Joseph Brigandi, Licensed Professional Counselor

Joseph Brigandi, NREMT, MS, M.Ed, LPC-Intern
Psychotherapist Betty Alice Erickson, MS, LPC-S, LMFT.

Joseph Brigandi, NREMT, MS, M.Ed, NCC, LPC-Intern, Psychotherapist is privileged to work under the clinical supervision of Ms. We are a full spectrum clinical mental health counseling practice and my personal research interests include youth and adolescent self harm (NSSI) and post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Operating as usual



FIRST RESPONDER SU***DE First Responder Su***de. Join Joseph Brigandi, Clinical Mental Health Counselor and First Responder for an excerpt from his talk to the Association of Texas...


You are all cordially invited to this professional development series sponsored by the Association of Texas EMS Professionals. JULY 8th, 2022 @ 12:00 PM (CDT)


Without judgement. Simply accepting what it is. Giving gratitude for the opportunity to love ourselves unconditionally, one more time.


Mental Injury Stigma Court

All organizations say they support the mental health of their workers, yet every few weeks, I hear from a peer that tells me that they have been cleared to return to work by their psychologist, but their employer no longer wants them on the job. Why is this? Are we damaged goods? Is it just easier to replace us with a new malleable rookie?

It’s my opinion that employers like this who don’t value the experience, skill and wisdom in the profession and who would instead toss us aside are significant contributors to the stressors in the first place. Perhaps these old school managers are the ones that should be replaced with more forward-thinking bosses that know the benefits for both the organization and worker of providing a psychologically safe workspace.

Have a safe week, everyone.

Connections ~ 04/28/2021

Connections ~

The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But the researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere embrace produces a hormone called "oxytocin", also known as the love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilizer is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms, who cradled a child, who cherish a dog or a cat, that we are dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or simply hold the Shoulders of a friend.

A famous quote by psychotherapist Virginia Satir goes, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Whether those exact numbers have been scientifically proven remains to be seen, but there is a great deal of scientific evidence related to the importance of hugs and physical contact. Here are some reasons why we should hug::


Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that acts on the limbic system, the brain’s emotional centre, promoting feelings of contentment, reducing anxiety and stress, and even making mammals monogamous. It is the hormone responsible for us all being here today. You see this little gem is released during childbirth, making our mothers forget about all of the excruciating pain they endured expelling us from their bodies and making them want to still love and spend time with us. New research from the University of California suggests that it has a similarly civilising effect on human males, making them more affectionate and better at forming relationships and social bonding. And it dramatically increased the libido and sexual performance of test subjects. When we hug someone, oxytocin is released into our bodies by our pituitary gland, lowering both our heart rates and our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.


Connections are fostered when people take the time to appreciate and acknowledge one another. A hug is one of the easiest ways to show appreciation and acknowledgement of another person. The world is a busy, hustle-bustle place and we’re constantly rushing to the next task. By slowing down and taking a moment to offer sincere hugs throughout the day, we’re benefiting ourselves, others, and cultivating better patience within ourselves.


Affection also has a direct response on the reduction of stress which prevents many diseases. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.


Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the Solar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.


Almost 70 percent of communication is nonverbal. The interpretation of body language can be based on a single gesture and hugging is an excellent method of expressing yourself nonverbally to another human being or animal. Not only can they feel the love and care in your embrace, but they can actually be receptive enough to pay it forward to others based on your initiative alone.


Hugging boosts self-esteem, especially in children. The tactile sense is all-important in infants. A baby recognizes its parents initially by touch. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.


Everything everyone does involves protecting and triggering dopamine flow. Low dopamine levels play a role in the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s as well as mood disorders such as depression. Dopamine is responsible for giving us that feel-good feeling, and it’s also responsible for motivation! Hugs stimulate brains to release dopamine, the pleasure hormone. Dopamine sensors are the areas that many stimulating drugs such as co***ne and methamphetamine target. The presence of a certain kinds of dopamine receptors are also associated with sensation-seeking.


Reaching out and hugging releases endorphins and serotonin into the blood vessels and the released endorphins and serotonin cause pleasure and negate pain and sadness and decrease the chances of getting heart problems, helps fight excess weight and prolongs life. Even the cuddling of pets has a soothing effect that reduces the stress levels. Hugging for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.


Hugs balance out the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centres called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
Embrace, embrace with your heart.~~

art: Dorina Costras


The Thirsty Horse

Sometimes our trauma impairs our ability to know we're injured. All the help can be available to us, but if we don't know we're in trouble, how can we ask for support? Creating programs and trowing money at mental health programs for emergency workers isn't enough if it's not getting to the people who need it.

The fish won't jump in the boat when you're fishing; they need to be netted. Just like the dying horse in this image, we may not know what our recovery looks like, even if it's right on front of us. Why would this horse drink when he doesn't even know he's thirsty.

Proactive and preventative measures should be made to lower the non traumatic stressors like 'Station Stress'. When we're involved in potentially damaging calls, we shouldn't be asked if we need the CISM team; they should be activated automatically.

A big thanks to my EMS sister Jessica van der Hoek for helping me with this one.

Have a safe weekend, everyone.


First, deal with police mental health 09/04/2020

First, deal with police mental health

The current national discussion on policing in America has appropriately focused on systemic racism and brutality.

However, it has left out one key issue to which almost everyone appears blind: We are not going to get the quality policing we want until we have a concern for officer wellness in the area of mental health.

First, deal with police mental health The current national discussion on policing in America has appropriately focused on systemic racism and brutality. However, it has left out one key issue to...



I'm sure we all want to end up as old retired emergency workers one day. If you have the capacity, find a way to navigate your way through the mental stresses. If you don't have the capacity then seek the help you'll need. We all deserve to live long and happy lives and enjoy our retirement.

Stay safe everyone


TeleMental Health. We’re here when you need us.


The new face of online Tele-Mental Health Therapy. We have added additional counselors who are available online 7am to 10pm six days a week! (469) 646-6350

Home - The Counseling Center of Texas 03/19/2020

Home - The Counseling Center of Texas

COVID-19. We are expanding our online Telemental Health therapy program and adding additional counselors who will be available from 7:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Friday by online appointment to provide counseling, coaching and behavioral health services to adults, children and families throughout the entire great state of Texas online. 469-646-6350

Home - The Counseling Center of Texas Each of our clinicians brings a lifetime of learning and a wealth of clinical expertise to the counseling profession and to their clients. We encourage you to examine our clinician and coaching profiles and to reach out to us individually for additional information.


All right fair citizens, if you're going out tonight and it's a first date or a Tinder or a Bumble or a Hinge or a blind date or a Bleep Bloop or whatever dating app is and these days and you don't really know that person yet, make sure someone knows where you're going.

Like tell your brother "I'm going to Truluck's" or even tell Diana in HR "we're going to a movie at Harkins" and Diana in HR will say "which movie?" and you'll say "Parasite" and Diana in HR will say "I didn't like that one because..." and you'll go through all that rigmarole that you always go through with Diana in HR, but at least someone knows where you are.

If you feel uncomfortable during the date, remember it's ok to leave! If something isn't right, you're under no obligation or contract to stay! You can just get up and go! Like Dora the Explorer-- vamonos, let's go!

We're always here and always working so we're here if you need us too. Be safe and smart, fair citizens, tonight and every night!

A Silent Epidemic: The Mental Health Crisis In Our Schools 11/28/2019

A Silent Epidemic: The Mental Health Crisis In Our Schools

We partner with school districts in Texas to provide the mental health component that rounds out your treatment team. If you’re interested in a collaborative approach that’s
always focused on putting the needs of the child first, reach out and see how our team of therapists can serve your school district. We also coordinate several CEU offerings for teachers and school counselors. 469-646-6350.

A Silent Epidemic: The Mental Health Crisis In Our Schools Our public schools are struggling to handle millions of students with mental health problems. Here's why.

I'm a paramedic – I'm not supposed to feel 11/22/2019

I'm a paramedic – I'm not supposed to feel

Clinical detachment and behavioral health don’t always go together. Once the storm passes its time to process whatever happened with a professional. Therapists trained in post incident stress management can help to make sure your worst day in the field isn’t your last day in EMS.

I'm a paramedic – I'm not supposed to feel A paramedic takes on the gut-wrenching task of informing the family of a patient's death

Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’ 11/19/2019

Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’

Physician: American Children ‘Immersed in a Culture of Disrespect’ Americans have tried the kinder, gentler, let-me-be-your-friend approach to parenting for the last several decades. If the behavior problems in schools and the heightened level of sensitivity on college campuses are any indication, this parenting approach hasn’t produced the positive outcomes we w...


Japan's Su***de Forest.

The National Su***de Prevention Lifeline is: 1-800-273-8255

Study Says Art Makes You Mentally Healthier, Even If You're Not Good At It 09/04/2019

Study Says Art Makes You Mentally Healthier, Even If You're Not Good At It

“Art makes you mentally healthier...even if you’re not good at it.” Im so grateful for the artists who share their art and more importantly their process with me over the years, they change my life for the better in so many ways. And I’ll readily admit I’m not that good at it!

Study Says Art Makes You Mentally Healthier, Even If You're Not Good At It Art making has been shown to reduce stress levels, even if you are not good at it. Here're the health benefits of art that will get you start making arts.


Emotions are chemical levels in your brain and your body is constantly trying to maintain equilibrium. If one emotion sky rockets, that chemical becomes flagged and signals the tear duct to open as an exit to release that emotion packaged neatly within a tear. It’s why we feel more stable after crying, as if whatever emotion we were feeling had been released and we were refreshed. This is also why tears from different emotions look different under an electron microscope. They’re literally made up of different things. According to Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian’s College of Arts and Sciences, happy tears are structurally different than sad tears than angry tears than overwhelmed tears etc. Different types of tears have distinct molecules. Emotional tears have protein-based hormones including the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller that is released when we are stressed.

Texas Legislature passes mental health bills 07/14/2019

Texas Legislature passes mental health bills

Texas Legislature passes mental health bills The 86th Texas Legislature ended on Memorial Day, but most of the effects won’t be felt for a few more months. Mental health proved one of the most prevalent topics of discussion. In February, Gov. Gr


Our Story

Joseph Brigandi, NREMT, MS, M.Ed, NCC, LPC-, Psychotherapist.
We are a full spectrum clinical mental health counseling practice and my personal research interests include youth and adolescent self harm (NSSI) and post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

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