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COLUMBUS – Seeing patients get back on track in their lives makes the job worthwhile for mental health physicians at Discovery Counseling.

“My main vision for the whole thing is to really provide the services and reduce the stigma associated with mental health,” said Mike Goos, founder of Discovery Counseling located in Suite 700, 3005 19th St.

Goos is licensed as a provisional mental health practitioner. He established the business after retiring as a school psychologist for Columbus Public Schools and Schuyler Community Schools. He has approximately 25 years of experience working with students and decided to branch out into the private sector.

“I needed something to do,” he said.

A year ago, Goos and his wife, Tracy, began their search for an office space to house Discovery Counseling. Tracy works for Columbus Family Practice and suggested the old hospital building. Amy Blaser, vice president of physician relations and business development for Columbus Community Hospital, gave the couple a tour of the building. The Gooses liked the space and decided to make it their own.

The office was decorated to create a homey atmosphere for patients to feel more comfortable. Most of the patients were referred by their companies through the employee assistance program (EAP). Companies would refer staff members who need assistance with resolving personal problems.

Discovery Counseling maintains a partnership with local physicians for referrals and vice versa.

“It has worked out nicely,” Goos said. “I won’t turn anyone away. Whoever comes in the door, I am going to provide assistance one way or another. We will work with folks to make sure that they get the services they need and if we can’t provide the services, we are going to find a place where they can receive those services.”

Goos said that being able to help people is the best part of his profession. He strives to be an active-listener for all of his patients while engaging dialogue to help resolve issues together.

“If I could do this for free, I would,” he said.

The company offers a wide range of counseling services, including personal, couples, family, parenting, anger management, marriage, youth, drugs and alcohol counseling. Goos hopes to add counseling services for immigration and acculturation issues. He is in the process of setting up intensive outpatient treatments (IOP). Once intact, Discovery Counseling would be the only practice in Columbus providing this treatment.

“I would say we are a one-stop for everything,” he said.

Adalis Ortiz, certified Christian counselor, leads Christian Counseling sessions for spiritual developments and the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) sessions. Therapist Kelsey Jordan, who is also a licensed as a provisional mental health practitioner, provides marriage and family counseling. Jordan recently moved back to Nebraska to continue her practice. She previously provided counseling services in Hawaii and Colorado.

Goos said that people tend to have individualistic mentalities, especially in rural Nebraska. This makes it tough for them to seek help because it is said to be a sign of weakness. Goos hopes people will learn to break away from this mindset and ask for help more often.

Another struggle in the industry are the negative stigmas associated with mental illnesses. Some people perceive mental illness as a character flaw, however, Goos assures that that is not the case. There are some biological factors that can lead to the illness.

“Depression exists,” Goos said. “It is a real thing.”

Goos implements the analogy of “balancing life on a three-legged stool” in his own personal life and in his patients' lives when it comes to resolving issues. Each leg represents a priority such as family, career and spiritual faith. Different people will have different priorities so they would have to define their own support systems.

When life brings people down, Goos advise them to analyze which priority needs attention to help get them back on track.

“It is all about balance,” he said. “And I try to use that as a way to help folks define what’s important in their lives. I think we all need to have some structure and support.”

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