WOODBURY — Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center, 670 Main St. South, offers both traditional, evidence-based mental health counseling and alternative therapies. When speaking to Voices, Jewelz Levesque, LPC, MSHSV, FMHC,CCTP, CFTP, ACS, described this approach to healing: “We incorporate Reiki or energy work, meditation, drumming and hypnosis into our sessions so people learn to relax.
“People who come to us have usually experienced trauma, including the veterans we treat. When we teach them how to relax, it changes how they see the world and they’re able to function on a different level.”
She said that techniques like drumming and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) can provide clients with tools they can use in the course of the day.
“They may be triggered, but now know they can close their eyes, take a deep breath and put their feet in grass so the body calms down,” she said.
The center specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cluster B or narcissistic, borderline, anti-social and histrionic personality challenges, bariatric counseling and more.
Ms. Levesque said, “We don’t sit with pad and paper, taking notes. We need to be actively listening to our clients and the act of writing down a word can derail a whole train of thought if a client wonders what was written down. We have an approach that makes people feel more comfortable.”
The center provides assistance for individuals, couples, families and groups in the office, virtually or, as appropriate, in the home.
The Zen Den is where children can engage in play, art, music, and other therapies.
“The youngest client is about 3 years old and the oldest is maybe 85,” Ms. Levesque said. “I believe our job on this planet is to learn. In every adversity or challenge, we have to find the lesson and process that information in order to go forward. If we don’t learn, we keep repeating mistakes.”
She admitted, “It took me 12 bosses to learn that I should work for myself.”
Ms. Levesque and her husband, The Rev. Nagi Mato, B.S., founded Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center.
“When we first met, I couldn’t pronounce his full Lakota name, which was given to him as he worked with Lakota elders and means Wolf Spirit Warrior. So, I called him Nagi. There is Native American, from Canada, on my father’s side.
“Since we’ve both been drawn to that culture, we decided that would be a good name for the practice, to help people understand we’re not just traditional.”
Nagi Mato holds a bachelor’s degree in alternative medicine.
His wife explained, “His path as a fitness trainer and massage therapist has brought him to where he works with herbs and tinctures to help people get into that relaxed space. He’s not a clinician, but offers a considerable amount of input on how to help our clients.
“Everyone at Wolf Spirit is a family and works together,” Ms. Levesque said. “During our staff meetings, we go over housekeeping and talk about clients in what I call group supervision. It’s a different approach to family and couples counseling, where there is always more than one clinician participating.”
For example, in couples counseling, each party has an individual counselor.
“You have to work on yourself and not just the problem,” Ms. Levesque explained. “Usually, both think the other one is the problem. Then, when it’s time to talk as a couple, the two clinicians will be present so everyone feels represented. Same with families, though it’s not practical to have 10 clinicians in the room. There, we may have one clinician for the kids and one for the parents. I’m a stickler for this because I want everyone to feel someone is in their corner.”
An APRN is also available to support clients who need medication or are leaving a hospital setting to ensure a continuum of care. The center works with hospital discharge planners and school systems.
Of her own background, Ms. Levesque said, “I was a psychiatric nurse for almost 30 years and I use my credentials because it makes people feel safe. But it doesn’t make me any different. The work I’m doing now is the most fulfilling work I’ve done and gives me the most satisfaction.
“It’s also the most frustrating because there is a lot of paperwork and referrals. That’s not necessarily the work I like the most, but I know how to do it and it’s my job so I do it. Being with clients is more rewarding and I like it when they have their epiphany. That’s awesome.”
She added, “I do this because my soul is in servitude. I learned a long time ago that I want to help people and teach them as much as I can so they have a better life.”
There is no waiting list at Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center.
“If someone is reaching out for help, I want them to have it,” Ms. Levesque said. “Covid-19 has been hard on everyone from a mental health perspective and we’re busy but anyone in crisis will not be turned away.”
Pointing out that the office is in a retail location, Ms. Levesque said she installed a buzzer system to help protect clients’ privacy. “Since we opened, we’ve expanded considerably and now have an open position for another clinician.”
All clinicians go through a trauma orientation, including students who come to Wolf Spirit Wellness and Counseling Center for their practicums. “We’re here to help.”
More information about the center is available at www.wolfspiritwellness.org and Facebook.
Appointments may be made by calling 203-263-3175.