Mark Van Zant
MS in Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Provider Identification NPI#1770975591
Life can be hard, on each of us. It is full of unexpected twists and turns. It moves us in and out of light and dark places. The struggles present themselves in our intimate relationships, career, family, faith, and within ourselves.
My practice being focused on working with men, I know first hand about dealing with the challenges that men face. The unexpected bends in the journey of life. Just one example, is how my career hit various snags.
Prior to counseling, I earned an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science, from Georgia State University. Upon graduating the lack of jobs made it tough to break into the field. As such, I went to work in the corporate and consulting world. I led departments and projects in outsourcing, off-shoring, and process improvement. I paid my dues and climbed the proverbial corporate ladder.
My time in the business world included surviving several large company downsizings. I also experienced periodic downtime in between contractor roles. This is not how I expected things to go in securing my career path. It was during difficult experience of being unemployed, at the age of 31, that brought me to counseling. In many ways it took things back down to the foundation. So began the journey of rebuilding from the ground up. My transition from Fortune 50 to counseling was driven by my deep passion for developing relationships. In addition, my desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people.
When I made the decision to switch careers, at 32 years old, I went back to Georgia State University. I earned my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. There I developed a special draw to family work. Coming from a large, blended family myself, and the importance of relationships was the catalyst. I learned the foundational counseling skills. I also studied Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, and Family Therapy with great vigor. These courses furthered my work with children, adolescents, couples, and families. I wanted to to provide help navigating life’s challenges. The ultimate end being to help each person (or family) reach a greater sense of joy and fulfillment.
Since completing grad school, I have worked as a counselor in non-profit as well as group private practice settings. I am experienced in working with families and individuals regarding a myriad of concerns including anxiety, depression, oppositional defiance, parenting, relationship issues, self-harm, self-esteem, and substance use. In my prior work with families and children the journey is grounded in Family Systems Therapy, while utilizing other skills and educational knowledge, like Play Therapy and Filial Therapy. I trained in Seven Challenges and facilitated groups with adolescents related to substance use/abuse for several years. I have also held credentials and membership as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with Association for Play Therapy and North Texas Chapter for Play Therapy. Currently, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas and a member of the American Counseling Association. Additionally, my education continues through ongoing training as well as reading.
Today, I am utilizing my wide range of work and educational experience to run a practice geared at helping men face countless challenges at most any stage of life whether it be related to work, family, faith, or self.
My counseling approach starts with a focus on fostering a positive connection rooted in mutual respect. We begin working to uncover your concerns, identify and challenge distortions and negative patterns, build skills as well as mental awareness and resilience for ongoing self-regulation. In therapy terms, I operate from a therapeutic foundation of the evidenced based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach as well as Family Systems. In less formal terms, it is my goal to help you help yourself so you don't need me anymore. At my very core I am a counselor out of the desire to help and serve others from a place of love and compassion.
My personal life, has as many twists and turns as my career. It stared early when my biological father died when I was a few months old. Eight years later I became part of a blended family which grew with two more siblings, to go along with my two older siblings. My life has also included some big transitions the most recent being at age 39 when I picked up and moved half way across the country. I have completely started over professionally, in my faith, as well as personally, becoming a husband and father on the same day, a business owner for the first time in my life, and rebuilding my friend group. I understand the experiences and challenges of life because I have gone through them. All of these invaluable experiences inform the work I do, being able to come alongside fellow men. It allows me to debunk the myth that, “I am alone in this”, engage with shared past experiences, and work genuinely on facing the entanglements that today’s world presents.
I draw my purpose and strength from my faith. It is my rock and my foundation. It drives me to remain active in my parish and community having served in various roles including as a skilled supervisor with Habitat for Humanity, alumni board President at my high school, Catholic Charities, and other outreach opportunities serving those less fortunate and in need. I enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters, as well as those close to me. I remain active with biking, hiking, tennis, playing soccer, coaching soccer, and most anything outdoors. I do have a healthy competitive side to me as I enjoy most any sort of game and remain an avid fan of sports whether rooting for Chelsea FC or staying true, here in Dallas, to my Philly roots…Go Eagles! I’m often good for a timely movie quote or reference in conversation to help lighten the mood or bring context to sometimes difficult topics.
CONTACT ME TODAY
If you would like to get started on the road to wellness you can call 469-759-9572 for a free phone consult or fill out the form below and I'll give you a call.