Counseling center opens in Vandalia
After three years of operating her telepractice, Jessica Wright got the opportunity to do something that she has always wanted to do – the first in-person counseling session.
Wright Choice Counseling has set up its space at 1485 N. Carlyle in Vandalia. The renovated space offers faith-based counseling and other services. The sessions are available either online or in-person and are aimed to help those who are in need.
Wright has worked as a licensed clinical social worker and first responder for 15 years.
Originally from Washington state, she initially wanted to go to school to become a dentist but made the pivot to social work once she realized she could help others in a different way.
“What I really remember is how anxious everyone was to get a good grade,” she said. “I then took all of the psychology and social work classes I could get. It became a natural fit.”
Wright moved to Vandalia six years ago back to her husband’s hometown.
Wright said she wanted to provide a place that her clients could go and feel at ease.
“I noticed immediately that there was a definite need around here,” she said. “It was hard to find places to work.”
Wright graduated from the University of Washington Tacoma with a bachelor’s in social work and psychology and a master’s degree in social work.
Wright started her practice three years ago, right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jessica Wright said she likes to get to the heart of the matter and have real discussions with people.
“I love getting to hear people’s inner voices,” she said. “You can always ask the thing: ‘How are you doing?’ And we always say fine. But when you give them a minute, and ask how are you really feeling, you would be surprised by that sort of change. You give people the space to say what they need to say.”
Wright said the journey to opening an in-person practice has been two years in the making. The house on Carlyle Street was originally built in 1890, and it has been completely renovated to represent a tranquil environment.
Wright said she believes every person could benefit from taking the time and checking in with their mental wellness.
“People often go to counseling because there is someone in their life who won’t go to counseling,” she said. “It helps being able to know that is normal. Everyone should talk to a counselor once in their life. It is awkward for everyone at first. But if you don’t feel comfortable it won’t work. Don’t be afraid to let your counselor know what you need.”
“Burnout is a real thing,” Wright said. “We have to find a way to help the helpers. If you can feel helpless or hopeless, then that is (post traumatic stress disorder). We want to help stop people who may be on that track. Our counseling needs to be different.”
Wright Choice Counseling takes insurance and also offers services on a sliding scale based on income.
Getting a place in Vandalia was only the beginning. Wright said she is interested in bringing more counselors and possibly a massage therapist on board to the practice. She also wants to add on a sauna and offer specialized group therapy sessions, like how to handle stress management.
“I want to create a place where people can just chill, whatever they need,” she said.
Wright Choice Counseling offers a free 15 minute consultation for those interested in possible services.
You can find more information about Wright Choice Counseling Services by visiting the official Facebook page or online at www.wrightchoicecounseling.com.