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Woman Smiling

Madalina Ochenatu, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counselor, CRC, LPCA

Madalina Ochenatu has a dual background in medicine and psychology, and she has worked in both fields as a clinician, researcher, and volunteer. She is originally from Romania and she earned a Medical Doctor degree from “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest. In her birth country, she worked for five years as an intern and resident doctor, demonstrating clinical skills in patients’ care and ability to work in a healthcare team. She moved to North Carolina, to obtain a formal training in psychology and to pursue her dream of becoming a behavioral health clinician, focusing on chronic illness and health-related issues. She took an interest in this field upon her realization that, even though life expectancy has increased, the impact of habituated stress and chronic illness on an individual’s physical and mental health and quality of life are not properly addressed by the medical model. 

Seeking to better understand the relationship between physical and psychological aspects of stress and chronic illness, she pursued a second degree in psychology and graduated with summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). At UNCG, she participated in research on cognitive functioning and the impact of stress and gene-environment interaction on depression. She also completed an internship at UNCG Psychology clinic, gaining valuable experience in conducting evidence-based psychotherapies for various mental health conditions and all age groups. Pursuing further graduate training in counseling, she graduated with High Honors from the UNC at Chapel Hill, earning a Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (CRMHC) with a specialization in psychiatric disability. Upon her graduation from the CRMHC program, she teamed up with her graduate practicum and internship clinical supervisor, Dr. Lekisha Alesii, and started to work as a therapist at the Center for Health and Emotional Wellness, LLPC. In this practice, she specializes in counseling for mental illness (depression, anxiety, adjustment disorder, grief, emotional trauma, PTSD, eating disorders, dual disorders etc.), chronic physical illness causing psychiatric disability (chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, morbid obesity, etc.), and commonly encountered issues (stress, emotional burnout, life-work balance, relationships, health, and wellness). She has also conducted psychological assessments for individuals with disabilities and active duty members and veterans of the United States armed forces, applying for Social Security and/or Veterans Affairs benefits.

Given her education and training, she recognizes how powerful and transformative holistic therapy can be for an individual who lives with chronic physical and/or mental illness and how properly addressing vulnerabilities as well as strengths and personal resources is key to achieving health and emotional wellness. Thus, she is committed to working collaboratively with her clients in individual, family, or group counseling to appraise and address holistically relevant biopsychosocial factors impacting their ability to either manage, prevent, or decrease the impact of stress and chronic illness on their life. By employing a person centered approach, tailored complementary evidence-based practices for an individualized journey, and by enlisting the needed social supports and services, she works together with her clients towards promoting their emotional wellness, disease prevention, and adjustment to living with chronic illness.

Profile Summary

  • Education:
    • Medical Doctor Degree, General Medicine Specialization; graduated from Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania, September 1995
    • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, graduated with summa cum laude UNC-Greensboro, May 2016
    • Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, Psychiatric Disability Specialization, graduated with High Honors from UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, May 2019
  • Licensure, Certifications, and Accreditations:
    • Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in North Carolina (LPCA) (No: A14885)
    • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) (No: 0038792)
    • Individual Provider Vendor Contract with Vocational Rehabilitation to provide counseling and other vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with physical and mental disabilities (in progress)
    • Paneled Healthcare Provider to working with major insurance carriers through CAQH Solutions Proview (member ID # 14420440) (in progress)
    • NPI Number- for Professional Counseling: 1619531092
  • Practicum and Internships in Psychiatry and Psychology:
    • Internship and Residency training: Emergency County Hospital, Ploiesti, and University Hospital, Bucharest
    • Undergraduate Internship in Psychology: UNCG Psychology Clinic, Greensboro
    • Graduate Practicum and Internship in Psychology: Center for Health and Emotional Wellness, PLLC, Durham
  • Research Experience in Psychology:
    • depression and anxiety - Gene Environment and Emotion lab at UNC-Greensboro
    • cognitive and metacognitive functioning - Adult Cognition lab at UNC-Greensboro
    • teens with chronic illness transitioning to adulthood - STARx lab at UNC-Chapel Hill
    • Graduate Master’s Thesis: “Ineffective Coping and Inadequate Social Supports as Risk Factors for Depression after Heart Transplant Surgery” at UNC-Chapel Hill 
  • Continuing Counseling Education: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), TeleMental Health for online services
  • Theoretical Orientation: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) integrated with complementary techniques from DBT, CPT, ACT, and Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Clinical Professional Goal: to coordinate care, conduct psychological assessment, and provide individual, family, or group counseling while assisting health care providers in helping individuals and their families to better manage chronic physical and mental illness and live healthier lives
  • Target Client Population: individuals of all age groups:
    • with depression, anxiety (social anxiety, generalized anxiety, specific phobias), adjustment disorder, grief, emotional trauma, PTSD, behavioral problems, eating disorders, and dual disorders
    • with chronic illness (chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, traumatic brain injury, morbid obesity) causing physical or mental disabilities
    • seeking to better manage stress, avoid burnout, improve relationships, and achieve life-work balance
  • Currently, she accepts new clients for individual, family, or group therapy (groups for: treating social anxiety disorder, bariatric surgery clients, chronic pain management), and rehabilitation counseling services, on site or on-line via HIPAA compliant website
  • Accepted Payment
    • Pay By: American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa, Health Savings Account, Check
    • Will Accept Insurance Plans (BCBS of NC, Aetna, and others) - Soon!
    • Sliding scale:Yes
  • Psychology Today Profile:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/profile/463136
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 919-589-3550
  • Fax: 1-888-819-6694


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