Leigh Zick Dongre, PhD, LCMHC-S, LCAS, CCS Clinical Director
Part of living in ways that are deeply satisfying to me include embracing all my passions — teaching and leading other counselors, growing and serving as a counselor with clients, and loving my husband, children and family for my own full life. I began learning from and growing professionally with Ginny Mills in 2013 and rejoined the Full Life team as a full-time clinician in 2017.
As Clinical Director, I embrace the Full Life Model of Care with both enthusiasm and commitment to maintaining the highest standards of care, values, and culture that are well-established at Full Life. As a clinician, I am licensed to serve clients in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
I believe in the importance of holistic healing—that takes into consideration the whole person. Through a healthy, collaborative and therapeutic relationship, you will discover insights and patterns that enable growth, create healthy relationships, and establish new positive behaviors in your life. I counsel all people, but I specialize in anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression disorders, substance use and recovery, chronic pain, life transitions (i.e. transition to college, new parent, empty nest, job change, divorce, remarriage, retirement) and academic struggles. My work with multi-disciplinary teams in a hospital setting really informs my counseling with those who are healthcare professionals.
I believe that counseling takes commitment, the willingness to be at least a little bit vulnerable, and the willingness to explore alternative solutions. It is not just a routine check-up. It is not just a quick shot. It’s not just a pill. It is being bold. It is being daring. It is being courageous. It is having empathy for yourself. It is believing in yourself. It is wanting something more for yourself.
Starting counseling can be daunting, or simply put, frightening. I get it, I wasn’t always a counselor. When I decided to begin my own counseling as a client, I left feeling a mix of excitement, hope, relief, anxiety and fear. What would be uncovered? Did I really want to understand myself better, warts and all? Come to find out, that is a pretty normal reaction. Going to counseling is hard at times, but rewarding. Despite my doubt and inner critic, I kept coming back because I wanted to grow, learn about myself, and lead a happy, healthy, and more meaningful life. With counseling, a mix of good friends and family, a commitment to my own wellness, and a meaningful dose of laughter, I am leading the life I have always wanted and deserve—just the right recipe for a peaceful fulfilling life. Whether you are struggling with debilitating anxiety, a new life transition, or addiction, counseling can help you start that new beginning. Studies show that the combination of counseling and medication is the most effective treatment for many concerns.
Through a serendipitous, both joyous and painful, path —as often life is— I discovered a career in counseling. I worked in a variety of settings from agencies, university and hospitals. I begin my journey at Wake Forest University, where I obtained my Masters in Counseling while working as an academic counselor in the WFU Learning Assistant Center. In this role, I counseled students with their academic needs. I completed my PhD in Counseling. For over 3 years, I worked as a counselor, supervisor, and researcher at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the Trauma Center. I have facilitated groups for both families, parents, and young adults addressing recovery, addiction, anxiety, and sexual identity. I also currently teach Masters level counseling students at Wake Forest University.
I am enthusiastically committed to helping people holistically—integrating mind, body, and spirit. My therapeutic approach is mainly person-centered while intentionally utilizing cognitive-behavioral, exposure and response prevention, the Gorski-model of relapse prevention, motivational interviewing, narrative, gestalt, and solution-focused therapy depending on your needs. We will tailor our time together to fit your goals. Life is short. Let me help you learn and develop better ways to handle the issues that prevent you from living your best life.