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How Do Counselors Inspire to Aspire: An Interview with Annie Shaw

The reason we started Mental Health News Radio was to give those serving behavioral health a voice. We are the listeners. We are also caregivers. We wanted a platform where your voices could be heard. Where an audience of your peers can listen to your stories. Stories about what inspired you to become a therapist, open your own practice, or work in a community mental health center, what your specialties are, what tools and services you use to maintain your clinical records, and how you take care of yourself.

There is no doubt you will enjoy this next show. Our entire team was inspired just listening to our guest Annie Shaw. She is a perfect example of why we love hosting Mental Health News Radio.


Some of the questions we asked Annie are listed below:

What guided you in the decision to start a career in Mental Health?

Three significant factors that contributed to my decision.  The main event was the death of my parents when I was ages 11 and 12.  The second factor was my middle school Guidance Counselor expressing Accurate Empathy regarding the loss of my parents, giving me permission to cry by acknowledging that I was hurting and felt abandoned.  The third and most significant factor was and continues to be, GOD.  I would cry and ask God, “why me, why did my parents have to die”, and a voice responded to my hearts cry, “Because I am going to use you.” I was given this purpose to be a counselor during my 7th grade year.

What is your counseling approach to grief work?

I seek to empower individuals to desire to sever (break off) their relationship of being a victim, by acknowledging that a situation occurred that victimized them but the qualities within them is enough to become strong and rise above their traumatic experience.  Basically, my focus is to replace the thought of “I am a victim” with the belief of, “I am a conqueror”

What prompted you to start your Private Practice?

I have over 19 years of various experience in the Human Service field.  I have seen situations where an individual may need a special or unique style of support that the company I was employed with was not in agreement with because it just seemed too risky. This made me feel caged in and trapped, unable to fulfill my life purpose. My practice targets the “underdog”, the “difficult client”, the pre-teens and the teenagers.  My ideal client is the person that knows they want something different and may not have a clue in how to get there or the person that others say there is no hope for.  My motto is, “INSPIRING Individuals to ASPIRE’

Describe an example of a time when you “thought outside of the box” in your practice.

In December 2014 I hosted a free poetry event for teen girls ages 13-18. This was a full day event that I created as an extension to my structured therapy services that I was providing to a teen client. I did this to increase her self-worth and for her to celebrate a milestone that she reached with her treatment goals. My client served as a hands on assistant project manager with seeing this great event become reality and was able to implement some of her newly developed assertiveness skills.

What steps do you take to manage your practice and ensure its success?

Documentation and consistent and intentional coordination of care is the top focus in my practice.  Ensuring that my documentation paints a picture of both my treatment interventions as well as a story of my client’s lives. My support of my client’s is not limited to the scheduled session. I strive to be available for clients via telephone, email or text during times where they just need to vent or just want to share great news. I have enlisted the support of Integrity Support Services for my electronic records database and billing.  Integrity has been a wonderful partnership for me. All of these steps have proven to be beneficial for me and helping me score a perfect score of 100 on my Post Payment Audit.

What MCO’s and Insurances are you credentialed with?

I am a provider with Alliance Behavioral Health, Trillium, and Eastpointe. I currently accept Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tricare, Medicaid, and Sliding Scale fee clients.  My office is based in Raleigh, NC.

You didn’t allow your traumatic experience to defeat you, so what would say are 2 of your greatest professional accomplishments?

In 2011 I was selected to be 1 of 40 Clinician’s selected by the state of NC to participate in the 2011 NC, MINT-TNT, to become a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers.  My second accomplishment would be scoring a perfect audit score during my Post Payment Audit last year, receiving praises from my MCO, validating my service quality.

Your company name is INSPIRE Counseling and Staff Development Services. What services fall under the Staff Development umbrella?

Being that I am a member of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT), I offer training, coaching and coding in the use of MI in practice.  I am also a certified North Carolina Interventions (NCI) trainer. I offer training in every level of NCI, from Part A to Optionals. I am a certified trainer in LOCUS/CALOCUS as well.  I also offer specialized trainings for individuals and agencies based upon their need. I come in, assess the need, and create a training plan to support growth and treatment stability.

What do you have in the works currently or in the near future?

I am beginning plans for my 2nd annual Poetry Jam for Teen Girls in December.  Also, my 11 year old son and I are in the process of publishing our first book, entitled, “How To Tame An Anxious Monster”, so please be on the lookout for that within the next year.

If you were given the opportunity to say something to a person currently dealing with grief who you would never see again, what would it be?

“We all have something difficult that has either happened or is going to happen to us. If someone tells you different, they are lying. Do not allow your difficulties/losses, your “Hell” to define who you are and who you can be.  Your grief/difficulty tells you “no”. It tells you that you have been weakened and something has control over you.  Sometimes our minds tell us lies and you have to be aware of it and focus on what you need in life to be truly happy.  Stop accepting the verdict of “no” and entertain the possibility of “yes”.

Annie Shaw is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of her private practice, “INSPIRE Counseling and Staff Development Services”, based in Raleigh, North Carolina.  She is a 2004 graduate of North Carolina Central University.  She is a member of the national organization, Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT).  She is also a certified trainer in North Carolina Interventions as well as LOCUS/CALOCUS.  She possesses a strong desire to assist individuals with reaching their goals and overcoming their challenges, whether it consist of people seeking counseling, agencies in need of clinical support or trainees seeking to strengthen their clinical skills.  Annie enjoys traveling to various locations inside and outside of North Carolina to share her unique style of service provision.  She has adopted and has maintained a hands on approach to supporting those she serve and has been acknowledged by Managed Care Organizations and Child Protective Services for her commitment to extraordinary service quality and coordination of care.  Annie began her career in the Human Service field approximately 19 years ago.  Her background includes work in inpatient, outpatient, group homes, and foster care settings. She has managed programs responsible for the treatment of 300+ individuals and families.  Her experiences have afforded her opportunities to support agencies within their Quality Management sector as QA Specialist, to being a Staff Educator, creating specialty trainings to support staff who were struggling within their roles to becoming an asset to their agency.  She has been a “go to” by her Peers and has assisted agencies with receiving high accreditation scores. Annie values quality over quantity and purposefully maintains a small caseload so that she can afford more time to support those who seek her expertise.  Annie’s motto is, “Inspiring Individuals to Aspire.”

Have a question for Annie?  Please reach out using her information listed below.


Telephone: (919) 720-8461

behavioral health, billing medical services, counseling, EHR, EHRs, GRIEF COUNSELING, mental health, mental health in business, Raleigh, workplace conflict, workplace issues

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