- Family Counseling
Jana Wesson-Martin, LPC, NCC
Jana Wesson-Martin is a native Texan and a lifelong learner. After earning an M.A. in English and a PhD in Higher Education studies, she spent years in higher education as a professor of composition and literature. It is in her college teaching career where Wesson-Martin began researching student success and became very intrigued with mental wellness. She opted to gain a second master’s degree in Clinical Counseling/Marriage & Family, and fell in love with the therapy and theory, but especially with helping others to live out their best lives.
Wesson-Martin emphasizes the necessity of creating trust in the therapist/client relationship. Research suggests that it is trust in the relationship that actually weighs heaviest in the success of the counsel. Wesson-Martin often implements narrative therapy into her sessions. No doubt stories teach, she says, and we can focus on understanding our stories as a means of helping us put untold aspects of the past into the life narrative, emotionally entering and re-authoring our own stories to construct new meanings that emerge during therapy.
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” – Sue Monk Kidd
She also has expertise in existentialist theory, where anxiety is studied as a road map towards a fuller life. Rather than viewing anxiety as pathology, anxiety can be considered a sort of school where one is educated. The existential approach is especially suited to people facing a developmental crisis or transition in life and for those with existential concerns (making choices, dealing with freedom and responsibility, coping with guilt and anxiety, making sense of life, and finding values) or those seeking personal enhancement. The approach can be applied to both individual and group counseling.
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” –Viktor E. Frankl
Feminist therapy is also a focus in Wesson-Martin’s experience. This sort of therapy emphasizes transformation both in the individual client and in society, particularly assisting clients in recognizing, claiming, and using their personal power to free themselves from the limitations of gender-role socialization and/or situations that discriminate or oppress on any basis. Principles and techniques can be applied to a range of therapeutic modalities, such as individual therapy, relationship counseling, family therapy, group counseling, and community intervention. Women’s literature is one of the genres she has studied most and an area of focus in her dissertation, a literary and phenomenological study of emancipation.
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” –Joan of Arc