Meet Our Counselors

Edliz "Edi" Wade, APC, NCC, DCC

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Hello, my name is Edi Wade, and I'm a mental health counselor at Atlanta Counseling and Coaching!

On Becoming a Counselor

My journey to becoming a counselor started the Summer of 2012 when I experienced a moderate panic attack and got rejected from nursing school all within a couple of days. The day after the panic attack, I drove back to Gainesville, Florida where I attended undergraduate school (GO GATORS!) and began seeking counseling services. Needless to say, I was struggling with anxiety and life transition issues. After several weeks of counseling and changing my major three times in a day (such a millennial move) I landed on studying Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. On my first day back of my junior year of college, the professor of the introductory course for this major discussed what being in the Family, Youth, and Community Sciences meant; having a passion for others and learning how to turn that passion into a career. Between growing exponentially through my own personal counseling journey and being a part of a program dedicated to supporting others, counseling became the natural next step. I applied to graduate programs the following fall and began my graduate studies at Wake Forest University.

Professional Background + Counseling Philosophy

During my internship year of graduate school, I had the privilege of interning  at one of the most efficacious treatment facilities in the country, Skyland Trail, where I worked with individuals experiencing severe mental health disorders. I was grateful to work as a cognitive behavioral therapy counselor there after my internship. After that position, I began working in private practice and am so excited about being a counselor at Atlanta Counseling and Coaching.

Working with individuals who experience moderate to severe mental health issues at Skyland allowed me to fully understand the diagnostic processes. It also helped me to find the most effective tools to help those experiencing anxiety, depression, thought disorders, and interpersonal difficulties. This knowledge, in tangent with the fact that the counseling process started for me as a client, has aided in a full comprehensive outlook when it comes to my counseling philosophy. I've been able to build empathy for clients and help them externalize their difficulties and understand the issues they are facing are separate from who they are and what they are seeking in life. 

I love seeing the moment of understanding, relief, or acceptance that comes with building insight as well as celebrating with clients when they see positive outcomes of healthy and adaptive behavioral changes. These two components, insight development and  behavioral change go hand in hand in my counseling philosophy. When it comes to insight development, it's important for me to help clients find their "why" behind changing their lifestyles or working on certain skills. Otherwise, motivation can dwindle. However, you can still have all the insight in the world, but not know what to do with that insight- that's the behavioral component. To me, good long-lasting work takes place when a client understands their "why" and knows how to express that "why" in day-to-day living. 

I value independence and self-motivation, and I check-in with clients regularly and encourage them to verbalize the accomplishments they've made. This satisfies two necessities: 1. They understand they can do things on their own 2. They affirm their congruent and authentic selves.  

In my practice, you're going to get honest and direct feedback. However, humor and not taking ourselves too seriously make this feedback gentle and non-judgemental. It's important to establish a good relationship early on, because the sooner we trust each other, the sooner we get to work, and the sooner you feel better.

Clients I See

When clients start therapy with me, I ask them to be open and willing to the types of activities and discussions we'll be having in session. Clients don't have to be right or know all the answers but just try to have open minds to ideas that could be helpful and insights that may have to be made. Most of the clients I see are young adults who are working through transitions in life (i.e. marriage, separation, career, graduation, independence, etc.), or identity formation, as well as individuals who struggle with anxiety, depression, and interpersonal conflict. 

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Meet Our Counselors

Lisette Infante, LPC, Clinical Director

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Hello, my name is Lisette Infante, the Clinical Director of Atlanta Counseling and Coaching.

On Becoming a Counselor

I can say that I became a counselor because I care about people, and I want to help them. I know, I know it sounds cliché -- and honestly, it’s so much more than I can put into words. I come from a big Cuban family and that entails big personalities, high cultural energy --  not to mention a million cousins. I had my very own, built-in micro-society. It was later in life that I realized I had learned how to navigate complex relationships and many times found myself being a peacemaker because of this environment. This experience helped me develop interpersonal and listening skills that I use today as a therapist. I never really thought about these characteristics as skills -- it was just the way I operated. I would like to say that I have always wanted to be a therapist, but the truth is that I didn’t realize this was my passion until I was a sophomore in college. It was in my Social Psychology class that a light bulb went off, and I realized this was what I was meant to do. The rest was history. I realized that I loved, and was good at, putting the pieces of someone’s puzzle together and helping them see the whole picture of their lives, symptoms, and goals.

Professional Background + Counseling Philosophy

I've been in the counseling field for about 10 years now and worn many hats in meeting the needs of clients. In additional to a mental health counselor, I’ve worked as a case manager where I’ve supported clients in their independence and worked on the business side as well. These different roles allowed me to come to truly appreciate and understand people as a whole and not just the “problem” they are coming in and seeking support around. In these 10 years of practice, I’ve primarily  worked with individuals who experience severe and chronic mental health issues such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety, and Personality disorders. I’ve worked with clients individually and in group therapy. The last few years I've specialized in working with thought disorders.

I'm grateful to be able to help clients give a voice to their experiences and feelings when they're confused and making connections that aren't grounded in reality. I also love the journey of helping clients learn who they are outside of the symptoms they experience. Personal characteristic and symptoms often get tangled up and lumped together, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes, in order to reinforce the difference between symptomatic experience and personality traits, I’ve supported clients in developing an independent lifestyle. This includes me visiting their homes in order to help them build structure in their lives and set "life-worth-living" goals even if symptoms persisted.

One of the most meaningful compliments I have ever received came from a colleague who said they felt “seen” by me. That is exactly the type of experience I strive for each of my clients to experience and encourage the counselors who work with me to pursue. I feel this approach helps strengthen and foster a strong therapeutic relationship between therapist and client. Research has also shown this relationship is the biggest contributing factor in whether someone gets better and is able to move towards change. As I like to say, "We're all in the process of growth." 

In my practice, you’re probably not going to get the blank therapist stare from me or any of the counselors who work with me here. We always strive to be genuine and honest in session with clients. Sometimes, that may include telling someone something they don't want to hear or challenge them by offering a different perspective. That’s where the commitment to considering different views or explanations comes in. I can promise this: Feedback of any kind will never be coming from a place of judgement or delivered in a non-empathetic way.

Clients I See

When starting therapy with me, I do not ask my clients to have it all figured out or take everything I say as the complete answer to all their problems. I ask my clients to be open to considering other causes or ways of looking at the world.  I want us to explore “the big picture” and all the pieces of the puzzle to figure out what is not working.