In addition to the ample letters in my name- Angela Dora Dobrzynski, nee Marchesani- I have acquired quite a collection of letters after my name.
LPC, CGCS, CHHC
For many people, these letters read like meaningless alphabet soup, but in reality, they denote the credentials I have earned in my career as a therapist. If you are a client or considering becoming a client, you should know what qualifies me to support and guide you in our work together. Allow me to explain how these credentials were attained.
LPC- Licensed Professional Counselor (in Pennsylvania; each state has its own licensing board for psychotherapists)
The LPC credential is earned through graduate coursework (a Master’s Degree in Counseling, plus practicum and internship within the graduate program), passing of the National Counselor Examination ( 200-item exam covering counseling theory, strategies and ethics, along with human development, cognition, behavior modification, psychopharmacology and all other topics covered in the required graduate coursework), and 3,000 post-graduate supervised work hours (requiring a 1-hour meeting with a licensed supervisor per every 20 hours worked during that 3,000 hour work experience. In this case, “supervision” means case consultation and structured feedback, teaching and correction from a licensed clinician. You don’t know humility until you get that sort of feedback). In my case, I completed 72 credits in my Master of Arts in Counseling program at Rosemont College in 2007, including a 100-hour practicum at Women’s Resource Center, a 300-hour internship at Haverford High School and a 600-hour internship at Women’s Resource Center. I obtained certification as a Secondary School Counselor at this time, after taking both Praxis 1 and Praxis 2 exams at the conclusion of my school-based internship. I didn’t go on to work as a school counselor, though, and therefore that certification has lapsed. For six years I worked at a residential eating disorder hospital, and then later back to Women’s Resource Center. Once I earned my full LPC credential, I worked for three years as a bereavement counselor for a hospice and began my private practice. To maintain my license, I must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years, up to 20 of which can be virtual trainings and at least 10 of which must be in-person trainings.
CGCS- Certified Grief Counseling Specialist
This certification is granted after a 6-hour virtual training and assessment. This training covers the dual-process model of coping, grief and attachment, companioning as an intervention, assessment of grief and other topics related to loss and grief. I learned more from the hundreds of grieving clients I’ve worked with, but this is a nice refresher course to stay current in the field.
CHHC- Certified Holistic Health Coach
Granted by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners in 2007, this certification is nationally recognized, which means I can provide coaching to clients in any state. This certificate was earned after completion of a year-long program at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in Manhattan. Courses were in person at IIN’s Lincoln Center location for two weekend days each month, with coursework and online processes between sessions. This program taught us how to work with clients using the integration of mind-body-soul through nutritional theory, natural health interventions, personal development and a holistic view of the self. Our guest teachers included Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Debbie Ford and Mark Hyman.
Wait! That one is not there yet!
This summer I will begin training to become a certified provider of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR is a research-supported and highly respected technique that reduces the emotional distress resulting from traumatic events and other acute stressors. The in-person training takes place over two three-day weekends a month apart (48 total training hours), and the certification is granted after months of clinical application and formalized supervision are successful. Stay tuned for these new letters!
Professional developmental is non-negotiable for me. I am constantly learning in order to better serve my clients and bring new strategies, techniques and insights into our work. In December I completed a trauma treatment training presented by renowned doctor and trauma-specialist Bessel Van Der Kolk. In March I completed a training hosted by CORE, Gift of Life and the State of Pennsylvania to provide grief counseling to the families of organ donors. I read articles and books regularly, in order to hone my skills as a therapist and to provide relevant resources to clients (Atomic Habits by James Clear and Mindset by Carol Dweck in the past couple of months).
I hope this provides a clearer picture of what all the letters are for; my alphabet soup is for you!