Women of Distinction Alumni: Lisa Hillary

Milwaukee Magazine is proud to present this special section featuring some of our city’s most accomplished female leaders.

Photo by Linda Smallpage, Boutique Photographer


Over the past nine months, Lisa Hillary has seen the effects of the coronavirus crisis on mental health firsthand. At Hillary Counseling, her therapy practice, she has helped clients find ways to balance the life changes that have occurred from COVID, enhance healthy behaviors and think more positively, along with treating anxiety, depression, relationship struggles, career transitions and other issues. “Therapy most definitely can help people with the struggles they are experiencing from COVID,” she says. “It offers a safe space to pour out feelings and to get support from an objective observer.” With 15 years of experience as a therapist, Hillary knows the positive changes that come from counseling and an improved understanding of mental wellness. “Happiness is all about how you view your life’s limitations – and having the right tools to overcome them.”

“The most valuable thing you can do for someone is to listen to them.”


– Lisa Hillary

MSW, LCSW, Founder, Hillary Counseling



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What led you to pursue a career in counseling and psychotherapy?

Recognizing how the quality of my own life has been profoundly enhanced by self-reflection – the invaluable lesson of how to learn from obstacles, and come to a deeper understanding of who I am – has encouraged me to try and be a catalyst for this kind of change in other’s lives. I’ve been studying the way humans think and behave for close to two decades. Having had one too many encounters with difficult life transitions, anxiety, depression, heartbreak, loss, you name it, I was determined to know how to have a more fulfilling life and relationships. My experience as a therapist and as an individual has shown me firsthand that you can change your life for the better. I’m excited to work alongside my clients to help them create a life that fulfills them in the same way.

What would you say are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about counseling and therapy since you first began your career?

The most valuable thing you can do for someone is to listen to them. People truly want to be heard and understood. This is such a simple skill to apply but holds value beyond belief. According to psychologist Carl Rogers, active or deep listening is at the heart of every healthy relationship. Those who are heard tend to be more open, more democratic in their ways, and are often less defensive. Good listeners refrain from making judgments, and provide a safe environment and container for speakers. I strive to provide my client’s a relaxed, safe and supportive environment where they feel comfortable openly expressing their thoughts and feelings without judgement or shame.

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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