A Conversation with Mental Health and Addiction Counselor Virginia Manning

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Not too long ago, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published shocking news. According to their findings, almost 8 million American adults battled both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders, in 2014.

And yet talk of mental health and addiction are still very much taboo subjects in every-day conversation. This despite the fact that approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. And this despite the fact that 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. are addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Why is this? Why does this epidemic continue to grow right under the nation's nose with little attention and with little intervention? Perhaps it's because the majority of people still don't comprehend how mental health illnesses or addictions work.

Take one of the most common mental health illnesses: depression. Most adults struggle to understand how a person can't simply be happy by mere will. "Just be positive," is a common well-meaning platitude. "Look on the bright side." "Think happy thoughts." They utter these words without regard to modern science and many a researcher's assertion that depression is actually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain or by brain regions that have been altered at the chemical or cellular level (sometimes by early trauma).

This same lack of understanding also tends to surface when adults examine the topic of drug addiction. From the National Institute of Drug Abuse: "Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so."

Fortunately, we live in a time when both mental health illnesses and addictions can be successfully treated to help people live more productive lives.

In fact, it’s a cause that Virginia Manning, MEd, LPC, LCDC has dedicated her career to. A professional counselor who specializes in mental health and addiction, Virginia has spent 11 years in counseling and education. She’s CEO of GinMan Consulting and the founder of Push Pass Life™ and Destined to Rise, and is currently developing a nonprofit program called Check Your “SELF”.

What led this Houston, Texas local to a career in mental health and addiction?

“My mother,” Virginia answered in a recent interview. “Her struggle with depression and alcohol, which ultimately led to her completion of suicide, is the driving force behind my passion to help others defeat the struggles related to mental health and addiction disorders.”

And the assistance Virginia offers through GinMan Consulting is robust. In addition to offering mental health and addiction counseling (for individuals, couples, families, and groups) complete with action plans to overcome symptoms, Virginia is also a motivational speaker who addresses topics like depression, stress, relationships, addiction, and success. But that’s not all. She also offers support groups and programs that provide inspiration, motivation, guidance, and support for her clients, including a program specially designed for corporations that allows them to provide in-house support to employees dealing with mental health and addiction challenges that affect work place productivity, leave time, and insurance rates.

It’s a tall order, but Virginia is only getting started.

“Every night when I lay down to sleep, I reflect on what I did for the day. I think about who I helped and how…and what more I could have done. That reflection process structures my next day, week, month, and lifetime goals. No matter which side of the bed I wake up on, the sunny side or the rainy side, my spirit of purpose lifts me to execute my mission to help push someone past their life challenge.”

It’s that very dedication and heart that wins her praise among her clients. Those who’ve experienced Virginia’s counseling techniques and support through one of her many services and programs testify to her authenticity and caring nature. They develop self-esteem where before it was non-existent. They find motivation to accomplish tasks that they could not complete before. They move forward in life. They rise. They grow. They become who they always wanted to be.

“I meet the client exactly where they are,” says Virginia, “and then I provide the strategies needed to lift them to where they are striving to go in life. There is not a moment of interaction that is not infused with motivation and support.”

Recent statistics assert that only about 11% of Americans ever receive treatment for their addictions. But Virginia is not discouraged by this small number. If anything, it’s informed the way she approaches her work.

“My purpose of guiding others to their next level of success is very important to my mission. There’s an unfortunate stigma associated with mental health and addiction that makes it difficult for people to seek the proper support. My foremost goal, therefore, is to develop a therapeutic relationship that reduces the client’s hesitation to seek counseling for struggles related to mental health and addiction setbacks. I want people to feel comfortable and at ease enough to properly pursue and then implement the action steps that will instill in them the momentum to rise above and push past life’s challenges.”

Clearly she’s doing something right at GinMan Consulting. She’s recently released a book (available for free download here), has a number of programs available through her counseling practice, and has plans to expand in new ways in the coming years. While the subjects of mental health and addiction haven’t taken centerstage in our daily conversations as a society, we can take heart in knowing that champions like Virginia are out there in the world, giving the cause their all and leading us into a future where people can overcome their challenges without judgment and live their best lives imaginable.

* * *

Speaker and author Virginia Manning, MEd, LPC, LCDC is on a mission to help people push past life’s challenges by equipping them with the motivation, inspiration, guidance, and support they need to live more productive and fulfilling lives. With 11 years of experience in counseling and education, she’s the CEO of GinMan Consulting and the founder of numerous robust programs and services designed to help people maximize their lives and rise above their struggles.

Download her free e-book here to learn more about the mental health and addiction challenges that hinder a successful lifestyle and how you can overcome them. Additionally, you can learn more about Virginia and her work at www.ginmanconsulting.com.

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