Mark Van Zant
MS in Mental Health Counseling from Georgia State University
Licensed Professional Counselor
National Certified Counselor
Registered Play Therapist
National Provider Identification NPI#1770975591
Life can be hard, on all 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, and within ourselves. I know first hand about dealing with these unexpected bends in the journey of life. Just one example, is how my career hit various snags.
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.
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 fortuitous and taxing experience of being unemployed 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.
When I made the decision to switch careers, 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 as well as in Georgia. I am also a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). I am a member of the American Counseling Association, Licensed Professional Counselor Association of Georgia, and Association for Play Therapy.
My counseling approach starts with a focus on fostering a warm relationship and then gently working with you 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, Filial and Play Therapy. 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.
Outside of work and in life, 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 love spending time with my wife and two daughters, family, and friends. I enjoy being active with running, hiking, tennis, soccer, snowboarding, or anything outdoors. I am an avid fan of sports (staying true here in Dallas to my Philly roots, Go Eagles!) and movies and I’m 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.