Licensed Professional Counselor Profiles

by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace

If 2021 seems particularly daunting to start anew after a year like 2020, perhaps it’s time to consider therapy. It doesn’t have to look like stretching out on a couch, there are quite a few different types of therapies, one just has to figure out which works best for them.

We chatted with five therapists in Northeast Mississippi. While most counselors in the state are generalists (this portion of the state doesn’t really have the population to support specialists), we asked everyone about a type of therapy they’re particularly excited about, and asked for tips headed into the new year.

Taquila Smith

Taquila Smith is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works full-time at Parkwood Behavioral Health System and part-time at Counseling Associates, LLC, in Olive Branch. Smith’s interest in her field sparked when she was a child.

“I’ve always been intrigued by the behaviors of other people as a kid,” she said.

John Rasberry

John Rasberry went to school in the late ‘60’s, “which was the time of the hippies, and so I still am (a hippie), but I don’t have as much hair as I used to have,” he joked. That’s where he first found a class his roommate was excited about: group therapy. Looking for an easy A, Rasberry signed up, and “took to it like a duck to water.” He changed his major, and hasn’t looked back since.

But Rasberry wasn’t looking for a career in the standard talk therapy; in fact, he doesn’t really believe talk therapy is effective.

John Hawkins

John Hawkins is a Licensed Professional Counselor who owns his own practice, John Hawkins LPC, in Columbus. But the road to where he is now in his career was an unexpected journey. When he was little, he wanted to be a sanitation worker.

“When I was a child, I wanted to be a garbage man,” he said. “Now I help people empty the garbage from their lives.”

Essence Walker

For Essence Walker, the first way to be a good therapist is to build a relationship with her clients.

“Once you can effectively build a therapeutic rapport with the client, everything else kind of falls in place,” she said. “You can have all these therapies readily available, but if you cannot connect with the person, it’s really in vain.”

Edward Yeates

Back in college, Mississippi State University football player Edward Yeates earned his undergrad in kinesiology; he wanted to be a physical therapist. But after he graduated in 2001, his scholarship was extended and he started thinking about masters programs; he realized something else may suit him better — counseling.

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