I am a Board Certified Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner providing medication management as well as short-term therapy. I have worked in nursing for over 20 years in a variety of settings, including pain management and hospice. I describe myself as an existential-humanistic practitioner who integrates a broad base of counseling techniques, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness training.
I believe life can feel like a journey into uncharted land. It may take time until we have clarity about where we are going, and it is important to be willing to change course midway. My own journey has had some unexpected surprises. I grew up in Germany and came to the States as an exchange student for what I believed would be just one year. I was studying biology at the time. As the year came to an end, I decided not to return to Germany, but to complete my studies at the State University of New York at Albany, where I had gotten involved in a research project. Five years later, I completed a Ph.D. in cell biology, but my life had already taken a new turn.
While working on my degree, I had started to volunteer for a suicide prevention hotline and discovered the power of listening. I felt I had a different calling. So even though I was promised a successful career in science, I opted to follow my heart and went back to school for a degree in nursing. I worked as a Registered Nurse (RN) for many years and never regretted my decision. I loved being able to help people during difficult times. Eventually I decided to return to school one more time to get my training and qualifications as a nurse practitioner (NP). I earned a Master’s in the Science of Nursing with a focus on psychiatry and mental health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
My work as an RN took me into diverse settings. I spent time in rural Texas working in a small hospital (22 beds) and in home health. I have worked in intensive care and cared for patients recovering from severe burn injuries at the Jaycee Burn Center of UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. I have been a Hospice nurse, and for many years I worked at the Duke Pain Prevention and Treatment Research Program providing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based coping skills training for study participants dealing with chronic illness or cancer. Before going into private practice, I worked as a psychiatric NP in a community mental health clinic. I have successfully treated clients with mood and anxiety disorders, many of whom had an extensive history of trauma and abuse, as well as many clients with severe mental illness.
I have had the privilege to accompany many people on their healing journeys and have been inspired by their courage and wisdom. I do believe in a holistic approach to healing. Healing is not a return to what was, but a movement forward to a new life allowing true happiness and joy.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Verena Socolar, PLLC is offering appointments via telecommunications.
For appointments or questions call 919-998-9177