“Mental health was prevalent in my childhood home,” Nicole Jackson, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and owner of Anchor Counseling and Consulting, says. “I was taught the value of counseling and talking after endless conversations.”
From a very young age, Jackson recalled several conversations with her family about the journey with grief and loss, substances and military trauma associated with their mental health.
As a Phoebus High School student, Jackson immersed herself in school-based leadership roles, participating in mentorship programming at Hampton University while serving as vice president of her senior class. She always wanted to do something in the “helping” field.
When Jackson’s mother and stepfather moved to Arizona for his job, she was allowed to remain with her Aunt LaFerne to finish high school. “She kept me grounded,” she says of her aunt. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have stayed with her as she helped build me into who I am.”
Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at George Mason University and a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling and mental health counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University. She earned her LPC through the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2007.
At 23, Jackson’s first job was with the Hampton-Newport News Community Service Board (H-NNCSB), providing therapeutic services in clients’ homes. “I loved working with individuals in their natural environment, responding to crises and providing support to the entire family,” she says.
A few years later, she decided to do something in her aunt’s namesake and she opened a group home for girls in Hampton. The business was called STEPS, but Jackson referred to it as Aunt LaFerne’s House. “STEPS offered a safe haven like my aunt had given me,” she says.
Jackson and her staff worked shifts. Managing the staff and providing direct counseling herself became challenging. While running the group home, she met her husband, Dorsey. “He asked if I realized how old I was and how I was sacrificing so much of my life,” she says.
Jackson closed STEPS and went back to her roots at H-NNCSB, performing in various administrative roles around mental health programming in the schools until the COVID pandemic. Her group worked out of public schools which then closed. Her program shut down in March 2020.
“That was hard,” she says. “But one thing my aunt taught me was that there’s meaning and purpose in everything; so just keep chugging along.”
In fall 2019, Jackson kept getting what she calls whispers telling her this was her opportunity to return to entrepreneurship and counseling.in-person That was the birth of Anchor Counseling and Consulting in June 2020. “When I worked with H-NNCSB I did a great job of developing relationships with the community,” Jackson says. “Now I focus this skill on my clients.”
Today, Jackson’s clients come from Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Richmond. She offers in-person and tele-health appointments which help extend her reach. “I believe in the therapeutic process and therapeutic relationship,” she says. “I’ve given more than 2,500 direct service hours over the years.”
Anchor Counseling and Consulting will expand this spring to bring in additional therapists to work with children specifically, as Jackson gets innumerable calls to provide services to children. “Now, I primarily serve middle school through adulthood,” she says. “I have a wait list for my services because I can’t see and serve everybody.”
Jackson has supervised graduate/undergraduate interns for Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Liberty University, Regent University, The College of William & Mary and Walden University. She is president of a local chapter of a nationally based mothers’ group. This philanthropic organization allows her the opportunity to cultivate African American children.
Jackson and Dorsey (who works in finance) have a daughter (11) and a son (6). They like to explore with their children and take an annual beach vacation. The family loves Busch Gardens and swimming at Great Wolf Lodge. Jackson also loves black history and immersing her children into culture.
“My wife’s dedication to her clients is inspiring,” Dorsey says. “I see her day after day pushing through the balance of being a wife, mother, friend, business owner and therapist,”
Jackson loves to walk in her neighborhood for relaxation. She also enjoys organizing and cleaning as a stress reliever. “I love girl time with supportive women and quiet time with God.”
Jackson is highly motivated by building client relationships and seeing their progress. “Seeing goals being met and clients staying out of the hospital for crises like suicide,” she says, is what motivates her, “as well as balance-of-life decisions, relationships terminated/built and managed mental health. I believe my aunt would be so proud.”
TO THE POINT:
Anchor Counseling & Consulting, LLC
Address: 3630 George Washington
Memorial Hwy., Ste. B-6, Yorktown, VA 23693