North Star Counseling was founded by Laura Newsom and Meghan Barker in 2017. The partnership was created to provide counseling services to individuals, families, and groups in the greater Belfast area, with the goal of collaboration and teamwork to meet the needs of the community.
Laura Newsom, LCPC, LADC
After being raised in Connecticut, I attended Dartmouth College, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1995. Following college, I taught and worked with at risk youth in boarding school environments, as well as wilderness programs, and soon learned my passion lay in working with adolescents and families. I returned to school and received a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from University of Vermont in 2003. I began my work as a therapist working with teens and families at a social services agency in Burlington, Vermont. I loved the excitement and intensity when the teens arrived at my door. I eventually moved back to Maine and started working for Day One, a substance abuse agency, at Long Creek Youth Development Center, a residential correctional facility for adolescents. Eventually finding my way to beautiful mid coast Maine in 2010, I began working at Ironwood, a residential treatment center for adolescents.
Throughout my career, I have strengthened skills in assessment and diagnosis, goal setting and treatment planning, treatment interventions, discharge planning and aftercare. I have training and experience in working with substance abuse, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. I also have experience in working with adoption related issues, ADHD, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, defiant behaviors, high functioning autism, trauma, and attachment issues.
My favorite part of work is building relationships with others who are striving to grow, learn, and gain direction in their lives. At times, change can be intimidating and overwhelming, and having support and guidance can be helpful. I believe in being goal oriented and solution focused, and in building readiness, motivation, and skills to create change.
Meghan Barker, LCSW
I grew up in Massachusetts and visited Maine throughout my childhood. In 2006, I received a Bachelors Degree in Language Arts from Hofstra University. After spending time in Wyoming teaching therapeutic horseback riding, adaptive ski lessons, and working at a residential treatment center for adolescents, I returned to school in 2011 to receive my Masters of Social Work from Boston College. Since then, I have lived in Alaska and Washington, where I worked as a clinician for a wilderness therapy program and at a community mental health agency. Landing in Maine brought me into family’s homes as a Home and Community Based Counselor (HCT) and then to a Residential Treatment Center for adolescents as a Therapist.
Working primarily with youth and families has strengthened my skills in areas of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, wrap-around care, self-harm, goal-setting, crisis planning, family conflict, trauma, healthy relationships, and strength-based interventions. I have training and experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness-based practices.
Throughout my career, it has been my intention to support and guide individuals and families with a non-judgmental and compassionate approach. I believe in the power of being real to ourselves and real to others, so that we can lead healthier, more grounded lives. I am so fortunate to be in a field and community where I get to witness the benefits that confidence, clarity and resiliency can have on one’s life.