Counseling Services

Counseling Edge is the sister company of Edge Coaching.

Created in 2009, Counseling Edge was Michelle Ellwanger’s original private practice. Early on, Michelle noticed that many client problems corrected when awareness was increased and tools were given.

Counseling Edge provides individual counseling and counseling intensives. We accept BC/BS insurance and offer self-filing options for clients with other insurance providers.

Individual Counseling

Counseling Edge provides individual counseling for adult men and women. Our goal is to locate the root cause of the presenting problem and correct it. This assures lasting change. It is more difficult than treating only the symptoms but well worth the effort.

While anything standing in the way of your success can be addressed, common areas of focus clients present with include: anxiety, depression, relationship concerns, self-worth, anger management, grief and loss, eating disorders, parenting, and spirituality.

We do not currently work with children or adolescents.

Marriage Counseling

Are you looking to improve your marriage? Has marriage become frustrating and difficult? Rest assured you are not alone. Marriages often face adversity. The good news is that this can be an opportunity to objectively look at how to correct what is not working.

At Counseling Edge, marriage counseling is a three part process involving couple sessions where both partners are present plus individual sessions where each partner focuses on their own individual challenges.

Please note: If domestic violence is present or if the counselor determines each client needs their own individual counselor, the couple will be referred to independent outside resources.

Counseling Intensives

Need results sooner versus later? Counseling Intensives involve multiple hours of one on one sessions with Michelle Ellwanger in Hickory, NC. A travel to client option is also possible subject to additional travel expenses.

Intensives are great for couples experiencing difficulties in their relationship. They are also appropriate for individuals wanting to tackle multiple concerns in a condensed amount of time. Counseling Intensives are subject to limited availability. Please contact for additional information and scheduling.

Please note: Intensive are not appropriate for suicidal clients or clients needing in-patient treatment options.

Individuals in need of crisis counseling who live in Catawba County can reach a mobile crisis unit at 1.877.327.2593. Individuals living outside of Catawba County can call the National Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK

Specialty Areas

Anxiety Disorders are the most diagnosed mental health disorders in the United States. Anxiety Disorders include the following subcategories:

Panic Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The good new is anxiety disorders are highly treatable. At Counseling EDGE, we educate clients how to break the panic cycle and use techniques such as systematic desensitization, mindfulness and trauma processing.

Why suffer from anxiety when you don’t have to anymore?

Healthy relationships are the cornerstone of happy lives. Unfortunately, most individuals have not received information or training in the art of healthy relationships. The following components are core tools we help clients develop:

Effective Communication
Emotional Awareness
Establishing Boundaries
Ability to Self Regulate
Tools to Correct Distorted Thinking
Empathy for Others

Relationship difficulties can be with a partner, a child, a colleague or anyone you interact with. Make it priority to learn the foundations of healthy relationships and leave behind needless strife.

Do you recognize you are inherently good? Do you believe you are important and here for a reason?

Individuals suffering from low self-worth commonly believe the following distortions:

I’m not good enough
I’m not lovable
I’m a bad person
I don’t deserve good things
I’m broken and defective

Guess what? All those above statements are lies and it’s time for you the throw them away.

Low self-worth can be corrected with cognitive behavior therapy to correct the origins of the distorted negative self- belief.

Let us help you remember the beautiful person you really are.

Depression causes individuals to feel sad, empty and irritable. It can effect your ability to sleep, your weight, your energy level and your ability to concentrate.

While medications sometimes reduce symptoms and are recommended for short term treatment, they do not replace the long term benefits of effective psychotherapy for addressing what needs to be corrected on an physical, emotional and mental level.

At Counseling EDGE, we believe depression is a type of alarm that goes off inside you when something is wrong. We take the time to find the root cause of the depression and then treat it. Effective techniques for depression that we use with our clients include cognitive behavior therapy, EMDR if past trauma is a factor, exercise and nutrition.

Emotional deregulation is a physiological and behavioral response that occurs when a person is unable to regulate intense negative emotions. Physiological responses can include:

Raised Voice or Screaming
Moodiness or Pouting
Increased Muscle Tension
Irrational Thinking
Increased Heart Rate

Effective treatment for emotional deregulation involves self-awareness, empathy and learning alternative responses. This allows you to respond instead of react to situations. Hence, you take back control over your emotions instead of allowing the negative emotions to control you.

If your are dealing with unregulated emotions, especially anger, we suggest The Heart Math Solution as an educational tool for overcoming anger.

Types of Therapy

If a person could be hooked up to a computer monitor that provides a print out of all the thoughts occurring throughout a day, many of the thoughts would be negative and distorted.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) involves identifying and replacing distortions in thinking that cause harm to a person’s happiness.

Example: Mary has been focusing most of her energy on the 10% of her life that she is unhappy about- the fact that all of her children have moved away. She commented, “I guess the best part of my life is over.”

With CBT, she was able to see the 90% of her life that is positive and started focusing on all the things she can do now that her children are independent adults.

Reality Therapy was founded by William Glasser. Reality Therapy has the following core concepts:

1) Attention is placed on present situations.

2) Clients are encouraged to move away from criticizing, complaining and blaming and instead move into being pro-active about what you have control over, which is namely yourself and your behaviors.

3) Honesty and directness are essential to the process.  Most problems are the result of not pointing out and correcting misconceptions when they originally occur. Counseling Edge will not lie to you. (Sorry, but you might want to find another practice if this is not something you can handle.)

4) Measurable goals will be discussed and implemented. If you just want to vent, a wall works well for this purpose and at a fraction of the cost of professional services, just saying. (BTW, this was never said by Dr. Glasser but Counseling Edge believes he would approve of our take.)

Reality therapy shares many component of modern day coaching which is why it is a common type of therapy being used at our practice. If this type of approach resonates with you, then Counseling Edge would likely be a good fit for you.

Solutions Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) recognizes that dwelling on problems and negative emotions, like guilt, do not fix what is broken.

A client is instead assumed to have some intrinsic knowledge of what would make their life better. This personal belief is aligned with and developed as a critical part of the treatment model.

Counseling Edge believes previous success can be instrumental to future success. We encourage and challenge a client to do more of what is working and then help them create self experiments to collect data that illustrates how to duplicate previous success.

Discover how to leave your past behind you for once and for all.

Adaptive Information Processing, also called EMDR for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing, is a specialized type of counseling to overcome trauma.

Used by the United States military and for other forms of trauma including abuse and violence, it is a highly effective and efficient form of therapy.

Trauma processing uses bilateral stimulation to process trauma on the three levels that trauma appears to occur: cognitive, emotional and physical.

At Counseling EDGE, we have worked with many clients who have received previous counseling that was ineffective in dealing with their trauma. When adaptive information processing was used, these clients reported significant relief in PTSD related symptoms.

Motivational interviewing (MI) is more of a therapeutic technique than a type of therapy but we use it a lot and wanted to include some information as to how it works. It uses open ended questions to increase awareness so that clients can find their own solutions.

This focused and goal oriented type of counseling directs the client to see inconsistencies in their own behaviors while affirming and listening to the client.

A single father named Joe was trying to learn new parenting skills. His counselor asked: “What is the consequence for when your daughter screams at you?”

Joe sheepishly replied, “I tell her she is being disrespectful.” A silent pause occurred before Joe began talking again. “Maybe that isn’t much of a consequence and that’s why she keeps doing it? I guess I have been wanting to be her friend when I need to be her parent.”

Joe was able to brainstorm some logical consequences and began the process of effective parenting.

Presenting Problems

While anything standing in the way of your success can be addressed, here are some common presenting problems for clients seeking counseling services. Please communicate your presenting concerns when scheduling an appointment.



Emotional Regulation

Sexuality Issues




Grief & Loss

Eating Disorders


Counseling Pricing

View Rates

Counseling FAQ

How do I pick a good counselor?

Choosing a good counselor is a matter of doing your homework and then trusting yourself as to which counselor stands out in someway as right for you. You will most likely know after your first session if you have connected with your counselor. If you have not, you should continue on your search until you find an individual you trust and feel comfortable with. Counseling is about establishing a safe relationship with a professional you feel good about.

How long does counseling take?

The length of counseling is dependent on the severity of the problem. An individual seeking better communication skills will need far fewer sessions that someone suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is helpful to be fair to yourself and the counseling process by committing to 7+ sessions for basic problems and 12+ sessions for multiple problems or past trauma.

What does counseling typically cost?

Counseling costs vary but since you are paying for a licensed professional with over six years of college education , you should expect costs to range from $100-$225 per session. Lower costs may be found at agencies who accept sliding scale payments or receive grants to offset costs. Higher costs may be found at agencies with specialized services or with clinicians in high demand.

What is a 3 day intensive?

A 3 day intensive provides professional services in a condensed amount of time. Instead of having one session a week for twelve weeks, the client decides to invest in spending multiple hours with a professional over the course of a few days. At this time, Michelle Ellwanger is the only clinician at our practice providing intensive services. Please call our office for pricing and details. Intensives are provided on a limited basis.

How do I help someone who needs counseling?

While you can be supportive and find resources to make the decision easier for that individual, ultimately, the individual will need to have some ownership in the process. Talk to the person to determine what fears or barriers they have that are preventing them from seeking professional services and then help them overcome these factors.

I tried counseling in the past and it did not work. Now what?

Every counseling situation is different. It is important to find a counselor that you like who is experienced in the area you are seeking assistance. Equally important, you should have treatment goals and assignments between sessions. The results and the progress you make will be proportionate to the effort you put into the process. By all means, go at your own pace but also set personal expectations and discuss these with your counselor.

Do I have to be diagnosed if I receive counseling?

A diagnosis is required when filing with an insurance company. When paying out of pocket, no diagnosis is required. If you have concerns about a diagnosis, have a discussion with your counselor at your first session to look at an option that works for you.

What counseling credentials or licensing requirements should I look for?

To be legally practicing, your counselor or therapist will have a minimum of six years of college. Master's level and doctorate level clinicians can be recognized by the following credentials after their name: MA, MS, PhD and PsyD. In addition to these academic credentials, notice the licensing credentials after their name. Common examples and what they stand for are listed below:

NCC = National Certified Counselor This is the initial step to become a counselor and requires passing a national exam.

LPCA = Licensed Professional Counselor Associate This is a designation for a new counselor being supervised.

LPC = Licensed Professional Counselor This is a designation for a counselor who is fully licensed and no longer required to have supervision.

LMFTA = Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate This is a designation for a new marriage and family therapist being supervised.

LMFT = Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist This is a designation for a marriage and family therapist who is fully licensed and no longer required to have supervision.

LCSWA= Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate This is a designation for a new social worker being supervised.

LCSW = Licensed Clinical Social Worker This is a designation for a social worker who is fully licensed and no longer required to have supervision.

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) These are doctorate level designations. Individuals holding these credentials may practice counseling as a clinician, director or professor.

M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) This is the designation for psychiatrists who have attended medical school. The vast majority of psychiatrists do not provide traditional psychotherapy sessions. Instead, they use their limited time to focus on prescribing and regulating medications.

There are amazing seasoned clinicians who are highly competent with dealing with specific mental health concerns who you may find best meet your personal needs. But there are also many new clinicians with an associate designation who are wonderfully qualified professionals offering services often at a lower price. Do your homework and then pick someone that you connect with and trust for a successful counseling experience.

Need privacy and focused individual attention?

3 Day Intensives provide extended time with Michelle Ellwanger to tackle problem areas.

Subject to limited availability and an initial screen process. We are not currently scheduling any new intensive until late fall 2017.

Contact us to learn more.

Counseling Intensives

Wellness Workshops

Take the time to look at where you are heading.

Our wellness workshops are offered seasonally at Mystic Ridge Farm. Workshops focus on giving participants a toolbox of skills to help them be more successful in life.

We are now accepting registration for our Spring 2018 wellness workshop. Email us for more information.