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, moving us in and out of light and dark places that 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 and the unexpected bends in the journey of life. Just one example, is how my career hit various snags.

My career

Prior to finding a calling in counseling I earned an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science from Georgia State University. Upon graduating the lack of job opportunities made it tough to break into the actuarial field. As such I went to work as a business professional in the corporate and consulting world, leading departments and projects including outsourcing, off-shoring, and process improvement. I paid my dues and had my years of climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.

My time in the business world included experiencing and surviving several large company downsizings as well as periodic downtime in between jobs in my contractor role. Certainly not how I expected things to go in the way of feeling secure in my career and life. However, it was during the truly taxing and later fortuitous 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 and so began the journey of rebuilding from the ground up. My transition from Fortune 50 to counseling was driven solely by my deep passion for developing relationships and making 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 where I earned my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. While in school I developed a special draw to family work coming from a large, blended family myself, and the importance relationships play in our lives. In addition to the foundational counseling skills, I studied Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, and Family Therapy with great vigor. These courses furthered my keen interest in working with children, adolescents, couples, and families to gain the help needed to navigate life’s challenges. The ultimate end being to help each person/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. I trained in Seven Challenges and facilitated groups with adolescents related to substance use/abuse for several years. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas and a member of the American Counseling Association. 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.

Today, I am utilizing this 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 Approach

My counseling approach starts with a focus on fostering a positive relationship 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 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 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.

“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 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 running, hiking, tennis, playing soccer, coaching soccer, and most anything outdoors. I am an avid fan of sports (staying true here in Dallas to my Philly roots, Go Eagles!) and movies as I’m often good for a timely movie quote or reference. I am always up for a friendly and competitive game of any sort whether that be board or card, cornhole, bocce or the like.

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.

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