Photo by Pritch Photography.
“There’s no one size fits all. When it comes to therapy, everybody’s experience is going to be different…and I like to get my client’s philosophy on how they think healing happens. While we may be the experts on the theory, they are the experts on their lives. So, we rely on their experiences to guide treatment,” says Sharise Nance, co-owner of HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC and founder of Vitamin C Healing.
HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC promotes hope, health, and healing for individuals and groups who are struggling with various mental health conditions. Co-owned by Sharise Nance, LCSW and CCTP, and Tess Kenney, LPC, HandinHand creates a safe space for every individual’s healing journey, whatever that might look like for them. Sharise’s other business, Vitamin C Healing, LLC, is an organization that works with social work organizations, nonprofits, and universities to provide support to helping professionals. During the COVID-19 public health crisis, HandinHand Counseling and Vitamin C Healing are offering telehealth services and virtual trainings.
Sharise and other HandinHand counselors don’t just manage symptoms such as exhaustion, irritability, and hopelessness. They are respectfully curious about their clients’ experiences and address their symptoms with systemic, generational, and trauma-informed perspectives to peel back deeper layers.
Sharise and Tess founded HandinHand Counseling, LLC in 2013 and bring 20+ years of social work and counseling expertise to their business. Sharise and Tess were college roommates and then remained in touch throughout their early careers.
“We said, ‘Well why don’t we do it together? We’re two black women. We have a lot to offer to the community. We’ve seen a lot of things in our experiences—a lot of things we didn’t like.”
Witnessing covert racism, misogyny, and xenophobia in the helping profession motivated Sharise and Tess to create an environment that destigmatized mental health and made people feel safe in receiving help. Sharise and Tess continue to run their practice and employ two additional licensed clinical social workers. Both partners also prioritize their own inner work to serve their clients as best as they can.
A major development for HandinHand was getting fully credentialled with major insurance companies so they could provide affordable services. After persisting for 3-4 years, HandinHand became credentialled with major companies, including UPMC.
Vitamin C Healing, LLC provides workshops for frontline helping professionals. Sharise’s coaching helps these professionals manage their energy in their workspaces, declutter their emotional space, set clearer boundaries, and create work-life balance and fulfillment. During COVID-19, frontline healthcare workers are utilizing Vitamin C Healing’s virtual trainings now more than ever.
Vitamin C Healing, LLC grew from Sharise’s book, “Vitamin C Healing for the Mind, Body, and Soul.” She wrote the book to capture a complete picture of holistic health. She then honed her niche for supporting helping professionals when she dove into topics like compassion fatigue, a secondary traumatic stress response that many helping professionals experience after they’re exposed to other people’s trauma. After some research, Sharise discovered that there weren’t any mental health professionals in the Pittsburgh region who offered support specifically for compassion fatigue–despite it being a common experience. A new, separate brand from HandinHand Counseling emerged. Sharise is now warmly known as the “compassion fatigue lady.”
As she was growing HandinHand Counseling and Vitamin C Healing in 2017, she reconnected with a childhood friend, Toya Johnson-Rainey, a small business specialist who was (and still is) facilitating a group of entrepreneurs at eforever. Sharise joined her group in 2018, and has learned more about her personal beliefs about money and implemented procedures and systems in HandinHand Counseling that allowed it to grow.
“My partner and I could not figure out why we weren’t as profitable as we should’ve been. We didn’t have any bad spending habits, so where was the money going? I brought it to my group because I feel safe discussing money there. Then, Toya came to HandinHand and helped my partner and I break down all of our systems and processes. We took a deeper look, restructured some things, and put new procedures in place. And we’ve been okay throughout this pandemic. So, I’m grateful for that.”Sharise Nance, LCSW and CCTP
In 2018, Sharise’s group also helped her find a way to celebrate HandinHand Counseling’s five-year anniversary. Sharise and her partner planned to throw an event as a way of thanking everyone who helped them along the way and reach that milestone.
“My group asked me, ‘Why do you want to do that?’ I couldn’t answer them because I thought that’s what people do. They told me, ‘There’s so much time, money and planning involved, and you and Tess should be the center because you did the work. You talk about self-care. If you both invested in a retreat, it could strengthen your partnership and ultimately help the business.’ It was an excellent idea, and we had an amazing time at a business retreat in Mexico last year. It definitely helped our business relationship too.”
You can schedule a phone consultation with HandinHand Counseling to begin or continue your healing journey at HandinHandCounseling.com. If your organization or university and would like to book Sharise for a virtual training, visit VitaminCHealing.com. Sharise’s books are also available on her website, and you can subscribe to Vitamin C Healing’s newsletter to receive the timely, complimentary ebook: “A Time to Heal: From Pandemic to Perseverance.”