WESTFIELD, NJ —When Nancy Arvizzigno, licensed professional counselor, opened her second-floor office at 66 Elm St. in downtown Westfield in November, she designed the small, comfortable space to feel more like her living room than a therapist’s office.

“I love the downtown area,” she told TAP. Neighboring business owners have been welcoming and, she added, “It’s a nice building. It doesn’t feel like a sterile office building.”

Arvizzigno provides individual and group counseling for a variety of issues, such as stress management, working through crises “and sometimes just dealing with life, with whatever is coming their way.” Often, Arvizzigno sees women who feel tired and overwhelmed. “They just seem to need permission to take care of themselves and take a break,” she explained.

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In the past, Arvizzigno has worked in schools, for agencies and for Autism New Jersey, a non-profit educational and advocacy agency for families who have a child with autism. As a counselor she has worked in the fields of addictions and eating disorders and as a special education teacher she has worked with emotionally disturbed adolescents and students with ADHD.

“I feel that my diverse background is an asset to this practice,” said Arvizzigno, who collaborates with psychiatrists when medication is necessary.

“I bring a creative approach,” said Arvizzigno, who includes practices like yoga breathing and art therapy as well as “my sense of humor” to help adults and children work through problems.

“It’s not your traditional sit-on-the-couch-and-talk therapy. Every client is different, so the therapy I do with each client is different,” she said.  “People say they’re comfortable with me, that they like coming to counseling, that they leave here with a sense of hope.”

Arvizzigno encourages prospective clients to come in for a free 30-minute meet-and-greet to see if her style is right for them.

“It’s a big risk to start therapy and if they have that opportunity I think it just helps people feel more comfortable,” said Arvizzigno. “If people are interested, they can call and I’ll talk on the phone with them, too.”

If she’s not the right person to help, Arvizzigno is happy to refer people to one of the many other professionals she’s gotten to know over the years. “It’s not about building my business. It’s about them,” she told TAP.

Support groups are an important part of her growing practice, as well. Currently, Arvizzigno is forming three support groups that she will facilitate—one for children of divorce, one for women going through menopause and one for new moms.

“The benefit of support groups is amazing,” said Arvizzigno, who for years has run a support group for families who have a child with autism that meets at Childrens’ Specialized Hospital.

Suggestions for other support groups are welcome.  “If there’s a need, I will run a group,” she said.

Whether in a group-setting or one-on-one, when she helps people, “It really feels good,” said Arvizzigno. “I just love what I do.”

For more information, visit http://www.nancyarvizzignolpc.com.