Who We Are

Making Connections Counseling is a non-profit counseling organization created to offer effective and affordable counseling to residents of Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, and Sarasota. It is our belief that everyone deserves to be nurtured and supported during their healing process; therefore, we do offer a sliding fee scale according to income and ability to pay.

Our organization works with individuals, couples, and families experiencing mental health issues, marital conflict, teen difficulties and disorders, family blending, divorce, and grief and loss through education and therapeutic intervention. We recognize that life situations can get worse before they get better and are here to honor that process while we establish realistic goals and commitments to our clients.

Making Connections Counseling

Meet The Therapists

Stacey Schaeffer, Practice Owner/Therapist, has been educated and worked in the field of mental health for 19 years. Stacey began her studies at the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. From her undergraduate studies, Stacey completed her Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She furthered her studies in Marriage and Family Therapy earning a graduate certificate from the University of South Florida. She is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Stacey has worked in a variety of mental health areas including community mental health with children and adults, substance abuse, domestic violence, school counseling, couples counseling, and family counseling. She has a passion for helping and working with individuals, couples, and families who are dealing with mental health issues and life situations that present struggles and challenges. Stacey specializes in working with veterans, active members of the military, and first responders. In addition to working part-time in private practice for Making Connections Counseling, Stacey is also the Vice President of Prevention and Diversion Services for Circuit 12 for the Safe Children Coalition.

Joan (Joanie) Anderson, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, completed her Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She has worked in the field of mental health for 19 years. Joanie is also a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She has worked in a variety of mental health areas including community mental health with adolescents and adults, substance abuse, domestic violence, and school-counseling. Joanie utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches including Solution-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy to help her clients navigate through the challenges of life.

Our Services

  • Individual Counseling
  • Couples Counseling
  • Family Counseling
  • Grief & Loss Counseling
  • Trauma Counseling
  • Divorce Counseling
  • LGBT Counseling
  • Personal Growth Counseling
  • Life Stage Transitional Counseling
  • Blended Family Counseling
  • Dual Diagnosis Counseling
  • EAP Counseling

Insurances accepted:

  • Aetna
  • Aetna (Your Choice Manatee)
  • Anthem
  • Beacon Health
  • Behavioral Health Systems
  • BlueCross and BlueShield
  • Carebridge
  • Cigna
  • ComPsych
  • Corporate Care Works
  • Coventry
  • E4 Health
  • ENI (Employee Network, Inc.)
  • First Health
  • Florida Blue
  • Gulf Coast Provider Network
  • Health Advocate
  • LifeSynch
  • Military OneSource
  • Multiplan
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • New Directions
  • Optum
  • Quantum
  • UMR
  • United Behavioral Healthcare
  • United Healthcare
  • ValueOptions
  • WellPoint
  • Workplace Solutions

Therapeutic Processes

We offer a variety of therapeutic techniques, here are just a few...

  • Humanistic Therapy for All
    • Exploring your feelings and experiences in the present moment.
  • Cognitive Therapy for All
    • Exploring your thoughts, how they affect your life, and what you can do to change them.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for All
    • Exploration of thoughts and behaviors revealing how you can change them.
  • Solution Focused Therapy for All
    • We begin with the solution in the first session.
  • Strategic Therapy for All
    • We identify issues, set goals and personalize interventions to achieve your goal.
  • Multi-generational Therapy for Families
    • Discovering the link between past and present family relationships from your family of origin.
  • Structural Therapy for Families
    • Healing the family from inside out.
  • Behavioral Therapy for All
    • Identify behaviors and put in place specific reasonable modifications.

Our Mission

Making Connections Counseling is a non-profit counseling organization dedicated to providing professional services to individuals, couples, and families that promote and restore healthy relationships.

Our Vision

The vision of Making Connections Counseling is to build a nurturing community in which individuals are empowered to live healthy, productive lives and where all are seen as valued members of the community. We envision a community strengthened by diverse individuals and families who are empowered and supported by caring environments.

Our Values

We recognize that healthy families are vital to a healthy society. We also recognize the diversity and inherent worth of each individual, who collectively forms the backbone of our community. We value children as the future of our society and promote their right to care and nurturing in a safe, healthy environment by strengthening family dynamics and promoting healthy relationships.

Core Values

  • Access: We believe everyone in our community should have access to professional counseling services regardless of their income.
  • Collaboration: We understand the importance of close coordination and communication with our clients and other for profit and not for profit organizations working together to serve the individual and the community at large.
  • Commitment: We are committed to our clients and are focused on the restoration of their emotional, relational and mental health.
  • Compassion: We approach individuals, couples, and families with compassion, kindness, and respect. We are non-judgmental, accepting, and compassionate in our words, actions, and thoughts.
  • Integrity: We will do the right thing by putting our clients first. Our practices are ethical, consistent, congruent and compliant to industry standards.
  • Professionalism: We demonstrate our professionalism in support of our clients on a daily basis through our employment of best practices, our work ethic, our strategic thinking, and an abiding respect for the individual values of each client.

Contact Us

(P) 941-704-5200
(F) 941-761-6300

Making Connections Counseling
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