Meet Our Therapists: Alicia Winkle

Alicia Winkle talkspace therapist headshot

Therapists are as unique as the clients who seek their help. Talkspace’s “Meet Our Therapists” series offers intimate access to the mental health professionals who provide care. It’s a view of their passion for making therapy more accessible. Check out our latest interview below!

Name: Alicia Winkle

Licensing Info: Licensed Professional Counselor [LPC #3290] in Alabama

Time Working With Talkspace: 2 years

Time Working as a Therapist: 5 years

Why are you working in therapy/mental health?

I’ve always wanted to be in the helping field. Originally, I was in school to be a nurse practitioner. After having anxiety issues myself and dropping out of nursing school and college for a semester, I changed my major to psychology. From there I decided I wanted to help people overcome their own obstacles and make changes in their lives by working as a therapist. I went back to school at the University of North Alabama and got my master’s degree in Community Counseling. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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The Stigma of Depression

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The stigma of depression is alive.

When we have depression, we are “lesser people.” We are incapable of living a “normal” life, holding down a job, or keeping a relationship. We are the ones that “normal” people don’t know how to deal with. They keep away, because we are contagious. They don’t want to contract the “crazy.”

At least, this is what many people think. None of it is true, of course. This is the stigma that follows us around daily when we suffer from depression — like a mosquito we keep swatting away that keeps coming back to bite us.

On whom can we place the blame for the creation and longevity of the stigma? Our friends and family who don’t fully understand depression? The media? Society as a whole? Continue reading The Stigma of Depression

Divorcing A Sociopath

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It’s been nearly four years since I left my ex-husband. When I think back to that time, I think about how naive I was, how foggy and confused. I had never heard of a personality disorder. I still believed that dangerous people would be easy to spot, that they came wielding chain saws and screaming, “I’m a dangerous person!”

Sigh. There was so much I did not know.

Continue reading Divorcing A Sociopath

How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

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Ben learns he is not allowed to take personal calls during business hours at his new job at a strict government agency. His supervisor gives him an emergency number so family members can reach him when absolutely necessary.

The news immediately fills him with dread. Ben’s daughter, Lisa, has borderline personality disorder. She calls him a few times a week, often while he’s at work. A supportive and understanding father, Ben was happy to chat with her at his old office where there were no limitations on phone calls.

Now he has to inform his daughter that their mid-week check ins will need to be less frequent and occur only in the evening. With noticeable reluctance, he provides the emergency number to Lisa.

Continue reading How Borderline Personality Disorder Impacts Relationships

Traveling With Anxiety

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Mental illnesses like anxiety disorders often hold us back from living life to its full potential. For many people, traveling is a dream. Who doesn’t want to see the world, explore new arts and cultures, and try native foods?

Anxiety is a naggy voice in our heads that loves to tell us what we can’t do. It creates scenarios in our mind, generating “what-ifs” that make us scared to live our daily lives, let alone venture out of our comfort zone.

Once your own voice overpowers the nagging, anxious one and you decide to take the plunge and travel, well, it’s expected that a little anxiety will kick in. Even people without anxiety often feel anxious when they’ve got a flight approaching.

As a very anxious person who just returned from a month-long Euro-trip, I have a lot of knowledge to share that can help, no matter where you’re traveling to, or for how long. Never in a million years did I think that I could travel successfully without having a nervous breakdown. These tips will help calm your nerves weeks before departure through the day you land back home. Continue reading Traveling With Anxiety

How You Can Help People With Depression

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More than 300 million people in the world are living with depression, according to the World Health Organization. Chances are you know someone who has struggled to cope with this often debilitating mental health condition. They might be a friend, co-worker, family member, even your significant other.

If you want to support them, the first step is ensuring they actually have the illness. A classic mistake is confusing normal sadness or grief with clinical depression. People need support in both situations, but helping someone with depression requires different methods. Continue reading How You Can Help People With Depression

How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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John was having trouble managing his impulses. Whether it was blurting out vulgar language during a dinner with his girlfriend’s parents or crossing a line and insulting his boss in the middle of a meeting, he was constantly getting in trouble. To advance in his career and maintain a healthy relationship, he needed to change. Eventually he decided to set a goal: control what was coming out of his mouth.

This strategy failed miserably. John realized that the goal was vague and there was no one to help him reach it. It did not seem fair to burden his girlfriend and co-workers with his behavior. He needed the help of a neutral party but wasn’t sure where to find one.

One of the biggest benefits of therapy is working with a professional you are paying to help set goals that are realistic and measurable. A therapist keeps clients accountable and pushes them to pursue what they want. Continue reading How Online Therapy Can Help You Reach Your Goals

4 Reasons to Try Therapy at Least Once

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Going to therapy isn’t a subject many people can talk about comfortably, work must be done to keep trying to normalize mental health care. Managing crises or mental illnesses is only one part of psychotherapy. It’s about admitting that sometimes we need help to become the best version of ourselves and live a happier life.

If you haven’t tried working with a therapist yet, you might find that it could benefit you. Here are four reasons why you should give therapy a shot at least once.

1. Unbiased Advice

If you already talk with friends or family about problems in your life and get advice from them, that’s great! It’s healthy to have a group of loved ones to vent to, but they might not be giving the best advice. To ensure you can trust what someone’s telling you about a situation, speak with a therapist who’s emotionally removed from the situation. They’ll help you see the bigger picture and decide how to move forward strategically from there. Continue reading 4 Reasons to Try Therapy at Least Once

How Can Single Moms Heal After Domestic Violence?

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Getting out of an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult obstacles single moms can face. Summoning the courage and tenacity to walk away when they have no clue what the future will hold takes gall and serious faith.

Fortunately, there is hope on the other side. Leaving an abusive relationship is only the beginning. Here are five ways to begin the journey of healing to help you not only survive, but thrive.

1.Talk to Someone

Get professional help. Sharing your story is one of the most crucial ways to heal productively after surviving relationship violence. Although the hurt and shame of it may continue to feel like a dark cloud over your head, one way to lessen the pain is to regain control and own your own story.

Sharing with close friends and family members is a start, but going to a licensed professional is much better. A psychotherapist trained in relationship trauma is prepared to offer a safe space as well as an objective disposition. His or her job is to guide people through pain while they are on the road to becoming their whole, healed selves. It is powerful to work with someone whose primary duty is to listen and help dissect the truth. Communicating with a person capable of supporting you in the journey of healing while sharing tools of empowerment can make a world of difference. Continue reading How Can Single Moms Heal After Domestic Violence?

The History (and Future) of Addiction Treatment

addiction support group therapy meeting

The fact that addiction, like other chronic diseases, can benefit from professional treatment isn’t something we’ve always known to be true. The roots of that understanding and its gradual evolution go back surprisingly far, however. While these do not follow a straight, linear progression, they offer some valuable lessons into what works best at improving recovery outcomes and where professional treatment is headed.

History’s Understanding of Addiction

The treatment legacy that today’s addiction professionals have inherited has helped to shed light on what works in improving recovery outcomes. For example, the concept of addiction as a disease — that alcoholism is an illness that can be medically treated — goes back quite a long way in our nation’s history. Continue reading The History (and Future) of Addiction Treatment