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Hilary Hunsberger

Hilary Hunsberger

Hunsberger: Respect is the vital key to a relatiionship

By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

The Daily Advance

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Licensed Clinical Social Worker Hilary Hunsberger says there is one factor that is necessary for any successful relationship — respect.

Respect is vital to any kind of relationship, according to Hunsberger, who provides individual counseling to children, adolescents and adults, couples and family counseling and play therapy at the Albemarle Counseling Group.

“What is your favorite movie, color or the name of your best friend?” Hunsberger says she asks couples to partake in these questions in order for them to “remain intimately familiar with each other’s world.”

Hunsberger said when couples answer these questions she immediately gains a sense of how connected or distant they are in respect to their daily lives.

She encourages people in relationships to “greet each other with an affectionate greeting.”

“Try to be appreciative and be clear about what you are feeling,” explained Hunsberger.

Hunsberger said she recommends people read “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” by psychologist John Gottman.

“There is a difference between criticizing and offering advice,” said Hunsberger. “Stay away from judging and contempt.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s degree in clinical social work from Loyola University of Chicago, Hunsberger entered the field of counseling in 1996 and worked in Philadelphia, Pa.

Born in Portland, Ore., Hunsberger lived in Puerto Rico and Iowa before moving with her family to Elizabeth City when she was six years old. She said her mother Bobbi Hunsberger, a retired licensed clinical social worker, and her father, Dr. Kurt Hunsberger, a retired physician, inspired her to pursue psychology as a career.

Hunsberger returned to Elizabeth City in 2007, and she has been working with the Albemarle Counseling Group since 2009.

She enjoys spending time with her family, playing the cello and painting using acrylics and oils. A member of the Elizabeth City State University/Albemarle Community Orchestra, Hunsberger also performs with her mother in a string quartet.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Hunsberger said she helps people “adjust to changes in life.”

The most rewarding aspect of her job is when, “Someone tells me that I have helped get them through the day,” said Hunsberger. “I feel like I have made a real connection with someone and given them relief from anxiety.”