We love chatting with local business owners and influencers as they impact the world with their own focus on wellness and self care. We sat down with Mark, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor to ask him a few questions. Check out his responses, and be sure to contact Mark if you hare interested in counseling.
Introduce yourself & your profession and where you practice-
Hello, I’m Mark Kaplafka, owner of Mark Kaplafka Counseling in Rocky River. I’ve been a Clevelander all my life and provide mental health counseling to adults in my office in Rocky River and online!
Who can benefit from counseling or “therapy” sessions?
Everyone can benefit from working with a therapist! Counseling is a collaborative relationship built on trust and objectivity with a focus on growth and change. Friends and family are often well-meaning in their efforts to provide guidance and support but often struggle with true objectivity. Counselors receive specialized training and skills to know when and how to ask the tough questions and to create a safe space to explore those answers.
Do you have a specialty?
I love working with all clients regardless of the presenting concern. However, the majority of my clientele struggle with the impact of past trauma, relationship concerns, people pleasing tendencies, work stress and anxiety.
I also really enjoy working with clients who want to do “the deeper work.” A lot of my clients are tired of just coping and want to resolve the underlying patterns, issues or beliefs contributing to their present day concern.
There has always been a stigma around counseling services... help us understand that why people should know its totally OK TO seek out counseling...
It’s totally okay to seek counseling because everyone needs support, compassion, comfort or guidance at different points in their life. Would you hire a plumber to perform open heart surgery on a loved one? No, you would want to seek out help from a specialist. That’s what counselors are, we’re specialists in helping people navigate the complexity of life, emotions and experiences.
What are the most common stressors/problems that:
Women deal with?
Certainly, in my practice I see a lot of women struggling with issues in their relationships, anxiety, the complexity of balancing work and home life. Additionally, I work with a lot of women who have experienced trauma in their past and want to free themselves from it.
Men deal with?
A lot of the men in my practice struggle with the same issues as the women I see. However, the one area where I see men struggling more often than women is with being connected to their emotions and having healthy outlets for emotional expression.
Teens deal with?
Generally, I refer teenagers and adolescents to my colleagues in the field who have more specialized training in that area of mental health.
What steps can someone take to overcome things they are dealing with?
I think a lot of people are uncomfortable dealing with distressing thoughts and feelings. One important thing that I think most people can benefit fro m is learning to how to identify their thoughts, feelings and how those thoughts and feelings show up in their bodies. I believe that this mindfulness work creates a baseline for distress that people can use as way to gauge progress. Sometimes just noticing these components and not distracting ourselves away from them are enough to help decrease their intensity. However, I’m also a huge advocate of breathwork, meditation and self-compassion as next steps in processing a stressor.
What do you recommend doing outside of counseling sessions (at home, etc..) to help progress gained in in-person sessions?
I believe that everyone can benefit from developing a meditation or mindfulness practice. Yoga and any outdoor activities are incredibly healing and beneficial as well. Additionally, I feel like we can all benefit from learning how to less self-critical and more self-compassionate and kinder to ourselves.
Any facts that we should know regarding mental health?
Mental and emotional health are just as important as your physical health. Over my years of experience, I’ve truly learned how inter-connected our mind, emotions, body and spirt are and I believe that being attentive to each of these areas leads to true happiness. If you’re not dealing with stress it will manifest in physical symptoms. So, rather than just treating the symptoms, focusing on mental health helps to address the root cause of a problem.
Any apps or podcasts you’ve found to be good/ that you like?
Apps that I like:
Podcasts that I like:
Why did you choose your current profession?
I truly believe that the profession chose me. I remember as a kid saying I wanted to be therapist, and that’s before I even knew what that meant. It’s always felt like a calling to be able to show up in the world in this way to help people navigate the complexities of life. It’s so fulfilling to me to see the change in someone’s eyes when they’ve had that Ah-Ha moment and no longer feel bogged down by the heaviness that had been impacting them.
What is your favorite part of being a counselor?
I love being able to walk along-side my client’s healing journey and to be able to offer supportive, impactful guidance and help so that they can transform themselves to become who they want to be!
What is your favorite restaurant in Cleveland?
With a family of 5 and having 3 kids under the age of 5, we don’t get out much! Plus, I’m more of a homebody and enjoy spending time at home with my family making a good home cooked meal!
Whats your typical day off/ weekend?
I love being outdoors! I’m an avid gardener and love being in the sun!
Learn more about Mark and his practice here: https://www.markkaplafkacounseling.com/