Each week we feature an interview with one of our current tenants at Cube Creative Space. This week is Ashley North Cook, LMFT of North Cook Counseling
What is North Cook Counseling?
North Cook Counseling is a private practice I began to provide therapy to couples, families, individuals, and groups. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist I am passionate about offering an approach that is committed to treating the "whole person." I believe my clients are not just "a set of symptoms" entering into therapy; but rather, individuals with a rich and often painful history of experiences stemming uniquely from their identity, cultural values and expectations, and relationships. Looking at this history can then begin the process of unraveling the problem at its root- for long term healing and awareness.
While many clients come to North Cook Counseling to work through daily-hindering issues such as anxiety, depression, grief, and relationship concerns, I also specialize in assisting clients in exploring instances of trauma and domestic violence, LGBTQ concerns, racial identity, and gender identity, constantly hoping to create an environment of safety and acceptance, as clients bravely entrust me with their vulnerability this territory.
Why did you choose Pittsburgh and Cube Creative Space for your business?
I originally moved to Pittsburgh from Michigan, with seven close friends of mine from college. Together we were looking to move somewhere that was affordable, with lots of character, not overly far from our families, and where we could invest in a neighborhood we might settle in. After extended research we landed on Pittsburgh! And moved to the North Side area. There we received loads of moral support from The Pittsburgh Project, and after getting to know our neighbors and the needs and wants of the community, opened up a small coffee shop.
Once Beleza Community Coffeehouse was open for three years I enrolled in grad school at Seton Hill University and the Marriage and Family Therapy masters program. My undergrad was in Social Work but I was always drawn to learning the stories and emotional processes of the clients I worked with so this program was a perfect fit for me. After becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist I began providing therapy throughout Allegheny County while working with Persad Center, Family Resources, and the Women's Center and Shelter, but fell especially in love with the East Liberty/Garfield area. Eventually, I was lucky enough to call this neighborhood "home," and hoped if I ever got the chance to open a practice of my own, it could be located somewhere nearby.
This idea stemmed from advice I'd received in undergrad, from a professor I deeply respected, who invited me to think differently about the way I'd been approaching my work at the time. As a social work student, I used to spend spring break going on something called "mission trips," traveling all over for different volunteer opportunities. One day however, my professor challenged me to think about the privilege in this, and the "out of sight, out of mind," or even "savior," mentality that can sometimes occur with volunteering. He encouraged me to consider instead what it meant to work alongside people "in my own backyard"; giving back to my neighbors and my community, (while still challenging my privilege, of course.)
The notion has stayed with me, especially as I went on into therapy, knowing that I wanted to be able to provide my service as a way to support and invest in my neighborhood, while always keeping in mind absolute client confidentiality. I was very excited then to find an office at Cube Creative Space and feel like it has been the perfect balance of what I was looking for! It's location in the heart of East Liberty provides total accessibility while my individual office, tucked in a quiet back hallway, is the calm oasis of comfort and privacy my clients deserve. In addition, I love the open feel and modern design of the Cube and the mission of its owners to create a space that makes starting a small business in a growing neighborhood affordable and achievable for young entrepreneurs like myself.
I sincerely hope North Cook Counseling can be one of the businesses located in the Cube Creative Space that can enrich East Liberty and its inhabitants, while doing as much as possible to honor the past, present, and future of the neighborhood.
If you or anyone you know is interested in starting therapy, call North Cook Counseling at (412) 346-8255. I'd love to hear from you!