FAIRMONT – A phrase Jude Black likes to repeat to herself and others in difficult times is “Life is messy.”
She keeps this in mind because it is sometimes the only explanation for certain personal life events that must be traversed. It especially comes in handy when meeting with her clients, because she is a therapist who helps people work through these life events.
“We’re a full-service mental wellness and life coaching center,” said Black, owner of Appalachian Life Enhancement Counseling Center. “We will be working with typical things like anxiety, depression, resiliency training.”
Black opened the new Appalachian counseling center in Fairmont and held a ribbon cutting on Friday where she explained her mission and goals to people of the community alongside members of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. She said there need to be more options for mental health services, and she wants to be a resource for anyone that feels that they are in need.
“I want this center to be literally a place you can come in, grab that cup of coffee, sit down, work it out and then go live your life,” Black said. “We just need to find a way to clean it up in a way that works better for us today.”
Mary Jo Thomas, a board member of the Chamber of Commerce, expressed a welcome to the staff of the center at the ribbon cutting and said the location and the placement of Black’s building are perfect for exposure because of its position on Fairmont Avenue. Black said too, that she wanted a place where she would be able to make an impact on clients and be part of the community.
“It’s close to the Connector,” she said. “It’s close to getting right off at the Interstate, it has high traffic through here.
Being experienced in the field of mental health services, Black said some people feel that going to counseling has a stigma attached that there is something wrong with them. She said she wants to help normalize the idea of receiving mental health treatment, which is why her location on Third Street in Fairmont is the perfect location.
“We are far from broken,” Black said. “When they come to me, they feel like they’re broken, and it’s almost like they get knocked down a notch going to a therapist, and I just want them to have that perception that ‘This is normal.’”
Her experience also helps her to assist people who may be in multiple different stages throughout life. As she said, the messy parts of life can sometimes be overwhelming, but as a counselor, it is her job to not necessarily clean up the mess, but help an individual work and live through it.
“New moms need some help, empty nesters need some help, college students need help,” Black said. “If we can just help guide people to work through the messy stuff just is normal. We do it anyway, why not do it with someone who could back up exactly what they’re telling you?”
Appalachian Life Enhancement and Counseling Center is located at 225 Fairmont Avenue and can be reached by calling 681-404-6869 for appointments.