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Individual Counseling

Novatu Counseling and Assessment seeks to provide culturally responsive counseling for all clients. As a result, we are dedicated to a life-long commitment of developing cultural humility by consistently engaging in self-reflection and self-understanding to develop an accurate view of self while being constantly curious to learn from others, value others and respond from a place of genuineness and authenticity. We know we don’t know everything so we regularly engage in cultural education; while seeking to truly understand how our client’s social identities interact and influence their perception of distress. Novatu therapists recognize that our own values, schemas, worldview and upbringing may influence our client’s perception, rapport or trust in us. Everyone has behaviors and makes decisions that may be rooted in cultural values and beliefs.

Novatu’s mission and philosophy seeks to create an integrative environment that considers differences in cultures from the first phone call to the last session. We aren’t perfect, but we do our best to acknowledge what’s going on in the world and not make assumptions about our clients. We understand that emotionally charged conversations occur in session. Fulfilled and happy clinicians prepare appropriately for sessions, feel  supported, seek ongoing education, work in a safe collegial environment for consultation. This in turn results in increased feelings of safety for clients and increased success in client’s meeting their goals. Dr. Orndorff encourages all Novatu Counseling and Assessment clinicians to push past their own comfort zone, seek cultural humility and aim to provide culturally responsive counseling.


People use drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, or reward themselves. Over time, you may come to may believe that you need them to enjoy life, or you may feel as though you cannot cope without drugs or alcohol, which can gradually lead to dependence and addiction. Addiction has two basic qualities: You sometimes use more than you would like to use, and you continue to use despite negative consequences. Addiction is a multifaceted problem but one that can be treated effectively. We understand that dealing with addiction is scary and uncertain, but rest assured, Novatu is here to support you in your time of need. Call Novatu Counseling today at 910-515-4556 ext. 2 to schedule an appointment.

Can Therapy Really Help?

Many people ask if addiction can be treated, and the answer is, “Yes!” The length and style of therapy vary, but many people find that counseling for addiction helps them to fight the urge to use drugs and alcohol and even reclaim control of their lives. Regardless of whether you have abused substances for a short period of time or you have an extensive history battling substance abuse, therapy can help you understand addiction, recognize its effect on you and your loved ones, and develop a plan to help you get (and stay) clean. Start building a healthy support network today with Novatu!

You Deserve Help

Our providers stand ready to assist you and help you to return to a life without an impairing addiction. We recognize that every person is different, and every story is unique. Our focus is on bringing quality care that is personalized to your situation. Addiction can be a lonely and hard place in life, but we can help. You can make the choice today to contact us and start walking the road to recovery with one of our highly trained counselors. Don’t let addiction steal another day, call Novatu Counseling and Assessment at (910) 515-4556.


How many times have you been cutoff in traffic? Do others stand in the way of you getting something you really want? Have you been bullied, put down, stood up? Ever miss out on a great opportunity or had your heart broken by a friend or a partner? We have all been there. Anger is often a reaction to stress, failure or injustice, Anger can range from a mild irritation to full-blown rage. Whether your anger feels like a tornado or like a fire that just never quite goes out it can be helpful to talk to someone about it. Regardless of whether you need one session with some helpful pointers or a longer course of treatment Novatu Counseling and Assessment is here for you, call us to get scheduled (910) 515-4556 ext 2.

Sometimes anger is a fleeting annoyance, other times it may grow into an uncontrollable rage, either way while anger is not a comfortable emotion it does play a vital role and we do need it. It may be used as motivation to make a change, or end a toxic relationship. It may be used to improve or do work on yourself, but when it starts eating you up, then it may be time to give us a call. Anger is to be expected as a basic human emotion, one that can be healthy and normal. Carrying around anger can lead to physical conditions like head and stomach aches while uncontrolled anger can eventually lead to heart disease and elevated blood pressure.

Are you ready for help with your anger? Call us today (910) 515-4556

How can therapy help? Working on your anger can help you understand the underlying causes and the potentially painful emotions that are also occurring but are covered up by the anger. Counseling can help with identifying and improving the use of healthy coping strategies and enhance your communication and improve relationships that can be negatively affected by angry outbursts and arguments.

“Anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion” ~ Brene Brown

At Novatu, we are here to help you use anger as a positive catalyst for change and not an emotion that will drag you around and hold you down. Call us today for an appointment (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.


Anxiety can mean nervousness, worry, or self-doubt. While anxiety can be a relay of important information about your surroundings sometimes, the cause of anxiety is hard to spot. Everyone feels some level of anxiety once in a while. But overwhelming, recurring, or “out of nowhere” dread can be profoundly impactful or even unbearable. When anxiety interferes like this, talking to a therapist can help.

People can show signs of anxiety in many ways. Some may become more talkative, battle repetitive thoughts in their minds privately, withdraw, or self-isolate. Even people who seem outgoing, friendly, or fearless can have anxiety. Since anxiety has many symptoms it may appear different from one person to the next. Regardless of why you are anxious or how it makes you feel or act, this is no way to live. You deserve to live a life free from the burden of excessive anxiety.

Symptoms of Anxiety Include:

  • Feelings of panic, fear, and nervousness
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thinking
  • Obsessive thoughts, concerns, or worries
  • Excessive sweating or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath, hyperventilation
  • Rapid heart rate or chest pain
  • An inability to be still and calm
  • Dry mouth, nausea, dizziness
  • Feeling on-edge
  • Low energy or quick to fatigue
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling and staying asleep

The good news is that anxiety and the accompanying symptoms can be treated. All emotions are normal, but when they become chronic or debilitating then getting help to address the symptoms is very beneficial. You can overcome your anxiety and we are here to help. Get back to doing the things you love to do. Find peace and happiness once again. Renew your commitment to family and friends. Anxiety has taken far too much of your life. Don’t let it have another day. Take the first step towards healing. There has never been a better time to get help for your anxiety than right now. Call Novatu now to schedule your appointment with a counselor: (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.


Do you have trouble dealing with daily stress? Do the simplest activities, such as getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing feel impossible? When something good happens, do you feel as though a cloud of negativity looms over the experience? Do you struggle with feelings of anger, shame, irritation, helplessness, or loneliness? Maybe you’ve felt emotionally “numb,” hopeless, or drained of all of your energy.

What do you do when these feelings persist? Days turn into weeks and weeks become months. Before you know it, you’ve lived this way for years, and you can’t even recall a time when you felt “normal.”

The good news is, depression is highly treatable, with reports of 80% to 90% of people responding well to treatment. At Novatu Wilmington, we understand that depression hurts; and although it’s often hard to pinpoint where the pain is real. Our licensed counselors will partner with you to identify the source of your depression to help you overcome it.

What is Depression?

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and home. But being sad is not the same as having depression.

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults in any given year. And one in six people will experience depression at some time in their life.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms, you may be dealing with depression. There’s never been a better time to begin your journey of healing. You can get help for depression. A caring and supportive therapist in Wilmington is ready to help you. We offer convenient appointment times, with both daytime and evening hours. We also accept most major insurance plans and offer affordable rates, which means that getting help for depression may be more affordable than you thought. Call for an appointment today: (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.

Emotional Regulation

Have you ever been through an event that made you feel like your emotions were out of control? How about a situation that made you feel like your emotions were controlling you? This might be a moment of road rage taking over when someone cuts you off in traffic or saying something hurtful in the heat of an argument. In either case, do you wish that you had better control of your emotions?

It takes practice, but the more we learn to notice and accept our emotions, the more mindfully we can react to them. Studies have found that practicing healthy emotional regulation skills, such as accepting your feelings or changing your outlook, supports our mental well-being, and helps us perform better at work and school. Emotions themselves are neither good nor bad, but our experiences with them can be difficult or painful. When we don’t know how to deal with distress, we might turn to unhelpful patterns- avoiding or fixating negative emotions- without realizing it.

We’re Here for You!

If you’ve never been shown a healthy way to regulate emotions, it can be challenging at first to get in touch with what you are feeling. The skilled counselors available at Novatu Wilmington can not only provide tools and resources for building new skills but can help you stay on track, answer any questions you may have, and monitor your progress. Call us today to set up your first appointment (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.

Grief and Loss

Everyone will experience the loss of a friend or loved one at some point in his or her life. You will grieve the death of someone you care about, the end of a relationship, a move to a new area, the loss of a pet, a serious medical illness or injury or even the loss of a career or job. Individual reactions to loss differ from person to person. The grieving process often occurs in stages, each of which brings with it different emotions. Healing from a significant loss is a process. It’s often disorganized – even messy at times. One person’s journey may look entirely different from another’s. The journey may be different for everyone, but there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

Symptoms of Grief

Grief is not limited to, feelings of sadness. It can also involve guilt, yearning, anger, and regret, among others. Emotions related to grief and loss can be surprising in their strength, mildness or sudden onset when reminded of the loss that has occurred. This can also be so confusing! One person may find themselves grieving a painful relationship. Another may mourn a loved one who died from cancer and yet feels relief that the person is no longer suffering. Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Feelings of shock or denial
  • Sudden crying
  • Increased irritability
  • A lack of desire to engage in activities
  • Increased anxiety
  • Difficulty maintaining focus on routine tasks
  • Fatigue

The Five Stages of Grief

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross originally developed the Five Stages of Grief model to illustrate the process of grief for terminally ill patients. Kubler-Ross’s model suggest that there are five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Some confusion exists in regards to the states including whether or not one must go through each stage and if they must be in order. Research indicates that’s not how grief works most of the time. No one can tell you how long this process will last, but you can be confident that the counselors of Novatu Counseling and Coaching in Wilmington will help you through this time of loss so that you can find a new outlook on life.

We’re Here to Help!

At Novatu, we offer convenient appointment times and both in person and online therapy formats to accommodate your needs. We can schedule your appointment with a grief counselor in the same week, often in less than 48 hours. Don’t spend another day trying to work through your grief and loss alone. Get connected with a grief therapist in Wilmington today! Call us to schedule your appointment: (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.


Are you struggling in ways that you just hope someone will understand and help with? Are you hoping to find a therapist who simply gets it and doesn’t need to be educated about the consequences and negative repercussions of being an openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person? Maybe you’re an older man or woman, single or married with children, and you are now discovering that you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

The stigma and discrimination LGBTQIA2S+ individuals often face can be a severe impediment to their well-being. LGBTQIA2S+ affirmative therapy can help empower individuals and help them navigate challenges effectively. Whether you are struggling with mental health issues, your identity, or just need someone to talk to, the therapists at Novatu Wilmington can help. We strive to support a shame-free environment where you can decide what’s best for you about coming out with loved ones.

Our therapists have a deep understanding of the unique challenges that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals and couples face. You may be feeling sad, lonely, anxious, angry, or concerned with your relationship. You might have questions regarding your sexuality, self-judgment, or difficulty negotiating and defining your sexuality with friends and family. Working with a therapist with whom you feel accepted and supported can help in getting clarity about these issues.

Come in, or join use online, and Feel at Home

If you are looking for therapy in the Wilmington area, where you can feel comfortable just being yourself, you are welcome here. At Novatu Wilmington, we can help you take control of your choices to create positive change in your life, directed by your own goals and values.

When you feel ready, you can come into a warm place where we can work towards moving your life forward at your pace, in your way, as you see fit. Novatu offers you a place where there will never be added pressure or unsolicited advice for your life. We will start where you are and only move forward, as you feel ready, and no sooner or later. Appointments can be made by calling (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.

We are here when you are ready!

Online Counseling

The internet can make everything easily accessible, from your favorite take-out delivered to your doorstep, online shopping and establishing medical and psychotherapy services. This accessibility can be an extremely helpful resource, but can also hinder productivity, interactions with others and can blur the line between work and home. Novatu in Wilmington offers online therapy and there’s a great chance your insurance will cover it much like it provides coverage for in person appointments. If you are in between insurance carriers then we are still here for you with online therapy that you can pay for out of pocket.

Novatu Online Counseling in Wilmington, NC provides convenient, discrete, HIPAA compliant online therapy for all. Novatu’s online therapists can help you heal from trauma, set new goals, work through the stress the current pandemic or maybe even emotions that are coming up now that you are home more than ever!

Online therapy offers the same exceptional experience as in-person therapy at Novatu Counseling and Coaching in Wilmington. The online therapy schedule is the same as the schedule in office with flexible appointment times to meet your needs. Don’t wait to be the best version of you! Call now (910) 515-4556! ext. 2.

Will Online Counseling Help Me?

Online counseling is used in times like the current pandemic when clients can’t get out of their house, or their therapist is not having in person meetings. It is also used in other scenarios in which you may not want to, or be able to, leave work, fight traffic or your schedule is so busy that you may not be able to get into the office but you can meet online. These are definitely situations in which online therapy may be the best option for you! As is the case with all therapy formats, there are times when online counseling may not be the right format for you right now. Novatu in Wilmington is happy to help you figure that out!

How do I Schedule Online Counseling?

Novatu in Wilmington is ready and happy to provide you the caring guidance and support you need to live a happy and productive life. There has never been a better time to work on yourself! Most insurance plans cover telehealth for mental health services. Call today to get scheduled (910) 515-4556 ext. 2!

Phobias (fear of a specific thing):

Everyone has fears. Whether it is a fear of spiders or a fear of the dark, there are varying situations, places, feelings, objects, or animals that can trigger an unpleasant sensation – an urge to prepare for or altogether avoid the perceived danger. Fear is a completely natural human emotion but, in some people, fears are more pronounced and will manifest as a phobia.

A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear that develops when someone has an exaggerated sense of danger about a certain object or situation. They can be incredibly stressful to live with and, in severe cases, can take a toll on a person’s health, well-being, and overall way of life. Living with a phobia means people are often in constant anguish about whether they may come into contact with what they are afraid of. A phobia, however, goes beyond ordinary fear and may often feature an object or situation that is not typically threatening, such as a ringing telephone.

Phobia Symptoms

  • Dizziness, a faint feeling, or shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Trembling, shaking, numbness, or tingling
  • Sweating, chills
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations
  • Fear of losing control, dying, or fainting
  • A feeling that one is detached from one’s body

Call Today: (910) 515-4556
Treatment for phobias can help to break this negative spiral and can help to get feelings of anxiety under control. At Novatu Wilmington, we offer convenient appointments with daytime and evening hours and accept most major insurance plans. We understand that it can be frustrating to be afraid of something, especially when it is difficult to explain why. Talking about phobias with a licensed, empathic therapist may help you learn how to manage and reduce the fear caused by a phobia. Call today, and let us help!

School Bullying

Bullying Counseling can help you and your child, but first, it helps to understand what bullying is. Bullying refers to unwelcome or unsolicited acts of violence, aggression, intimidation, harassment, verbal abuse, social exclusion, or sexual coercion, which are enacted with the intent to cause physical or psychological harm. Although bullying most commonly occurs among elementary school-aged students, adolescents, and teens, harassment among adults in the workplace is common and has earned media attention in recent years.

Bullying is not limited to physical aggression and may include acts of verbal aggression, relational (or social) aggression, cyberbullying, workplace harassment, or physical assault.

Let us Help

Few things are as disempowering as witnessing your child being bullied and feeling unsupported or incapable of ensuring your child’s safety. The highly trained counselors at Novatu are available to provide counseling and interventions that support anyone suffering with the aftereffects of being bullied and can enhance psychological well-being and encourage trauma recovery.

Don’t let the words or actions of a bully hold you back from being the person you were meant to be – from doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. Call us today to set up an appointment and put an end to bullying! (910) 515-4556 ext. 2.


The average koala bear sleeps for 22 hours per day. Human babies’ typical sleeping time is 16 hours, or 2/3rds of the day, giving true meaning to the phrase, “sleeping like a baby.” But what about you? Three hours? Five? Maybe you sleep for seven hours but wake up feeling unrested. If you are having sleep difficulties, you are not alone. Over 50% of adults report past or current sleep difficulties. Common problems include sleeping too much, trouble falling asleep, and waking up in the night.

What is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Many of us think we’re getting adequate sleep but really aren’t. The amount of sleep you need to be at your best is as an individual as the amount of food you need. It isn’t simply how many hours of sleep time you’re logging in that matters, but how good you feel and how well you’re able to perform each day.

Individual sleep needs vary considerably from person-to-person and also depend on a number of external factors such as motivation and mood. Some people need 6 hours or less, but others require up to 9 hours to feel wide awake and to function at their peak level. However, quality of sleep — which includes keeping regular sleep schedules, proper exercise, and nutrition — is as important as quantity.

How can sleep habits improve your sleep?

One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to replace a poor sleep routine with an environment and schedule that promotes sleep. Sleep expert Dr. Richard Bootzin developed a technique known as stimulus control to help people with insomnia, which involves several sleep habit instructions. The main goals of the stimulus control technique are to fall asleep quickly and to stay asleep.

These goals are achieved by:

  • Developing a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Strengthening your mind’s connection of the bed and the bedroom as a place for sleep
  • Weakening the mind’s link of the bed/ bedroom as a cue for stimulating activities that might interfere with sleep (like studying, watching TV, eating, etc.).

Sleep Schedule

In addition to implementing Dr. Bootzin’s sleep habits, practicing proper sleep hygiene may also help to improve your sleep. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night

If sleep still eludes you, if your mind is on a never-ending chase from one thought to the next, or if nightmares prevent you from enjoying a restful night sleep, contact our counselors at Novatu today. Stop counting sheep; let us help you find the restful night sleep you deserve! (910) 515-4556


Adolescence is a time of many changes. Biologically, this is the time of puberty and “raging hormones.” Tremendous intellectual and cognitive growth happens but is sometimes squashed by the psychological torment of blazing a path toward independence while not being able to be fully independent. Teens are transitioning from operating predominately within the social structure of the family system to venturing out on their own to discover and develop their own social niche in the world. The stress of fitting in and being held as a member of a group of friends, first loves and lusts and arguing with friends and enemies are all common occurrences and while some adolescents become withdrawn and quiet, others are highly engaged with friends and have a desire to be on the go almost all the time.

Seeking Help

Our counselors have the skills and experience to help you (or your teenager) work through these challenges. Counseling provides a safe, trusting environment in which the teenager can express their thoughts and feelings, learn new skills to manage their moods and even communicate more effectively. Teens can create new strategies to help them adjust to the new and stressful situations that come with becoming a young adult. If your teen is not talking to you about their feelings, it is a wise parental decision not to leave your adolescent’s emotional health up to chance. We offer convenient appointment times during the day, evening, and on the weekend. Don’t wait any longer; call Novatu today at (910) 515-4556. We are ready to help!