Editor’s Note: We spoke with Dr. Mary Macedonio, the Director of Gulf Coast Therapy Center (GCTC) located in the Tandem Center at 333 Tamiami Trail South on Venice Island. Please call 941-500-9796 for more information or learn more online at GulfCoastTherapyCenter.com.
Mary, please introduce your center and explain your approach in supporting personal growth.
We are a new holistic, integrative mental health center dedicated to the support of individuals, couples, families, and groups. We believe that successful therapy is a collaboration that assists our clients in expanding awareness, setting meaningful goals, and solving problems. We love what we do, and it shows in the quality of our relationships and in our conviction in human potential. We apply various disciplines to support our clients that include such elements as cognitive behavioral intervention, personality testing, and integrative therapeutic approaches like mindful meditation. We tailor our methods and related tools to the needs and goals of each individual, couple, or family unit.
Please summarize your experience as a psychologist and your formal education.
I was an Information Technologist and IT business strategist in the financial services, academic, and consulting sectors for 20 plus years before deciding to fulfill my dream of completing my doctorate to become a psychologist. In that role, I was privileged to serve as Director of Forensic and Clinical Services for Safe Horizon’s Child Advocacy Center in Queens and held the position of Director of Psychophysiology Research Labs for the Imagery Institute in two New York universities prior to engaging in private practice. For over a decade, I’ve had the honor of working with many clients in New York prior to moving to Florida.
What would you like to share about your own healing journey.
I’ve dealt with a number of spinal conditions since I was young including cervical kyphosis, scoliosis, stenosis, and multiple disc herniations. I also dealt with autoimmune concerns that impacted my capacity to consume food as well as a cancer diagnosis that was expected to be terminal. The experience of severe pain and journey to recovery has enhanced my confidence in our shared human capacity to heal and overcome challenges.
Who else is on the GCTC team?
Our current team members include Dr. Michael Petrosky Flores, EdD, LMHC, Patricia Dumont, LCSW, Diane Clukey-Chenard, LCSW, Lynn Keleman, LCSW, Sharron Root, CASAC-T, and Eileen Robertson, Registered Clinical Social Worker – Intern. Each member brings many years of experience working with multiple populations, and our team is ever expanding.
Mary, can you give our readers a few suggestions for reducing stress?
One suggestion is to prioritize one’s nutrition and restorative sleep. In combination, these life requirements are critical to one’s health and longevity, thereby impacting one’s happiness. I don’t believe in dietary rigidity because loving chocolate cake, for example, isn’t the problem – unless health related restrictions exist such as diabetes or allergies – but being self-critical when the need for a slice hits can certainly become one. Another helpful idea is to reduce the amount of time spent on social media. Sure, it’s great to connect and see photos of loved ones, but information glut combined with a constant barrage of negative commentary from partisan sniping can take its toll on our peace of mind and comfort. Overall, taking small steps toward one’s goals while staying present and focused helps to generate incremental progress which leads to personal growth and achievement.
Where are you from originally and what brought you to Venice?
I was born and raised in Manhattan and Queens. Although I wished to move to Florida at a young age because of what I viewed as the three C’s – cold, crowds, and cost – I stayed because of my responsibility to my parents and grandparents. When, at 90 years of age, my mom quietly whispered that she held a longstanding desire to move to Florida, that was my opportunity to bring her down. Venice called to me because of our Italian heritage and although I hoped we would share much more time together in the location of our dreams, she passed ten days later. I’m grateful that I was able to fulfill her desire, even if only for a short time, and I continue to hold joy in my heart for the blessing of living in this beautiful community.