About Leslie McKenna

Therapeutic Change and women’s issues< at Leslie McKenna’s Coastal Retreats

Leslie McKenna Coastal Retreats Blue heronI began to specialize in women’s issues in the early 1990’s when I worked with women with histories of sexual abuse, body shame and eating disorders. I quickly saw that women heal and transform most effectively when they are supported in a safe, therapeutic relationship and in a relaxed, beautiful setting. When I created my private practice, I made sure that attention to the setting and environment complemented my clinical skills by fostering feelings of safety in my clients as they addressed significant clinical issues.

Over the years, I have developed an expertise in understanding the unique needs of women when they are working on transforming their lives. I have transmuted my years of experience into this private coastal retreat that offers women both individual and group therapy, mindfulness training, brain science and therapeutic movement.




Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA
M.S. Community Counseling
Date of Graduation, August, 1992
G.P.A. 4.0 / 4.0

Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH
B.A. Zoology, 1981


Private Practice Counselor
Leslie Ann McKenna, PLLC
254 9th Ave Dr. NE
Hickory, NC 28601
(November 4, 2011 – Present)

  • Provide individual, couple therapy for adults
  • Treat clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, sexual abuse issues, grief issues and anger issues
  • Diagnosis and assessment
  • Treatment Planning, goal setting
  • Communicate with physicians and other medical professionals in the community to collaborate in client care
  • Schedule lunch appointments with medical professionals in Hickory to collaborate in client care and to inform them of current therapeutic treatment approaches
  • Attend regular trainings in the areas of Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Eating Disorders and Couples therapy to remain current in evidence based clinical approaches to treating clients
  • 50 hours of training and supervision utilizing EMDR in treating trauma
  • Engage in periodic presentations to various organizations in the community
  • EAP Experience

    • Provided EAP services for 4.5 years to the following clients while on staff at Brian Hissom and Associates Hospice, Catawba County Schools, Shurtape and Shuford Mills
    • Currently panelled with the following EAP Networks HMSA
    • Since June 05, 2013 Wellness Corp.
    • Since November 2011 Valueoptions
    • Since July 10, 2012

    Private Practice Counselor
    Brian Hissom and Associates
    7th Ave
    Hickory, NC
    (June 2007 – November 1, 2011)


    • Provide individual, couple, and family therapy for adolescents and adults
    • Treat clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, sexual abuse issues, eating disorders, grief issues and anger issues
    • Co-facilitate a support group for women in collaboration with Janese Trivett, F.N.P. at A Woman’s View, Hickory, NC
    • Diagnosis and Assessment
    • Treatment Plans
    • Communicate with physicians and other medical professional in the community to collaborate in client care
    • Schedule lunch appointments with medical professionals in the Hickory area to market our private practice and to develop positive working relationships with referral sources
    • Weekly stress management assessments with patients enrolled in Catawba Valley Medical Center Cardiac Rehabilitation / Pulmonary Rehabilitation program
    • Attend weekly staff meetings to consult with other clinicians on staff
    • Attend monthly staff meetings with Catawba Valley hospital rehab staff
    • Gave presentation to Frye Hospital gastric support group on cross addiction
    • Spoke to Catawba Valley Association of Counselors and Therapists on addiction treatment strategies
    • Gave presentation to all Catawba County school nurses on Eating Disorders
    • Attended regular trainings in the areas of Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Diagnosis and Assessment, HIPAA regulations, Ethics, and other areas of clinical interest
    • Maintain good standing with the ACA

    Substance Abuse Counselor

    Cognitive Connection 100

      C East Union St.
      Morganton, NC 28655
      (December, 2006 – July, 2008)
      (July, 2007 – July, 2008 – Substance Abuse Assessments only)


      • Facilitate outpatient substance abuse groups for adults and adolescents The Matrix model
      • Maintain current, Medicaid compliant group notes on each client
      • Work with parents of adolescents and group home staff to support them in their care of adolescent clients struggling with substance abuse issues.
      • Instruct adolescents on “Life Skills” Module and strategies for recovery
      • Apply for Treatment Authorization for each client with ValueOptions or Foothills Behavioral Health
      • Arrange for Diagnostic Assessments when necessary or mandated
      • Conduct Substance Abuse Assessments on adults and adolescents entering the Cognitive Connection Substance Abuse program. Recommend appropriate treatment duration and develop a treatment plan to address each client’s specific issues
      • Communicate with probation, DSS and other agencies as necessary to collaborate on client care
      • Refer clients to inpatient treatment when outpatient care is insufficient for successful recovery
      • Ensure that files are up to date and in compliance with Medicaid standards
      • Re-authorize treatment as authorizations expire
      • Attend clinical staffings to inform staff of current status of each client
      • Enroll each client in NC TOPPS and TARGET POP programs to determine grant eligibility and to track treatment effectiveness.

      Child Custody Mediator

      Administrative Office of the Courts
      25th District Court annex
      1097 S. Brady Ave.
      Newton, NC 28658
      (December, 2003 – December, 2006)


      • Facilitate the process of communication and conflict resolution between individuals involved in a custody dispute within the court system
      • Provide litigants with the opportunity to negotiate and draft their own custody and visitation agreement for their children
      • Clientele served: Parents, Grandparents, Interveners involved in custody disputes within the court system
      • Conduct monthly orientation sessions for families with open custody actions within the court system
      • Schedule litigants for court ordered private mediation session at each orientation
      • Meet with litigants in a private, confidential setting, to support them in drafting a legal custody agreement for their children
      • Enable litigants to address conflict which has hampered them from settling their case
      • Type up and distribute mediated Parenting Agreement to all parties involved in a case, such as attorneys, the family court case manager, the clerk of courts, etc,,, assess intentions regarding signing
      • Maintain communication with appropriate parties involved in a case
      • File appropriate paperwork with the court to enable litigants to close out their case from mediation as successful or non successful
      • Maintain supportive, collaborative relationships with local attorneys and judges

      Treatment Mall Coordinator

      Broughton Hospital
      1000 Sterling St.
      Morganton, NC 28655
      (April, 2002 – August, 2003)


      • Facilitate psychosocial treatment groups for adult males and females on Division A, Acute Admissions Ward
      • Clientele served:
        • Patients with Dual Diagnosis Issues
        • Patients suffering with PTSD, Situational Distress
        • Patients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and other Axis II Diagnoses
        • Severely and Persistently Mentally ill Patients
        • Male and Female sexual abuse survivors
        • Patients diagnosed with anxiety and depressive disorders
        • Psychotic Spectrum Patients
      • Oversee Treatment Mall scheduling and facilitator coverage
      • Facilitate Psychosocial treatment groups with adult males and females
      • Treat patients struggling with grief issues, anger issues, mood disorders, utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral therapy
      • Monitor and resolve Treatment Mall patient population issues
      • Provide oversight of Treatment Mall development and coordinate trainings for facilitators
      • Maintain current treatment mall manual
      • Serve as a member of Division A Management Team and the Clinical Content Committee
      • Provide employee performance information to supervisors regardingfacilitator attendance, dependability, arranging for group coverage when taking leave time, etc

      Service Coordinator

      Communities In Schools

      Emma Love Elementary, Amelia Island Florida
      (July, 1998 – July, 1999)


    • Bring community resources into the school to enable high risk children to optimize their learning potential. Arranged 35 community speakers in the 1998 – 99 year
    • Develop partnerships with local agencies and businesses
    • Recruit mentors to work with high risk children. Recruited 20 new volunteers in one school year
    • Make ongoing referrals to social service agencies
    • Organize parental involvement activities (i.e. organized a spaghetti supper for parents which included a local psychologist who conducted aparenting skills workshop)
    • Conducted staff in-services (i.e. recruited a local practitioner to conduct an in service on brain development in young children)
    • Arrange educational field trips
    • Work one on one with children who are at high risk of dropping out of school

    P.R.N. Staff Therapist

    (January, 1994 – August, 1995)
    Post Graduate Volunteer Therapist
    (March, 1993 – September, 1993)
    Decatur Hospital Alcohol and Drug / Eating Disorder Unit
    Decatur, GA


    • Individual and group therapy with adult males and females in an outpatient substance abuse / eating disorder unit
    • Clientele served:
      • Patients diagnosed with substance abuse / dependence
      • Patients diagnosed with eating disorders (Inpatient / Outpatient)
    • Conduct intakes and assessments for new patients
    • Maintain daily progress notes, identifying progress towards daily, weekly and overall treatment goals
    • Instruct clients in improving communication skills such as when engaging in conflict and when identifying feelings
    • Educate clients on the addictive disease process and assist them in working the Twelve Steps to Recovery
    • Attend weekly staffings to discuss individual client progress

    Post Graduate Volunteer Therapist

    (October, 1992 – October, 1993)
    Counseling Intern
    (January, 1992 – September, 1992)
    The HUB Counseling Center
    La Vista Rd
    Tucker, GA


    • Co-Facilitate a yearlong therapy group for adult female survivors of sexual abuse
    • Clientele served:
      • Adults and children
    • Conduct weekly individual psychotherapy with adults and children
    • Presentations to United Way organizations, informing them of HUB Services
    • Case Presentations to HUB staff
    • Assessments and intake write ups
    • Admissions telephone consultation and referral
    • Suicide assessments and interventions
    • Schedule intakes, maintain progress notes and treatment plans