In February 2013, Dr. Carolina Walsh, EdD, LPC, opened a private practice called the Life in Balance Counseling Center in Gainesville, Virginia. “Opening my own practice was one of the last things on my professional bucket list,” she says. “I am using all of my skills with clients. It is a wonderful accomplishment.”
Dr. Walsh’s approach to counseling integrates person-centered and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. ”I work closely with each client to develop individual treatment. I also believe that it is one of my responsibilities to create an environment that is safe and comfortable so that one can explore inner feelings and issues without fear of judgment,” she says.
“A high point in my professional life was receiving my Doctorate of Education degree in Counseling Psychology in 2008,” says Carolina, who also received her Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Argosy University, Washington DC in 2002. Her graduate studies awakened interest in the dual career track of teaching and counseling that she follows today.
Argosy University, Washington DC still figures prominently in Dr. Walsh’s life. She joined the staff in 2011 as a part-time professor in the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, where she teaches Mind, Body Medicine, Counseling Theory, Counseling Skills I and II, and Social and Cultural Foundation. One of her most popular classes, Mind, Body Medicine, addresses a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy approach. “It is a method of self-care that includes meditation to help ward off practitioner burnout,” says Dr. Walsh. “Students learn how to use the approach for themselves as well as with clients.”
Dr. Walsh immigrated to the United States from Peru with her family when she was young. Not speaking English, she and her family of seven endured living in a one-bedroom apartment in the Spanish Harlem area of New York City. Later as a teenager, her family moved to a middle-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, where the new challenge was dealing with discrimination.
“One never forgets incidents such as being told by the neighborhood candy store owner that I was not allowed in her store,” she says. “I felt isolated and different from other children.” These early experiences have had a lasting effect. “While we encountered many hurdles, in hindsight, I now view these difficult years as a blessing in my life,” she continues. “The collective experience built resiliency and a determination to prove myself and demonstrate to others that I was just as capable of achieving academically as they were.”
Dr. Walsh would experience more challenges in her adult years. At 39, she was a divorced mother of three children, and suddenly became a caregiver for her mother. She joined the staff at the Georgetown University Law Center as director of Residence Life & Student Programs to support her family. The pressures of being a single mother and sole breadwinner of her family did not deter her from pursuing graduate education.
Before retiring from Georgetown University Law Center in 2011, Dr. Walsh’s duties included serving as the sexual assault and relationship violence liaison. She also oversaw the Center for Wellness Promotion & Lawyers in Balance Contemplative Program. “At the Georgetown Law Center, I was recognized for my efforts to establish the Lawyers in Balance seminars and for my support of an array of initiatives designed to expand health and wellness awareness and learning,” she says.
“Argosy University, Washington DC helped create new opportunities for me at Georgetown, and new options in areas that I had already been engaged,” she says. “I believe the instruction I received strikes the right balance between the theory of the academic discipline and practical applications necessary for career success.”
“If there is one central theme which runs through my life experience, it is that confrontation with adversity and challenge has often provided me with the impetus and motivation to adapt, to solve problems, and to strive for greater achievement,” says Dr. Walsh. “It is certainly one of my goals to impart my story to others with a view toward helping them cope with the challenges in their own lives.”
Argosy University (www.argosy.edu), with 28 campus locations in 13 states and online, is a private, accredited academic institution dedicated to providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to students through its seven colleges: Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Undergraduate Studies, The Art Institute of California and Western State College of Law. With one of the largest communities of graduate students in the nation, Argosy University offers graduate degree programs in Psychology, Business, Counseling and Education. The institution offers undergraduate degree programs in Psychology, Business, Liberal Arts and Criminal Justice and, through The Art Institute of California, serves as an important source of education for design, media arts, fashion and culinary students and professionals. Degree levels and programs offered vary by location. Full and part-time law programs are offered through Western State College of Law. Argosy University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, California, 94501, http://www.wascsenior.org). Licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2610, 2630. See auprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.