Jeneba1_cropped_websiteJeneba O’Connor B.A., BEd, MSc.
EAP Counselor l Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Jeneba’s warm personality, calm demeanor, and the ease with which she relates to clients allow them to quickly connect with her and feel comfortable in her presence. Jeneba models strong listening skills and shows a great deal of compassion, care, and humility with clients. In her counseling practice, she strives to create a safe space for them to have a voice. Jeneba approaches clients’ presenting issues from a place of genuineness and empathy, always recognizing their strengths, support systems, and resilience in the face of adversity.

Jeneba holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French & modern languages from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, a Bachelor of Education degree from York University in Toronto, Canada, and a Masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Walden University in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States.  Since making a career change from teaching to the counseling profession, Jeneba has worked at Turning Point and The Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) with persons living with drug and alcohol addiction and severe mental disorders.  She also gained experience working in the field of forensic counseling at The Department of Court Services, offering individual and group counseling to criminal offenders with co-occurring disorders who are on probation in the Mental Health Treatment Court Program.  Jeneba practices from a variety of theoretical orientations based on clients’ needs, including cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, as well as narrative and schema therapy.  She also uses integrative and holistic approaches such as mindfulness meditation and yoga as an adjunct to talk therapy, particularly with clients who struggle with depression, anxiety, and addiction.  Jeneba is a certified yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance (RYT 200) and is also a certified instructor in the Yoga of 12-step Recovery program (Y12SR), having completed her training in this program in 2016 in the U.S.  Jeneba strongly believes in maintaining a balanced lifestyle, and in her spare time, she meditates regularly and reads.  She also enjoys taking ballet barre classes, running, power walking in nature reserves, practicing yoga, and paddle boarding.

Best part about my role at Benedict:

Meeting clients from all walks of life and helping them through challenges so that they can lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. I also enjoy working with a wonderful team of open-minded counseling professionals who hold high ethical and professional standards, have a wealth of experience, and who inspire me to be creative and reflective in my own practice.

I am most proud of:

My resilience, strong work ethic, and organizational skills, as well as my warmth and ability to connect with all my clients on a deeper, therapeutic level.  I am also proud of my motivation and desire to learn and grow academically, personally, and professionally.

To my practice, I bring:
The ability to form strong, empathic relationships with clients of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the ability to make clients reflect more deeply on a cognitive and behavioral level in order to bring about change.  I also bring a theoretical understanding of and practical experience with clinical mental health disorders.  I have an understanding of the intricate connection between mind and body, as well as alternative eastern philosophies and practices, such as meditation and yoga.

My outlook on counseling is:

Counseling is a uniquely intimate, sensitive, powerful, and life-changing relationship between a therapist and a client.  I view the therapeutic process not as an expert helping someone in need, but rather as a facilitator and guide assisting the client who is the expert of his or her own life.  Therapy involves the counselor working with another human being to navigate the complexities and challenges of his or her life journey.  The counseling relationship involves vulnerability, exploration, unraveling, self-reflection, and above all, a high degree of trust and confidence in the clinician. It is always important to remember that a counselor may be the only person in clients’ lives who is able to hear and hold their pain confidentially.  To me, that is the highest honor. The following quote by Emily McDowell resonates with me as I help clients through the process of re-connecting with their true selves during the therapeutic process:

“Finding yourself” is not really how it works.  You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket.  You are also not lost.  Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a child that became your beliefs about who you are.  “Finding yourself” is actually returning to yourself.  An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got its hands on you.”

Values to live by:

Kindness, love, compassion, loyalty, authenticity, respect, and responsibility.

Favorite places:

I have a few!  My home and garden, anywhere where my cat gives me feline therapy, Cooper’s Island Bermuda, Costa Rica, Salamanca, Spain, and Strasbourg, France, where I lived and studied for a year.