Hillsborough Therapy and Couples Counseling


Making Life Altering Changes

       Dr. McCoy

Paula, my editor, was a great help when I was writing The Manipulative Man. I could not intellectually stand back and gain the objectivity and perspective that I needed to make meaningful changes in my book. That was her job. It is also my job. I help individuals, couples and groups to make the changes they desire by offering objectivity, relaxation techniques, communication skills, coping techniques, wellness guidance and behavior change skills. I do my very best work with a motivated client who is determined to heal, grow or just make his or her life story better. 

I have worked with individuals on depression, anxiety (social phobia, generalized anxiety, PTSD and others), relationships, trauma, weight-loss, unhealthy habits, grief and general wellness. Individuals have sought counseling because they were a victim of a crime, violence (police, military), an accident or a serious illness. They have also come because of conflicted relationships, or employment stress.

Normally, individuals were motivated by an uncomfortable emotion: sadness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt and/or anger. The good new is--all of these conditions are treatable (they can be edited).    

I recently returned to my first love, private practice, after taking a couple of years to just write about counseling. I love being in private practice again and I look forward to working with you. Hillsborough is a great place to be.

God bless you, dear visitor, and may your life be filled with much happiness and lots of laughter.

Specialty Area: Police, Military, Crime Victims

I have worked with many officers, veterans and crime victims to overcome the terrible symptoms of trauma. In my professional experience, trauma can be treated in just a few sessions and with little discomfort. There are no guarantees in counseling. However, that has been my experience most of the time.

It is not necessary for you to tell me every detail of the trauma (unless you want to) in order to treat it. I will need a few descriptive sentences and I can work with those. Trauma, including PTSD, is very treatable, why suffer from your symptoms any longer? Call me at 919 245 1034 or email [email protected] and we will talk about your treatment options.

Editing Your Life

Life is much like a book. We write into our life book each day. What we write creates our life story. Sometimes we feel a need to edit our lives and go in a more comfortable, successful or healthy direction. We can come to this realization for many reasons. Perhaps, we have a life changing event, reach a certain age, feel anxious, depressed or any number of other uncomfortable emotions or we just need a change. I have written four published books and I can tell you without reservation, writing a book is extremely hard work. Editing is even more challenging.  The same is true of making healthy changes in your life.  

The good news is--human beings are magnificent creatures. We are built to evolve as change is needed; in fact, change is the only constant in life. People can and do make meaningful changes every single day. It is my job and my joy to help individuals, couples and families edit their lives in ways that encourage a more satisfying, healthy life. Call me today for a free consultation to discuss your life the way you want it to be. (919 245 1034)



Mature Adults Fee

Our Mature Adults fee, 62 and over, is $70.00 per session. Our experience with helping Mature Adults has been quite positive.

Couples Counseling

Once in awhile,
Right in the middle of an ordinary life,
Love gives us a fairy tale.
~ Anonymous ~
Relationships can work beautifully. It takes time and effort, but the rewards are numerous and life long. Let's talk about your relationship and how to make it the best it can be.


We use EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to treat trauma, anxiety, grief and other high emotional states. We also use other treatments for those clients who prefer to move more slowly toward their goals.


The Adaptive Information Processing (AIP) Model has been constructed from observations of many people in states of psychological health and dysfunction. The model reveals that health is supported by positive and successful experiences that increasingly prepare a person to handle new challenges and that the brain is equipped to manage and process adversity.

Yet, there are negative life experiences that can elude a person’s natural processing abilities. Another way to look at this is to consider a splinter lodged in one’s hand. This foreign object can cause pain and infection. Once removed, the body naturally knows how to heal. Depending on the nature of the trauma, the strengths and developmental stages of the person impacted, and the support available at the time of the traumatic event, some experiences cannot be easily moved or recovered from. This can go on to drive psychological symptoms. Once processed or removed like the splinter, the natural process of healing from adversity can take place. The AIP model guides a clinician’s use of EMDR procedures so that the person’s own brain can complete the processing of difficult memories. This results in the reduction of suffering and symptoms and the development of new coping skills that can support psychological health.

More than 20 controlled clinical trials of EMDR have now been completed and reported, attesting to its value and demonstrating its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures for post-traumatic stress disorders. Thousands of clinicians have been trained in EMDR, and have applied the defining protocols of this psychotherapy to many other conditions, including:

Personality disorders, eating disorders, panic attacks, performance anxiety, complicated grief, stress reduction, dissociative disorders, disturbing memories, addictions, phobias, pain disorders, sexual and/or physical abuse, body dysmorphic disorders.


Description of an EMDR Session

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach to psychotherapy that has been practiced in the US and around the world for the past 20 years.   It integrates many of the successful elements of a range of therapeutic approaches, yet there are aspects of EMDR are unique:  In particular, the therapist leads a patient in a series of lateral eye movements while the patient simultaneously focuses on various aspects of a disturbing memory.  The left – right eye movements in EMDR are a form of “bilateral stimulation.” Other forms of bilateral stimulation used by EMDR therapists include alternating bilateral sound using headphones and alternating tactile simulation using a handheld device that vibrates or taps to the back of the patient’s hands.

EMDR is applicable for a wide range of psychological problems that result from overwhelming life experiences. During the processing of difficult memories, a person who has been abandoned by a spouse may come to realize that she is loveable and no longer be overwhelmed by negative feelings about herself or participate in unproductive behaviors stemming from those feelings. A person fearful of driving due to a terrible car accident in the past, may end the session feeling safe to drive again.

The therapeutic effects of bilateral stimulation were discovered by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., who grasped their power in psychotherapy.  Dr. Shapiro found—quite by accident—that emotional and behavioral symptoms resulting from disturbing  experiences tend to resolve naturally when a person allows him/ herself to recall various elements of a memory while engaging in bilateral stimulation such as lateral eye-movements.  Dr. Shapiro and her associates developed a number of procedures for coordinating this “dual awareness.”  The procedures have been refined and validated through controlled research at several centers around the world.  Precise and careful use of these procedures can lead to a safe processing of memories, such that the negative thoughts and emotions disappear.

More than a set of “techniques,” the EMDR approach provides a model for understanding human potential, including how positive experiences support adaptive living, or psychological health, and how upsetting experiences can sometimes lead to psychological problems that interfere with a person’s ability to meet life challenges. The EMDR protocol guides Clinicians in careful assessment and preparation work, particularly for persons with histories of multiple traumas.  EMDR procedures should only be used by a fully trained EMDR clinician, who holds licensure the mental health field.

“EMDR is one of the most powerful tools I’ve encountered for treating post-traumatic stress. In the hands of a competent and compassionate therapist, it gives people the means to heal themselves.”

Steven Silver, Ph.D.
Director of the PTSD Unit, Veterans Admin. Medical Center, Coatesville, Penn.


Article in Chapel Hill Herald Sun on Dr. McCoy


By Nancy E. Oates

Special to The Chapel Hill Herald (Article)

If something’s bothering you – life seems too drab, marriage feels lonely, worries have piled up – put Dorothy McCoy on the case to help you figure out the source. Into her 20-year career as a psychotherapist she spliced a four-year stint in law enforcement that included working on cold cases.

In mid-April, McCoy opened a private practice in Hillsborough and has begun to build a client base, now that she has returned to North Carolina. She specializes in treating trauma, anxiety, depression and couples’ counseling. A client-centered therapist, she uses a short-
term, cognitive-behavioral approach.

“I believe my clients want to learn the skills to handle whatever their issues are, and then they want to go on with their lives,” McCoy said.

McCoy had been writing self-help books in Blowing Rock when she received an offer to teach at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia, conduct pre-employment screenings for law  

enforcement officers and do trauma counseling for officers involved in emotionally devastating situations. During her years in South Carolina, she developed a master instructor program for the academy. In Hillsborough, her office, at 241 St. Mary’s St., is only a couple of blocks from the county courthouse and the sheriff’s office, convenient for continuing to work with law enforcement personnel.

While she was conducting training sessions for law enforcement personnel in South Carolina, a sergeant encouraged her to take the state constable training in order to tailor her workshops specifically to the types of stresses the officers face in the field. She took him up on the offer, and after she completed the training, she sat for the exam and passed, making her a certified state constable. Over the ensuing four years, she put her certification to good use, working as a state constable in the field and on the cold case squad.

Experiencing the stresses officers contend with daily made the workshops she conducted more relevant. For instance, before she worked as a constable, she would emphasize the importance of eating healthy.

“If you’re going to be healthy and handle your stress, you really need to eat right,” she said. “When I got on the street, I found that if I had time to grab a burger at McDonald’s, I was doing well. One busy night, we had to leave our meal three times because we kept getting calls.”

With that knowledge, she modified her training classes to advise officers to keep a power bar or fresh vegetables or fruit in the patrol car to be able to keep their energy up if they did not have time to eat dinner.

Her therapeutic training made her a more effective constable. During a drug bust, she stood watch over one handcuffed suspect while her partners chased another.

McCoy has written four self-help books, the most popular being “The Manipulative Man,” which educates readers on various forms of manipulation along a spectrum in a relationship and how to deal successfully with each. She also developed an interactive workbook, “From Shyness to Social Butterfly,” that stemmed from finding a way to engage more effectively with a client who had social anxiety and wanted therapy sessions over the phone instead of face-to-face meetings.

“I use a number of different models and techniques,” she said. “I’ve seen just about every disorder, every issue someone might have.” 


Read more: The Herald-Sun - Law enforcement background helps psychotherapist s work with clients


Groups from. Dr. Dorothy McCoy

We now offer two goups

Our "Weight Loss Using Guided Imagery/Relaxation to Remove Eating Triggers" will begin the first week in September on Thursday evenings at 6:00. There will be 4 meetings and the fee is $40.00 for all four meetings. An interactive workbook and CD is included. To sign up call 919 245 1034. ( Minimum of 5 members and maximum of 10 members).

Call  919 245 1034for more information.

Our "Using your Personality Type Strengths to Transition in Life" will  on four Wednesday evenings at 6:00. The fee is $40.00, which includes all four meetings, testing and CD.  Call 919 245 1034 to sign up. (Minimum of 5 members, maximum of 10 members)

Call 919 245 1034 for more information.



Locations and Phone Number

241 St. Mary's Rd., Hillsborough, NC 27278

919 245 1032

Annex location: South Carolina

803 465 0191

Licensed in both North and South Carolina

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