Barb Elgin, MSW, LCSW-C

Video Counseling | Psychotherapy | Life Coaching | Motivational Speaking
Towson and Baltimore County, MD

Because mental wellness is key to 'having it all'

Welcome


Barb Elgin has been providing professional services in Maryland and Florida for 30 years.

Welcome

I want to welcome you to my site and my life's work. I've been honored to practice as a clinical social worker now for 30 years. And, wow, has that time flown. Why? Because my work in the community and with thousands of clients has made a significant difference. Good, honest work nourishes the soul. I truly feel I've created a 'sweet spot' kind of life.

What is 'the sweet spot'?  Well, just put your senses into that phrase and you will feel it!  Sweet - meaning tasty, meaning something you want more of. But the sweet spot is not sugary and doesn't add to your waistline.  This sweet spot is more substance, almost more 'meat and potatoes' with a delicious, yet small and healthy, sweet treat for dessert!

The sweet spot I am referring to is finding what makes life 'flow' for you and doing more of it.


To request your initial meeting with me just call 410-967-3848.






During my 40 years as an adult and my 30 year career, the rapidly accelerating pace of complex changes - brought on by the collision of forces such as globalization, population explosion and technology - has created exciting and complicated new challenges for today's men and women.

So, as I turn towards the next chapter of my life and this career I've loved, I am heartened to find a connection again between myself and what I can offer a world in need.

The challenges of living, loving and working today are interesting and immense. Whether we are talking about the unfolding demands in the workplace, finances, health, spirituality or relationships, many of us are seeking support to become the next best iteration of who we are, who we love and what we are accomplishing.

All of this excitement creates stress, anxiety and the danger of burnout.

On the personal front, I've enjoyed so much of my life.  And so much of it has been a positive learning experience, even the struggles as a young gay teen in the 1970's, losing two of the great loves of my life, family challenges and building a successful life as a single woman. And because I've spent over 40 years in the workplace (going back to a paper route at age twelve), working right there alongside workers just like you AND I've coached, consulted and treated employees at all levels - including CEO's - who are facing the challenges of consistent success...

I am uniquely positioned to help you. 

I've been there, have experienced the stresses of today's personal and fast paced job environment, I've suffered similar stress and have had to weather it as well as I've seen so many struggling just like you, I have much wisdom to share.

So, whether you are 30, starting a family and balancing the demands of marriage, parenting and working; you're 50 and harvesting your early adulthood and it's wisdom to make the next chapter more authentic and satisfying or you are 70 and you are adjusting to working now to some degree (or not), you need to learn the skills of resilience you will be glad you have as you move along your life's journey.

I look forward to guiding you to make the most of the days you have on this planet. Even more exciting:  You too can live your 'sweet spot' life!  You are unique and offer something special for your loved ones and the world itself. However, it is vital for you to first take care of yourself, so that you can be there for those you love and the experiences you most care about. At some point, all of us will need a break or a boost. You don't have to go it alone. Reach out and give yourself what you need - whether that be a new perspective, resources or solutions you couldn't have thought of on your own.

I am here for you. I run a simple, yet powerful solo practice and I take time with all of my clients. You will not be rushed and you will find our work together energizing and refreshing.

I look forward to meeting you!


Barb Elgin LCSW-C




Medicare-Covered Therapy and Counseling


I like working with a variety of adult populations and one of my favorites are adults 65 and up.  Today, 65 IS the new 55.  Senior citizens are more active than ever and living longer in a healthy manner as well.

Mental wellness is not assured at any age and for the geriatric set, there are unique challenges and opportunities.  Did you know, for example, that over fifteen percent of those of us ages 60 and above will have a mental disorder?

I started out my mental health career with a graduate school training internship in what is called a continuing care retirement community or, CCRC. There are many of them in the Maryland area. CCRC's are often quite pricey, but they do deliver a continuum of living environments that support you as you 'age in place'. People usually move into a CCRC when they are still healthy and independent. The high entrance fees cover you as you age, and if you ever need more intensive levels of care, such as assisted living, memory care or nursing home care.

Then, I spent 2004-2014 living in retirement mecca, close to The Villages, Florida. Those 10 years really broadened my practice experience working with active adults 55 and up. I ran an outpatient program in The Villages that was quite unique. I served men and women from midlife through their 80's in this clinic, which counted as it's clients many fine men and women dealing with the challenges of aging in paradise. In fact, don't buy that hype. People do usually take their problems with them, whether it be depression, substance abuse, caregiver stress, loss of physical faculties, etc.

Part of my time with that program was spent on the inpatient unit of the program's psychiatric hospital, treating adult clients whose needs were often life threatening, due to severe types of mental illness.

I also spent much of those 10 years as an independent, private practitioner providing mental health treatment to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout north and central Florida. I called myself a 'traveling therapist' and I traversed large distances visiting clients who didn't have access to mental health care otherwise.

I even sought out specialized training in pet assisted therapy in Orlando, Florida and incorporated my miniature pinscher Lucy, into my work in Florida, which was a joy to many clients, for many years.

So today, as I've returned to my home town, Baltimore, Maryland, I am building my practice for seniors. I have an office in Towson, Maryland and am available on a limited basis for in home therapy visits in the Parkville, Perry Hall, White Marsh, Rosedale and Nottingham, MD areas.

A lot of adult children reach out to me, seeking care for their mom or dad. As busy workers, they are doing the best they can and are seeking that 'something that's missing' in the care of their aging loved one. Often, for example, kids worry about their widowed mom who recently downsized into apartment living and is experiencing problems in getting used to that lifestyle, after decades of living in their own home.

Or their dad has suddenly (or after a long illness) lost their spouse to cancer or dementia and they are grieving without professional support. It is incredibly difficult for many men - for example - when their wives predecease them.

Either way, in any of these scenarios (and others too), I can help.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Ready to start solving your stress?  Call me 410-967-3848 and we'll set up a free, no obligation phone consult to discuss.  Leave me a message and let me know when is a good time for you to talk in the next few days.

Barb Elgin






Men's Depression


There is a male mental health crisis happening right now in the United States.  Men are often 'suffering silently'.

But it's also a time of opportunity.  We live at an exciting time.  Why?  Because more and more men are turning to therapy!  

That's right. I'm sure the percentage is still way too low, however, I've noticed a somewhat 'dramatic' increase of men calling me in the past year. Back a few years ago, in my practice - which at the time was in White Marsh, Maryland - my clientele was at least 95% women, with only the occasional guy.   I was also running a very popular women's group that had been running for years. At the time I toyed with the idea of starting a men's issues group, but I doubted I could find enough men.

Lately, however, men are increasingly reaching out. How?  Usually it's through their insurance provider list, their EAP (through their employer) or a primary care provider.  Sometimes through an internet search.  However it happens, this trend of men 'seeking help for mental health' is is a good thing.  In the past, many of the men who  came to therapy because they had to: either a partner giving them an ultimatum or a referral from an employer or even, the courts.

But the trend of men asking for help with mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety is something new. The ubiquitous-ness of educational messages and positive role models such as athletes and celebrities willing to speak up about their therapy experiences - young men like olympian swimmer Michael Phelps, actor and wrestler Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and even old schoolers like football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw - is perhaps something to truly celebrate, as it shows the most competitive and macho guys face the same mental health problems and concerns women do.

Some men are realizing they need help with their difficult life issues, before someone asks them to.  Or because they want to help their relationship.  And, somehow they're looking beyond the standard societal prescription for males that 'asking for help implies weakness'.

HERE'S THE NOT SO 'SECRET' SECRET:  Asking for help may take the most courage of all!

I intend to be there for those men who are ready to take care of themselves better. Indeed, seeking help for one's mental health requires a recognition that the mind and emotions ARE as important to take care of as the body.

How is it that a woman can relate to a man's issues?

Well, I say, why not? The many frustrating feelings that men have, I can relate. Can't you? If we would just look at men as people first, perhaps we'd get over judging or expecting men to 'be a certain way'.

I've had lots of male clients who have faced insurmountable odds and still pulled through. Men still are held to a high bar in divorce and custody proceedings. Men as maybe you've heard it said over time have in our modern culture often 'prostituted' themselves to dangerous and extra stressful jobs, because they paid more, so that they could provide.

Men's stress is just as damaging to men as women's stress is to them. It's not a battle about who has more stress. We all do in today's world. I like one expert who calls today's stresses 'wicked' and another way of looking at it is the complexity of today's stresses. Just like women aren't as hardwired to keep up with some of today's demands, men too are trying to adjust to this higher functioning, frontal cortex world. Meaning, all of us are trying to figure out how to become stronger AND faster AND smarter today.

Tall order.

I've also spent most of the 40 years of my adult life working hard in the world. There has not been time for me for expensive manicures, pedicures and hairdos. Yes! I've not had someone to nurture me, much like guys, if they have a great mate, get nurtured. So I can relate to being a sole provider.

Also, now that I am at more of a 'motherly' or even, 'grandmotherly' age, guys feel safer to talk to that sort of figure. There isn't the distraction of their attraction. Well, for the most part, LOL.

LET ME HELP. Are you a guy feeling super stressed out to the point you have been feeling really down for over a couple of weeks? Have you been drinking or using substances more to quell the emotional pain? Do you find your girlfriend or wife just doesn't understand you? MAYBE I CAN HELP.

Call me anytime 410-967-3848 and we'll set up a brief phone consult to see if therapy or coaching is right for you.  I will return your call within 24 business hours.

Please note: I do not provide crisis services.  If you are feeling like you are in withdrawal from a substance, or you might harm yourself or someone else, please call 911, your local mobile crisis center or go to your nearest ER.



Burnout Prevention for Society's Healers


Emotional wellness for those workers and professionals whose job is healing others is vital and often under served.  Who suffers the most in this scenario?  Patients.  Clients.  And all of us have been on that side of the table and experienced the negative effects. When your primary doctor spends five minutes with you and rushes the interaction so much they truly don't get a sense of you or even judge you (put you in a diagnostic box), and you don't truly discuss what your concerns are, what's the result?  Missed opportunity for supportive counseling and proper diagnosis? Perhaps.

Or, how about when your therapist or counselor rushes you out the door at minute 45 just when it is most important for you to share something vital that only came out of your discussion because your therapist was truly taking his or her time with you and really put their care into the session? That's the result.

In the health care marketplace, for example, there are dozens of healers taking care of us.  There are physicians, nurses in hospitals, physical therapists, massage therapists and many more.  In my years working in a variety of settings, for example, perhaps the most 'put upon' nurse I've seen is the nurse working in the inpatient psych hospitals!.   Who loses?  Patients, most of all.  How?  The best nurses leave the field. When a psych unit is understaffed, it can become gravely dangerous.  Look it up: how many patients have died on inpatient psych units because there wasn't enough staff to observe a suicidal or homicidal client and another patient was murdered. It happens more than you think.

I was trained as a social worker over 30 years ago.  In my time since I've practiced on my own and as part of organizations large and small, public/governmental and private.  I have to sadly say that many mental health practice environments are cruel, both for clients and for it's employees.

Our leadership organizations are not much better. As a social worker I have experienced the lack of support in my profession for the types of environmental supports we need to practice to the best of our abilities over time. Our professional organizations are more concerned it seems with looking good as they serve the needy, but they don't spend enough time serving those who serve those sick and needy!

Doctors and nurses are stressed unbelievably so in today's health care system. Those trained 'the old way', meaning doctors now, lament the better hours the trainees coming up are getting. I say: it's about time! Stop talking badly about them and instead turn your frustration towards the true culprits: management and the hospital administrators and hospital owners who should make helping you stay your healthiest so you can do your best on the job!  It's not just your fault when your family life suffers because of the demands your hospital likely places on you.  

And if you burnout?  No one notices or cares or likely - if they do - they tend to blame the worker instead of the sick environment and conditions we are practicing under.  Yes, one large HMO I know had it's workers go out on strike due to concerns like 'too large patient loads'. They won a concession, but now, when patients go there for care, they find they receive one session and no offer for a follow up.  People on medications are refilled often without even being seen.

Of course, practicalities are at issue. Despite all of what I've just said, we are still one of the most inefficient spenders of medical care in the world. And still, we don't pay our healers enough, for the most part. A few at the top make the most.

But it's not just money, although that is a big problem. We need to infuse our care systems with more resources. THE BOTTOM LINE IS SUCH:  If we don't patients suffer.  Already, there are many areas in America where the wait lists to see a doctor or therapist are months long.  10 years from now, unless we improve working conditions enough to attract the best and brightest to these fields, we will be in big trouble!

Healers burnout and either hurt other healers by verbal abuse or hurt patients. Our best healers often leave their field, because they burned out.

My work as a social work professional is coming down to it's last years. I've loved what I do and I've had to take big risks to practifce in a way that keeps me providing the best help I can. Many aren't as courageous as me however. in this final 10-15 years or so of my career, I hope to be a big part of addressing some of the concerns I've noted above.

I specialize in counseling health care professionals who are sick and tired of working in the sick system and are ready to heal themselves, and challenge for the changes that need to happen ASAP.

Is that you?  If you are burning out or you are burned out and you don't know where else to turn, call me 410-967-3848 and we'll figure out how to get you unstuck!

Barb's Blog


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