Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
— Pema Chodron

Mark Van Zant

MS in Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University

Licensed Professional Counselor
TX: LPC#77260

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, teen (15+ years old) and adult, 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.

When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.
— Brene Brown

My career

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.

My Education

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. 

Upon completing grad school, I worked for a non-profit and group private practice. I gained experienced in working with children, families, and adults. I have helped with a myriad of concerns. Clients have come in with struggles with anxiety, depression, faith, oppositional defiance, parenting, relationship issues, self-harm, self-esteem, and substance use/impulsive behaviors. My work with families and children is rooted in Family Systems Therapy. This work utilized my Play and Filial Therapy skills and education. I trained in and led Seven Challenges groups for several years. This work addressed substance use/abuse issues with adolescents. I also held credentials as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with Association for Play Therapy. I was an active member of the North Texas Chapter for Play Therapy. I remain a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas and a member of the American Counseling Association. Furthermore, my education continues through 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. Helping them face countless challenges at most any stage of life whether it be related to work, family, faith, or self.

My Approach

My counseling approach starts with fostering a positive connection. This is rooted in mutual respect. We begin working to uncover your concerns. This includes identifying and challenging distortions and negative patterns. Next, building skills as well as mental awareness and resilience for ongoing self-regulation. In less formal terms, it is my goal to help you help yourself so you don't need me anymore. My therapeutic approach, is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This approach is evidenced based and focused on delivering results. At my core I am a counselor out of the desire to help and serve others from a place of love and compassion.

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.
— Brene Brown

My Life

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. Our family grew with two more siblings, to go along with my two older siblings. My life has included more transitions, the most recent being at age 39. I picked up and moved half way across the country. My life changed when I became a husband and father on the same day. I also started over professionally. I became a business owner for the first time in my life. Personally, it meant rebuilding my friend group. Prior to the move, I returned to my faith. My faith journey has been a growth area for many years. In short, I understand the experiences and challenges of life because I have gone through many of 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”. It provides the opportunity to engage with shared past experiences. As a result, you can work genuinely on facing the entanglements that today’s world presents.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
— John 13:34

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. I have served in various roles. I have contributed as a skilled supervisor with Habitat for Humanity, alumni board President at my high school, Catholic Charities, and other outreach roles 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. I enjoy most any sort of game and remain an avid fan of sports. That includes rooting for Chelsea FC or staying true, even here in Dallas, to my Philly roots…Go Eagles! I’m often good for a timely movie quote or reference in conversation. This can 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 you can fill out the form below and I'll give you a call.

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