Sharon Szalejko

(BA, MSW, LCSW-C)

About Me

I have been a social worker for over ten years. I am an active-duty Navy spouse and Mom and understand the stress involved with living a military life, whether it's deployments or long hours or simply being on-call 24/7. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with spouses that struggle with the military life, and normalizing some of the problems that arise is very fulfilling.

I want to let you know about some of the work that I've done and loved over the last twelve years.

I originally started working with high risk children in NC, but this position ended after 10 months as I left the position due to a personal choice to leave the state.
Working with high-risk children was a difficult position. The children that I saw were all seen for state mandated therapy in my office and brought by either parents or agency sponsors. I did a lot of art based therapy with these children as I did not get much if any access to the parents for parental guidance. I helped the children work on self-esteem and self reliance in addition to doing regular abuse screenings. Moving forward to 2012-2015....the past three years have been at my private practice. I have worked more with families than children individually. I have worked on developing and maintaining good parenting skills and maintaining good boundaries and limits. Some families really appreciated the "Magic 123"approach. Where others preferred individual plans that worked for their individual families (whether it be a family with a child on the spectrum that required time lines and consistency or twins with ADHD that used behavior modification charts with motivating factors dictating the modifications and of course consistency).

From 2015-2017 I was blessed to have obtained a job as the Regional Director of a community center in Jacksonville, NC. I was able to use my skills and experience to supervise young and new Social Workers and LPC's. I was able to network with the local community and grow the small business into a budding program with immense potential. When my family and I left the NC area I was proud to have been a part of this growing community center and knew that I was leaving the families, children, and the community in a healthier place than when I started.

I did work for a short period in and inpatient adult psychiatric unit and after only a short time I knew that this was not my calling. After my inpatient high-risk psychiatric experience I went back to my roots which I found while attending Baylor University and working on my MSW. While I was in school was when grief and bereavement became my clinical and academic focus. I have always had a passion for those experiencing loss. My internships were with a local hospice in Mexia, TX and another specialty clinic in Waco, TX that worked exclusively with Alzheimer's patients. I did my master's thesis on Alzheimer's and sensory therapy.
Alzheimer's disease is a very difficult disease to help people through because the caregiver and the patient need two totally different things. The caregiver is dealing with premature loss and anticipatory grief while the patient is dealing with reminiscent therapy and often sensory therapy.

I moved to Baltimore Maryland and started my work at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center @ Johns Hopkins Hospital and loved every minute I was there in oncology. My specialties were gastro-intestinal cancers and melanoma. I sat weekly on the tumor boards for the weekly reviewed cases and had the privilege of working with the families that were chosen for treatment. I met them on their first day and stayed with these families until death or discharge of treatment. I had the honor to present more than on grand rounds (one on Ethics and the other one "Difficult Families"). Being able to have a part in any of my families journeys was a privilege. These families allowed me to guide them on one of the most personal losses in life the death of a loved one. Grief and bereavement have always been close to me and my practice and I encourage any survivors to thrive not simply survive and am willing to work on that concept with clients.
During my private practice work I rely heavily on solution focused approaches and my therapy is very narrative in nature and requires work from not only me, but mostly the client. I do use cognitive behavioral techniques when appropriate, but I am not afraid of delving into any theory or technique that I believe will assist the client.
I have surprisingly enjoyed working with couples. Couples (in my experience) tend to have a different kind of motivation for change. They are either more willing to work or they come in already being finished (in which case they don't stay long). I believe in teaching my couples not only how to hear but to listen. Empathy and validation are constant focuses in regards to my couples.

As far as my individual work with those experiencing anxiety or depression the idea is to focus more on what is causing the problems/anxieties than it is to focus on the physical aspects of the depression and anxiety. I as the therapist know and can see that you are depressed or anxious, and the physical manifestations that these diagnoses are creating, but my job is to isolate the "why?" and help to work you through the trigger. I do not hesitate to recommend seeing an MD when I recognize that talk-therapy is not where a client needs to start.

I love what I do and my job is something that look forward to every day. I would be happy and it would be a privilege to help and assist in any way possible.


Specialties

  • Stress, Anxiety
  • Relationship issues
  • Grief
  • Parenting issues

I also have experience in LGBT, Family conflicts, Trauma and abuse, Intimacy-related issues, Eating disorders, Sleeping disorders, Anger management, Self esteem, Career difficulties, Bipolar disorder, Depression

Years of Experience: 10

Services Offered


  • Messaging

  • Live Chat

  • Phone

Licensing

LCSW-C #14010 (Expires: 2020-10-31)


Reviews

Written by S.Y. on Dec 01, 2018 after counseling with Sharon for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, grief, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, self esteem, and career difficulties

Sharon is really great she’s helped me so much and I really appreciate her.

Written by A.L. on Nov 25, 2018 after counseling with Sharon for 1 month on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, lgbt, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, intimacy-related issues, sleeping disorders, self esteem, and bipolar disorder

She provides professional and reliable services and I would recommend this ap to anyone and everyone who needs help.

Written by V.I. on Oct 28, 2018 after counseling with Sharon for 2 weeks on issues concerning depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, grief, and intimacy-related issues

Since the beginning Sharon and I have been on the same page. I find her very insightful, honest, and caring. She has a wealth of knowledge and is willing to make sure you understand what's being asked. And, if not she is more than willing to explain where she is coming from. I am truly blessed to have her as my counselor at this point in my life. I am truly grateful for her and her wisdom.

Written by S.H. on Oct 23, 2018 after counseling with Sharon for 2 weeks on issues concerning stress, anxiety, relationship issues, and parenting issues

Sharon is extremely knowledgeable and compassionate. She offers great insight and real-life strategies. Sharon has been instrumental in helping me navigate through some tough spots in my life.

Written by B.R on Jan 19, 2016 after counseling with Sharon for 2 months

I got on great with Sharon!! She is so positive ....I really enjoy getting a reply from her as it just lifts my spirits and puts everything into perspective for me! I started working with Sharon in November, in such a short time my life has completely turned around for the better! I'd highly recommend Sharon! She really helps you achieve your goals in life!! And she gives you such a positive attitude towards your life.

Written by L.E on Dec 18, 2015 after counseling with Sharon for 1 month on issues concerning stress, anxiety, addictions, relationship, grief, and depression

Sharon is an excellent therapist. She has really helped me make sense of all of my feelings and emotions as I go through a hard time in my life. Her professionalism and smart choice of words have all helped me get out of the lows and feeling good about myself again despite what I am going through. I am really happy with her services and am thankful to have her to talk to. Thank you Sharon and thank you BetterHelp.