When most people are looking toward their retirement, creating a plan for how they want to spend their time and where becomes a priority. What is usually not a priority is determining how they will use their life-long career to benefit their chosen place of retirement.
By Melissa Anderson
Jana Thompson, who has started providing limited counseling services in Langdon, is a board certified Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC) in the state of North Dakota and is licensed by the North Dakota Board of Counselor Examiners (NDBCE), National Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Board Certified TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMHP).
Thompson may not have been born in Cavalier County, but it is the place she calls home after spending 11 years in the state of North Dakota. She first attended school in Langdon, graduated from the University of North Dakota and taught for few years in Cannon Ball and Grafton before moving on.
“My father was an engineer on the Nekoma site. He moved to Langdon in June of 1972, and the family soon followed. We had moved so many places… North Dakota is home because it is the place that I have lived the longest in the USA,” Thompson said.
Thompson will be retiring in two and half years after an incredibly successful career with the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). Currently, Thompson’s duty station is Okinawa, Japan, at the US Marine school. Over this two and a half year time frame, Thompson will return to Langdon to provide counseling service in person and online.
“We will be using a HIPAA secure online counseling software program, WeCounsel,” Thompson said. When she officially retires in a few years, Thompson plans to travel and be a snowbird. However, Langdon will be her next personal duty station where she will be providing part-time counseling in the same way as she had been previously.
“I have lived on very small overseas US military bases for 32 years. For the past 18 years, I have lived on a US Marine base that is smaller than Langdon. I thrive in a small town atmosphere,” Thompson shared.
Most of her experience is with elementary-age students and their families. However, she has worked with older students in the middle and high schools as well.
“Typically, I work with students experiencing speed bumps in life, adjustment disorders, ADHD, anxiety, spectrum disorders and depression,” Thompson said. Most of her time while working with the DoDEA has been teaching her students prevention skills in the classrooms. The prevention skills are based on a program called “Zones of Regulation” which teaches students how to regulate their emotions. By helping students to recognize and manage the emotions they experience, Thompson helps students have a more positive experience with the world at large.
“I am most excited by the positive results I have seen with students learning emotional regulation,” Thompson said. Teaching young students how to handle strong and often complicated emotions is an integral part of what Thompson has done over her career. Moving forward into the next phase of her life, she wants to continue to provide integral tools to both students and their families in Langdon through a more therapeutic approach.
“As a school counselor, I was not allowed to do ‘therapy’ with families and students. The counseling I am offering in Langdon is ‘therapy’,” Thompson explained.
Providing services to this highly rural area has been easier than expected and has already begun. Thompson sought assistance from the Langdon Area School District in providing a space for her to meet with some students and families in person during the middle of December 2018. Moving forward, Thompson will have online sessions.
“I have received an excellent response from Langdon families. On the first day, my schedule was full for the rest of the week,” Thompson said. Now, Thompson is continuing to meet with students or families and has created a wait list for them. Thompson explained that while counseling can do so much for those who need it, it also has much transitioning, so she does not expect people to wait long for help from her but to search for services elsewhere.
“I have seen eight students with seven more scheduled later this week. Some of those 15 students will be able to see me two times this week,” Thompson stated.
Until Thompson returns to Langdon this summer her sessions with the students will take place online. Thompson acknowledges that the online format may not work well with some people,but believes that, in general, it is a very effective form of counseling.
As a Board Certified TeleMental Health (BC-TMH) provider, Thompson will continue online counseling with some people. Because she is still working under the DoDEA, Thompson can only offer part-time help. At this time, her time is full, and she has started a wait list. To contact Thompson and be placed on her wait list, please visit the following site: janathompson333.wixsite.com/website
Thompson also provided websites for those who would like to search for an alternative provider or who can not wait.
“There are many North Dakota Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) that offer online services. People in Cavalier County can get online counseling help in North Dakota,” Thompson said. The links provided simply require the user to search “North Dakota” or sign up for an appointment.