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Meet Alton Eckel, LMHC, Psychotherapist in Haverhill

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alton Eckel.

Alton, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I earned my BA in Psychology from University of New Hampshire, then after 6 years out of the field returned to graduate school for my MA at Rivier University in Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Sports Psychology. I began working for the state of MA with families and adolescents doing outreach work (going into the community to the client’s home). After acquiring my license I continued working for state benefits, but with adults. These experiences were valuable and provided a variety of diagnoses and demographics to work with. Once I honed my skills and preferences I began working at a group practice with ages 15-55 and primarily Anxiety and Depressive disorders. 2 years ago I decided to start my own private practice in Haverhill, MA primarily working with the same age range and specializing in Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, OCD, Eating Disorders, Couples, and Athletes. I also completed training with my dog and he is an intricate part of my practice as a certified therapy dog.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Working in a helping profession can always be challenging since you never know what to expect from day to day. Humans are unpredictable: incredibly resilient and ever changing. Initially, my greatest challenge in the field was learning to self-care; running, hiking, and spending time with friends is important in heaping decompress from the emotional drain some days present. Most recently, deciding to start my own practice and manage finances, my own benefits, and keeping a solid client base was a scary endeavor.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Alton Eckel, LMHC, Psychotherapist – what should we know?
I’m proud of the uniqueness of having a dog as a part of my practice and also having an athletic background. Athletes are often driven and “high strung”, so it can be validating to have a professional that understands their internal struggles on a closer basis.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My dog, Cole, has been the greatest business partner I could ask for. He is calming and gentle with every client. He also helps keep me laughing and company throughout the day since working solo can get lonely. My mother, also a local psychotherapist, was my biggest support and help in the beginning. She provided 2 decades worth of knowledge about owning a private practice, gave me furniture from her current office, and helped financially so I did not need a business loan. Even to this day we give one another referrals and I’m incredibly proud of the work she does with her clients.

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