By Bonnie Mason

Miriam Innocenti, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Miriam Innocenti, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Life is full of difficult transitions, many of which can be too difficult for many of us to deal with alone. Sometimes, you just need someone to talk to about things to ease the stress.

Luckily, there are people like Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Miriam Innocenti, MSW (Master of Social Work), who can help New Tampa residents manage the stresses of life’s trials, tribulations and transitions. Innocenti offers counseling for adults, older adults and caregivers in her private practice located in the New Tampa Professional Park in the Pebble Creek area of New Tampa, off Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (behind Pilot Bank).

Innocenti says she teaches her clients coping skills for the various transitions that often come with adulthood. Whether you’re living with a chronic illness, struggling with a divorce, trying to juggle a new career and family, experiencing a cancer diagnosis and treatment, grieving the loss of a loved one or facing the challenges of being a caregiver for a loved one who is ill, she says it’s important to learn how to manage these stresses to move forward in your life. Even new “empty nesters” can find comfort in Innocenti’s compassion and experience as a therapist.

“When I was in school pursuing my B.A. degree in psychology (from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY), I knew then that I wanted to enter a helping profession,” says Innocenti, who believes it is her life and work experience, plus solid educational credentials (she earned her MSW degree in 1996 from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond) that make her an effective counselor. After several years of working in a nursing home and assisted living facility, Innocenti and her family moved to Tampa, where she now lives with her husband. She also has two adult sons and a grandchild.

Prior to opening her private therapy practice in January on Regents Park Dr., Innocenti worked in a variety of capacities at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa as a Clinical Social Worker in Moffitt’s Senior Adult Clinic for nearly a decade before her retirement in 2012. Her role of field instructor at Moffitt also gave her the opportunity to provide clinical instruction and education. Innocenti also managed the Annual Caregiver conferences hosted by Moffitt (2005-11).

“The annual event was an opportunity to recognize and support the individuals who care for patients who have cancer,” she explains. “Cancer changes your life and the lives of family and friends.”

Innocenti also managed numerous cancer support programs for patients and families. She also has been a speaker at several annual conferences for the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) and to general audiences on the topics of depression, anxiety, family issues, caregiving and aging also are in her repertoire.

She says her approach to therapy is highly personalized and tailored to each of her client’s individual needs. She describes her style as an individual and therapist who has compassion and good listening skills. She takes pride in the fact that her clients can feel safe in her Pebble Creek office setting.

“They can be secure in knowing that they will not be judged or criticized during counseling sessions in which they reveal their innermost, personal feelings,” Innocenti says.

Her mission is to provide an atmosphere that allows clients to be themselves, speak freely and be comfortable.

“You have to have skill to be a good therapist,” Innocenti explains. “Often, when people are asked why therapy works for them, a common answer is that they like their therapist and they have a good relationship with that therapist. Trust and confidence in the client/ therapist relationship is one of the most important factors to achieving success in reaching your therapy goals.”

End-Of-Life Counseling

Prior to her tenure at Moffit, Innocenti also gained experience in the area of helping older adults deal with illnesses and impending death while working as a LCSW for two years at Lifepath Hospice. She says this work has provided her with a foundation of clinical skill and experience in working with adults who are at the end-of-life stage and with the families of hospice patients who are facing the myriad of emotions and challenges that come with the potential loss of a loved one.

Innocenti says she believes that therapists can and do provide fresh perspectives on difficult problems and point their clients in the direction of a solution. The benefits you obtain from therapy depend upon how well you use the process and put into practice what you learn. In addition to clients learning how to better understand themselves and their own behaviors, plus learning new ways to communicate, Innocenti says that, although it may be a cliché, laughter is still one of the best medicines. And, laughter also may be part of your sessions with Innocenti who appreciates appropriate humor at appropriate times in the therapist/client relationship.

Innocenti tells her potential and current patients, “While we can’t change difficult situations of the past or the present, we can work together to better understand and deal with problems for a well balanced future. This is the only life you have, so now is the time to get the support you need. Don’t wait.”

To get the help you need to better cope with the daily and major challenges in your life, call to schedule your appointment at 494-8643 or schedule online at Flexible scheduling is available. Miriam Innocenti, LCSW — Counseling for Adults, Older Adults & Caregivers — is located at 8905 Regents Park Dr., Suite 230, in the New Tampa Professional Park.

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