Member Spotlight: Life Path Counseling, PLLC

Tell us about yourself and your business!

Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., owner of Life Path Counseling, PLLC

Life Path Counseling, PLLC is a mental health private practice in Tacoma that provides counseling services to individuals, couples and families in an effort to help alleviate problems related to mental, emotional, and behavioral concerns. The practice works with various employee assistance programs, where clients can seek therapy free of charge as an employee benefit from their employer. The practice also works with various insurances, as well as income-based programs to provide coverage to clients who have financial challenges.

I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. I hold a Master of Science degree with Graduate Honors in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy from Excelsior College. I have been in professional practice since December 2013, and in private practice since October 2016. I have various other academic honors, including lifetime membership in Chi Sigma Iota – an international Counseling Academic & Professional Honor Society for my field. Additionally, I am a member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and a member of the Washington State Mental Health Counselors Association. I regularly improve my clinical skills and knowledge through continuing education. I am the owner of Life Path Counseling, PLLC. 

What inspired you to do this work?

So, I do this work because I want to help people create better lives, and I have a compassionate place in my heart for those who suffer from mental and emotional difficulties that impact their ability to live a full life. It is an outgrowth of my own life development, and reflects the helper and healer in me. For example, I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, and this happens to be one of the main areas in my practice work (simply based on my client flow and their own personal challenges). Over the years prior to working in professional counseling, I have been of service to people in various other ways, including having been a former Ordained Minister for 17 years. My motivation to create my private practice was to free myself from employee-based counseling, allowing me to work with clients as I choose and to create my professional practice in ways that reflect the vision I have for myself as a counselor.

Who would benefit from your services?

People who would benefit most from my practice are those who feel they need help. People don’t usually go to counseling when everything is okay. So people in crisis or despair, people who feel they have tried everything to solve an issue and have found no relief, and people who may just want to work on personal growth. The more we deal with the challenges in our lives effectively and with an honest assessment of ourselves, the better we become at living.

Tell us about an obstacle you’ve faced and how you overcame/are tackling it.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges I face on a regular basis personally is what we typically refer to as imposter syndrome. Surprised to read that a professional counselor would say that publicly? Don’t be. It is human to feel insecure, or lacking confidence in one’s abilities from time to time. Counselors are not immune to the human condition. We struggle just like you, and hurt just like you. Perfect is perfect all the time without fail. We fall when we learn how to walk when we are new to the world, thus true perfection in life can never really be achieved. So I simply acknowledge my own humanity and continue to better myself with ongoing clinical skill training, and personal development. 

Even though I am well qualified to do what I do, I still sometimes get nervous meeting a new client for our first session. It is a feeling that is often mutually felt by the client the first time we say hello. Despite these feelings, my hope for my business is that it provides a resource for people in the community seeking help with their issues. I have thought from time to time of converting my private practice into a group practice, so that might be a reality within the next five years.

Why did you choose Surge South?

I chose Surge South Tacoma because the environment is friendly and relaxed, and has plenty of natural light coming into the building. The people are generally friendly and outgoing too. Surge South has also made some positive efforts to adapt to our pandemic climate, which increases the health and safety of members and guests while in the building. If someone is looking for a place to hang out away from home to study or they need an office location for their business, Surge South Tacoma has some good options to accommodate those needs.

Where can we go to learn more about your practice?

If people are interested in a deep dive into my practice (this article barely scratches the surface), they can go to . There is a lot of content about my practice work on the website, as well as contact information to reach out. I am currently only doing Telehealth (video counseling) services, due to COVID-19 at this time.

Be well, and healthy.