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 15 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. In addition to working part-time in private practice for Making Connections Counseling, Stacey is also the Senior Director of Prevention and Diversion Services for Circuit 12 for the Safe Children Coalition.

Tracey Holland, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, began her higher education at Vanderbilt University and then graduated from West Virginia University. She launched a corporate career in Los Angeles followed by a 4-year relocation to Santiago, Chile. Upon return, Tracey enjoyed raising her daughter while working as a part-time lay youth minister for the Episcopal Church. Life, careers, and education have taught Tracey that we as individuals and families can choose to be constantly evolving and learning. When this process is not working effectively to the benefit of the individual, therapy can be a positive healing experience. This is true for diagnostic mental health issues as well as personal and relational issues. Tracey has worked in a variety of mental health areas including community mental health and private practice. She finds the energy that can be harnessed by combining the knowledge and experience of the client and the therapist can be remarkable. Tracey often applies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Solution-Focused Therapy modalities. Unconditional personal regard for the dignity and value of each client is core to her practice.

Kenneth Cox, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, developed his interest in counseling while attending the University of Maryland in College Park. There he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology before continuing his education at the University of South Florida. While interning in his Master's program, Kenneth worked closely with at-risk youth in schools throughout Tampa. After graduating with his Master of Social Work degree in 2016, Kenneth relocated to Sarasota, FL. In addition to being a part of the Making Connections Counseling team, Kenneth is employed as a school social worker in Sarasota County Schools. Kenneth has a passion for working with individuals and families. He utilizes a strengths-based perspective and humanistic approach that emphasizes positive qualities. Kenneth uses a variety of treatment modalities to assist clients with life's challenges and manage several mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, mood disorders, behavior problems and OCD.

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


Cost of Services

Our organization's fee for a session is $110 per 50-minute session; however, we do offer a sliding scale based on income. Payment is due at the end of each session unless prior arrangements have been made. Our organization does accept insurance as well as EAP (Employee Assistance Program) benefits, however if we are not an approved provider within your insurance network, you will be required to file for reimbursement with your insurance company. Our organization keeps records of your account and provides detailed billing receipts upon request to be submitted to insurance should you seek reimbursement.


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

info@makingconnectionscounseling.org
8470 Enterprise Circle, Suite 101
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
(P) 941-704-5200
(F) 941-761-6300


Making Connections Counseling
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