Sailing Through Mental Health

Mary Godin on meeting the community's needs


As an undergraduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, MARY GODIN took introductory classes in psychology.

“After taking an abnormal psychology class, I fell in love with understanding how people’s minds work,” Godin says. “I had an amazing professor who was also a practitioner. He used real-life examples that really brought it outside of the textbook and into what the clinical setting would look like.”

Godin graduated in 1997 and earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology with substance abuse from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 1999. After working in private practice in Jacksonville, N.C., she opened Anchor Psychological and Counseling Center in Hampstead in 2007.

She wanted to commute less and be closer to her children, but Godin quickly realized there was a mental health care need in Pender County, particularly for children with high functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome. As the Hampstead location grew, Godin opened a second location in Wilmington.

The Military Cutoff Road location opened in June 2020.

“We treat the full range of disorders and are most known for the focus on trauma,” Godin says.

Trauma treatment ranges from cognitive behavioral therapy for children and cognitive processing therapy for adults to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which involves moving the eyes from right to left rapidly while recalling traumatic events.

Therapists also treat autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, issues related to adjustment and transitions, alcohol and substance use, social anxiety and developmental disorders.

Patients are all ages, including children as young as three. A registered play therapist at their Hampstead location is one of few in the area and offers children free expression, which is particularly important for those who aren’t as verbal.

Anchor Psychological also conducts psychological assessments. Testing can be done for autism, ADHD, intelligence and learning disorders. Assessments are three-part and consist of reviewing history, symptoms and concerns; then testing, such as IQ tests, questionnaires or achievement tests. At the final session, results are discussed and a treatment plan is developed, with the client’s input.

Recently, Anchor Psychological created a partnership with Carolina Behavioral Care, a North Carolina psychiatry group. They will provide services out of Anchor’s Wilmington office through telehealth.

“Patients visit the Wilmington office and speak with a provider remotely. Because there is such a psychiatry shortage in the area, this will really help serve the community,” Godin explains. “We will have access to their full range of psychiatrists, which means our patients can have their therapy and medication appointment on the same day, in the same place, which is a huge bonus for clients.”

As the coronavirus pandemic shut down cities across the country in March, Anchor Psychological shifted to telehealth.

“Telehealth has opened a new world,” Godin says. “It’s helped with access to care for patients who otherwise either would not have been willing or would not been able to seek therapy.”

Telehealth is also less disruptive for the workplace.

“Patients can shut the door to their office and do therapy without anyone else knowing,” Godin says.

When North Carolina moved into phase two, Anchor Psychological reopened its offices. Now, clients have the option to come back into the office or to continue their treatment remotely.

“We meet patients where they are and do what works best for them,” Godin says.

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Categories: Health