Michelle Topal


Michelle Topal


Not Accepting New Clients
Professions: Marriage & Family Therapist, Mental Health Counselor, Psychotherapist
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: Licensed Clinical Social Worker - C003891


4924 A Windy Hill Dr
1910 Sedwick Rd
Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina 27713

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My Approach to Helping

I know it's not easy to seek help and confront the concerns you are experiencing. I am here to help you explore the obstacles you are facing and find the path that is best for you. I believe that we are all capable of creating change in our lives and I try to create a safe, accepting space for you to see what is possible for you. Talking about struggles and finding solutions is not easy, but I work to make it as comfortable and safe as possible. In coming to see me, you will feel cared for, heard and understood. I will help you find practical solutions, different ways to think about your situation and options, and have a life that is full and meaningful. My approach is informal, straight-forward, honest, caring and genuine. It can also be more structured and goal-directed, if this is preferable. I am committed to making it safe to express sometimes confusing and conflicting thoughts and feelings and figure out what they mean to you and the life you want to have. Call me. I want to help you begin making your life more of what you want it to be.

More Info About My Practice

I have been the owner of Change for Living Counseling, PLLC for 14 years. My practice specializes in the needs of kids and families, couples, relationships and the LGBTQ+ community with over 25 years of experience. It's important to find a counselor that helps you feel comfortable and understood, so contact me to see if I may be the right fit for you, or just schedule your first appointment to start getting help now.

-$125 and up per session (rates vary depending on service provided)

-Are offered on a limited basis.
Please discuss with me any financial hardship that might impact your ability to pay our self-pay rates. I know things have been difficult for a lot of people, so I have options to lower rates in a limited number of cases. Reduced fees are based on eligibility.

-I am in network with Medcost and you can use your out of network, HSAFSA to see me for all other insurances. Due to issues of confidentialityprivacy and pre-existing condition concerns, I limit involving insurance companies in client treatment.

-Cash, check & credit card (through Paypal accepted)

-Evening hours available
We're here when you need us. In order to accommodate people's schedules, I do have evening hours available.

Please call now at 919807-1454 to see how I can help.

Specific Issue(s) I'm Skilled at Helping With

At Change for Living Counseling PLLC I have focused on addressing the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community (this includes those along the continuum of sexual and gender identities, and those who identify as bi or pansexual), couples, non-traditional relationships and family relationships, and child, parent and family concerns. I feel it is important that people feel safe, accepted and understood, especially feeling comfortable sharing aspects of themselves that they may feel very uncomfortable opening up about.

Theoretical Influences that Guide My Work

I believe that we all have struggles, including those of us in the helping professions. I believe it is part of the human condition and it unites us in many ways. Because of this, I see most of what we do as purposeful attempts to get our needs met that are adaptive and "normal", but that may become problematic when they are no longer working for us. I see challenges and healing as a combination of mind and body. My approach to helping myself and others is to incorporate changing ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. In this effort, I look at applying research and our understanding of the brain and it's functioning to gain insight into how change is best created. This includes how the therapy relationship can help to heal the brain and increase feelings of connection, so that relationships outside the therapy office are improved.

Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance

I am committed to making people feel safe, understood and accepted in their experience with me. The most important aspect of therapy is the relationship between you and the therapist. To that end, i want you to feel that you can trust me to care for your feelings and needs in a way that is healing unto itself. Often it is in the unconditional acceptance found in this relationship that change and healing occur. This is not necessarily because this relationship is entirely unique, but because it offers the opportunity to feel responded to, that provides unique benefits. I want you to feel in talking with me, that I am authentic, and care and have the knowledge and experience to put this into practice in a way that makes you feel understood and heard.

Video Message

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Services I Provide

  • Clinical Supervision
  • Consultation
  • Family Therapy
  • Individual Therapy & Counseling
  • Marriage, Couples, or Relationship Counseling

Ages I Work With

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Adults
  • Elders


  • English

Groups I Work With

    I am here to help you feel understood, accepted and to create a space for you to address the issues you are facing. I have over 25 years experience working with kids, especially teens, and their families and family relationships. I help parents with parenting concerns and ex’s with co-parenting to best meet the needs of their children. I also have spent over 25 years of education and experience with issues of sexual orientation and identity, and gender identity and expression and have made a commitment to caring for the LGBTQ+ community, issues of oppression and social activism. I help people along the journey of figuring out how to being themselves, including the coming out and gender affirmation process. In addition, I specialize in working with couples, including LGBT couples, and non-traditional relationships to help them improve connection, communication and trust.

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Abandonment
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment Issues
  • Blended Family Issues
  • Child and/or Adolescent Issues
  • Communication Problems
  • Control Issues
  • Depression
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotional Overwhelm
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Family Problems
  • Forgiveness
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Identity Issues
  • Inadequacy
  • LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Issues
  • Oppositional and Defiant Behavior in Children and Teen
  • Parenting
  • Perfectionism
  • Relationships and Marriage
  • Self-Confidence
  • Self-Doubt
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sensitivity to Criticism
  • Shame
  • Stress
  • Trust Issues
  • Values Clarification
  • Women's Issues
  • Worry
  • Worthlessness
  • Young Adult Issues

Types of Therapy

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Anger Management
  • Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT)
  • Body-Mind Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Conflict Resolution Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Family Systems Therapy
  • Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT)
  • Integration of different therapy models
  • Mindfulness-Based Interventions
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Parent Work
  • Process Oriented Psychology
  • Psychodynamic
  • Reality Therapy
  • Relationship Enhancement Therapy
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
  • Systems Theory /Therapy

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