Celia H. McKechnie, M.S., LPC

Counselor, UAH Counseling Center

Biography

My name is Celia McKechnie and I am a licensed practicing counselor who has been with the UAH Counseling Center since September, 2014. In addition to being an employee of The University of Alabama in Huntsville, I am also an alumna, having earned my first master’s degree in experimental psychology in December 2005.

I worked for several years in a variety of settings, including as a behavioral therapist with children on the autism spectrum, as an in-home family counselor with Youth Villages and as a mental health clinician with at-risk youth at Three Springs Paint Rock Valley, an outdoor residential treatment center. I later returned to school to get a second master’s degree, this time in counseling psychology from Alabama A&M University in December 2013, so I could pursue licensure with the state of Alabama. After graduating, I gained additional experience working in substance abuse treatment at Bradford Health Services inpatient treatment and outpatient opioid replacement therapy at Huntsville Recovery.

Since joining the team at the UAH Counseling Center, I have continued my education learning all that I can about populations that I am passionate about working with and have even carved out a niche for myself working as an LGBTQ+ ally and advocate.  I am familiar with WPATH standards of care and the challenges being transgender or gender nonconforming as well as facilitating the Trans+ interpersonal support group that meets weekly.  I am a kink aware professional as well as a poly- and ACE-friendly counselor willing and able to work with individuals and/or couples to help promote healthy communication and manage conflict in interpersonal relationships. I am also proficient in using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness and art therapy to help students learn to manage symptoms of a variety of challenges, including depression, anxiety, social anxiety, grief and loss, academic distress, and more.

Counseling Philosophy

I believe that my role as a counselor is characterized by compassion, understanding and validation while challenging individuals to look deep within themselves in order to gain new insight and make changes to their thoughts and behaviors so that they may live healthy, balanced lives.  Grounded in Humanistic Psychology, I like to take a holistic approach to understanding my clients in mind, body and spirit.  As a cognitive-behavioral therapist, I believe that our thoughts, feelings and actions are all interrelated and that by learning to identify distorted thinking patterns and/or irrational beliefs we are then better able to learn how we can restructure these negative or intrusive thoughts in a more positive or productive way.  By changing our thought patterns, we are better able to change how we behave in certain situations and even how we may feel about them.  My goal is not to give you advice or tell you what to do but instead to help guide you along the journey to discovering your own answers and developing healthy coping strategies to manage any challenges that come your way.


Favorite Quotes

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Favorite Book

I love the entire Harry Potter series (books and movies)! I am a hybrid GryffinClaw who claims Ravenclaw as my Hogwarts House and am even a member of the Potterhead Running Club.

Favorite Movies and TV Shows

Too many to list! - Favorite Fandoms include: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Firefly, and Supernatural.

Hobbies

Spending time with my family, making art or crafts, gardening, kayaking and pretty much anything outdoors!

What's your favorite thing about working at UAH?

Getting to see the growth and development in my students as they gain more confidence in managing their challenges so they can move on and live healthy, balanced lives after graduation.

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Telepathy (the ability to sense other people’s thoughts and feelings).

What is something about you that would surprise others?

I was in a sorority in college - Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omega chapter at Birmingham-Southern College.