Arthur J. Ortiz Counseling
Find the Strength to Ask for Help
By Marge Shoemaker
Are you suffering from anxiety, depression, or trauma? Are you facing issues related to life transitions, divorce, grief, infidelity, or chronic illness? It takes strength to recognize that you need help and then to go out there and find it! If you’re looking for a therapist who shows empathy, patience, and knowledge…who listens and is not judgmental…you should call Arthur J. Ortiz Counseling and Consulting.
Art spent many years working in emergency medicine as a nurse and a respiratory care practitioner before getting a degree in counseling. “A lot of my time in those positions was spent in comforting and reassuring patients and their families,” Art recalls. He learned from these patients and families that physical health and mental health are closely related; that each affects the other. He was working one Christmas and met an incoming helicopter rescue, he recalls. “The grandfather had had a heart attack. The holidays had been happy up to that point; now, they were sad. After getting Grandpa settled, I offered comfort to the family…and even prayed with them. I could see it helped soothe their anxiety.” He could see that the care he gave to the patient and family’s mental state was as important to their well-being as the medical care that was being given.
Art shares his family history as a way of explaining his philosophies. His parents met in Omaha after immigrating—separately—from Mexico in the early 20th century, during the Mexican Revolution. They raised nine children in a three-bedroom home; they were very poor. Every Sunday, the extended family would gather. “There was a hierarchy: the women worked; the men sat and talked; the kids played. When it came time to eat, it was the kids first, then the men, and finally the women,” he recalls. “I was a wild child, becoming a gang member as a way to be accepted in the neighborhood. When I worked in family services and counseled young gang members, I shared this part of my past. They knew I knew what they were about.” This is how Art came to understand the need for therapy that is rooted in family culture. “We are strongly influenced by the way we grew up, whether we know it or not,” he asserts. It’s easier to talk to someone who knows.
Art also learned some vital life lessons from people outside his family, he says. He and his friend, Bob, were coworkers when Art was a hospital intern. “We didn’t like each other at first, but I needed a place to live and he needed a roommate.” One time, Bob invited Art to his parents’ home for a family barbecue, where he learned the value of non-judgmental acceptance. “They became my second family,” he reminisces. “They showed me there is more to life and family than what I knew.”
“My friend Ron was another influential person in my life,” Art continues. “He was a drug and alcohol counselor for an agency I worked for. I saw his successes with his clients—how he worked miracles—and I decided I wanted to be like him: laid-back and non-judgmental!”
Art also credits Alma Howdeshell for being a major influence. Alma was a retired teacher he met while working as an orderly. “Alma saw that I had potential and had something worth saving,” he fondly recalls. “She encouraged me to get my GED. She believed in me and encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity, saying, ‘You never know if you’ll have a second chance!’ She became my first best friend.”
Art has been in private practice in Omaha for four years. He specializes in treating anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD, and he addresses both men’s and women’s issues with self-esteem, life transitions, and coping skills, as well as other areas affecting mood and mental health. Art personalizes each client’s treatment plan. Treatment approaches include such therapies as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), multicultural therapy, and trauma-focused therapy. “My goal is to help my clients find solutions to any difficulty they are experiencing, whether it stems from a past or current issue,” he states positively. “My clients and I work together to find solutions and help them live the life they want.”
Art’s reminder to all of us is that it takes strength and courage to admit you need help. If you think you need a mental health professional, get one! If you’re brave enough to ask for help, you just might end up getting the help you need. Arthur J. Ortiz Counseling and Consulting is located at 13057 West Center Road, Suite 25, in Omaha’s Montclair Professional Building. Call 402-499-6406 to make an appointment or visit arthurortizcounseling.com.
Arthur J. Ortiz