduct a ‘group’ session for three or more people with a similar goal for whom the same meditative directives will be relevant. I even more frequently will hypnotize both members of a couple at the same time and invite them to detail an imagined ideal future they can then share with each other after coming out of ‘trance.’

Are there any side-effects?

Hypnosis stimulates a lot of thinking, feeling, and sets lots of mental wheels turning. This is a good thing. You usually would leave the session feeling very relaxed and calm though energized and hopeful. You will be safe to drive. Your sense of comfort and wellbeing is likely to continually increase. It’s as if you have been on a wonderfully restorative vacation and have memorized the feelings and collected them like a souvenir you bring back with you in order to remember that vacation feeling again and again. The only side effect is that you are more capable of entering trance again, more easily and rapidly than the first time, at whatever time you elect to do so. I talk about the going into and exiting a trance state as deepening the neural pathway to the very pleasant internal ‘power spot’ that hypnosis helps people find.

Is there anything homework I can do before my session to increase my benefits?

I frequently offer clients the option of using me as a journal via email. This is particularly true before the first session if they would like to write me a summary of their situation to ‘get the ball rolling’ even before I see them. I suggest that they address: 1.Problem experienced and desired goals; 2.Current life situation context (age, marital status, children, job, social network, typical time structuring, etc.); 3.Family of origin (description of parents, siblings, developmental influences, etc.); and 4.Anything else they feel might be pertinent that they would like for me to understand. This saves a lot of time and takes a lot of history gathering pressure off of the first session and is usually experienced as beneficial in and of itself to get a fresh perspective. In this regard, I invite clients to send me emails between sessions of any dreams or experiences they are having. I print a copy and keep it in the file and it is there waiting for us to discuss it in further detail in the session.

Are there books that I should read?

There are certainly a lot of good books out there! I frequently send couples to the Publications section of this website to read the ‘Quickies’ chapter that is useful orientation to couples therapy with me and in hopes they find something there to assist them in negotiating discussions when they are not with me. I also recommend that couples read and follow the journal prompts in Dr. Phil’s (Phil McGraw) Relationship Rescue. You don’t need to buy the workbook, but do buy two copies (it’s in paperback) and two notebooks so you both can read simultaneously and keep your private journals growing. I especially like the dyad exercises later in the book that he prescribes for 14 days. It’s a great respectful structure for this tricky business of communicating and feel free to pick and choose among the offered prompts. Even generate your own unique prompts once you get the hang of it. Don’t think you have to work through the whole book to cut right to that chase. It’s the meat of the matter of this book. Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay is another book I recommend to couples who are ‘on the fence’ as it provides useful questions to ask yourself to determine if you’d be happier staying or going. Robert Alter’s Good Husband, Great Marriage is a wonderful aid for husbands (and wives) who are searching to find the marriage of their dreams. I have recently been recommending Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s Grief & Grieving to rave reviews. There are several good anger management and PTSD workbooks available. Pathways to Peace by William Fleeman is one that I have successfully used with several clients motivated to better handle their anger. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron is one of the books in my waiting room that I frequently find people reading. Also, Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now is very popular. And finally (for now), with regard to the persistent and sometimes desperate quest for parenting questions, I frequently recommend books by John Rosemond, PhD whose philosophy and books can be viewed on his website: www.rosemond.com

What is the wellness track and is it different from therapy or counseling?

We call this place ‘The Wellness Institute‘ to acknowledge the holistic ideal of mind/body/spirit in balance. A true and comprehensive therapy will encompass all of that though a majority of people are motivated to focus their therapy exclusively on counseling for specific conflict or problem resolution and may not think to or want to take it any further than that. But others, particularly those dealing with pain management, weight loss, smoking cessation, grief work, or trauma resolution, often choose to look at the bigger context and find additional benefit from a variety of alternative treatments that happen both on site and in the offices of my various associates listed in the ‘wi-wow’ section. These treatments may include but are not limited to: hydrotherapy in the pool and spa, therapeutic sweats in the infrared sauna, inversion, massage, acupuncture, yoga, bio-feedback, nutritional consulting, juicing and mindful eating, ceremonial fires and other healing rituals, kayaking, guided meditations, walking meditations, Enlightenment Intensives, couples retreats, and more. Some choose to actively pursue wellness and optimal balance in their lives even when they are not experiencing a motivating problem. They simply have goals for excellence! We can design a specific plan that best addresses your needs and interests. Anyone who wants to is eligible to ‘get on the wellness track’ with me. It is the same cost per session and many insurance policies pay for preventive and wellness promoting work.

Do you offer continuing education credits for hypnotherapy training for professionals?

Yes. I am an approved teacher of hypnosis by the Florida Department of Health and Quality Assurance and as such, I regularly offer hypnosis training that earns continuing education credits. Click the link below to view the brochure for the annual 6 day intensive. I am also happy to discuss other types of training with groups who have different needs.

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