New counseling practice opens in Hammond
Catherine C. Olson has been serving youth and families as a counselor for over 20 years. Residents in the Central St. Croix area can now count her as one of their own, not only as a resident, but as a business owner too.
After years of doing agency work and then having her own private practice in Lakeland, Minn., for two years, she decided to move her practice to Hammond Jan. 5 to fill the unmet need in behavioral and mental health in rural western Wisconsin
“Geographically, it made a lot of sense,” Olson said of moving her practice to the Jacob’s Square location (815 Davis St.) “The middle school and high school are right here. Baldwin-Woodville is down the road. I kind of followed the urban sprawl. There was no one else in Hammond (counseling). There are people established already in Baldwin and New Richmond.”
Her husband is originally from Baldwin-Woodville and works for Lindus Construction. She and her family live in the area.
“Therapy can be a big and scary step for some people and I’m not scary,” Olson said with a gentle smile. “I really put a human, holistic element into my work. It’s about being able to connect and I’m told I have that ability. I work hard at creating a very comfortable, welcoming and private environment for my clients.”
Olson works mostly with youth, parents and individuals and said there is nothing that she hasn’t seen in her 20 years of working with clients. Olson grew up in Duluth and began her career in the inner city doing “front line work,” where she worked to stabilize kids in their homes in child protection cases.
“I really love working with parents which can lead into their individual issues,” Olson said. “It could be family change, family disconnect, grief, loss, kids experimenting or having chemical health issues to cope with social pressure or anxiety and depression (self medicating) or managing behaviors at home and school. I periodically team with school staff. I work a lot with blended families, single parents. Anything from anger management to improving communication, parenting and coping with different life experiences.”
Olson said she particularly connects well with youth and teens, especially through different forms of creative therapy that use play and art. She also enjoys working with youth who are on the autism spectrum.
“For example, this sand tray can be used to depict scenes in their lives and can be very revealing about what’s going on in their lives when they otherwise cannot find the words,” Olson said as she runs her fingers through a tray filled with pale brown sand. “Especially if they’re not comfortable talking. I work with boxes of feelings, faces, beading is popular with teens. The basic with young kids is you begin with their feelings and what they mean to them.”
Olson has a talent for drawing out the reluctant, she said, using any way possible to connect individuals and families together. She has used basketball and foosball as ways to connect with kids.
“Talking is not always very tangible for kids,” Olson said as she holds a butterfly/caterpillar puppet, her favorite symbol. “It (the butterfly) symbolizes that we are still who we are on the inside and that is never going to go away. I don’t want to change people. That’s not my way. But we can change how we think of situations and how we feel and ultimately how we act towards situations and people.”
Olson also does volunteer work in River Falls, which includes teen dating violence and serving as chairperson for a committee planning to open a free counseling center, which would fill the need of mental health for the uninsured and underinsured.
Olson has a Bachelor’s degree in social work from Augsburg College and a Master’s degree in social work from St. Thomas/St. Catherine.
She plans to hold an open house sometime this month. For for information or to schedule an appointment, visit catherine counseling.com, email email@example.com or call 651-269-0924.
CATHERINE C. OLSON COUNSELING
Experience: 20 years of experience as an individual, youth and family therapist/counselor working in suburban, rural and inner city settings in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin.
Address: 815 Davis St., Hammond.
Hours: By appointment. Phone: 651-269-0924