As a 17-year-old grieving the loss of her father, Amanda Gentile made a decision that would lead her down her eventual career path. A Dunmore native, she is a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a minor in psychology from University of Scranton. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Rosemont College and is a licensed professional counselor. She also owns the Giving Tree Wellness Center on Penn Avenue in downtown Scranton. Gentile lives in Moscow with her cats Lynx and Kiki and dog Zo.

Meet Amanda Gentile…

Q: Tell me a little about yourself.
A: I
grew up in Dunmore. When I was 17, my dad passed away, and I didn’t know if I should stay in the area for school or not, but my family needed me. So I stayed home, then realized I wanted to venture out, because I love to travel. I moved to Philadelphia for a few years, probably about five years, and got my master’s and loved it. I worked at a couple places and realized I wanted the whole holistic thing, so I decided to take a risk.

Q: What made you want to be a counselor and open the Giving Tree Wellness Center?
After my dad passed away, from getting my own help I realized I could help others through certain things. I always wanted to own my own business. My family comes from owning businesses, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps, but I wanted something that was my own. Counseling was a priority for me. I wondered if I could open somewhere that has counseling but also has holistic things. I was motivated by my background in counseling. I’m very interested in spirituality and alternative medicine. I wondered if I could open something that had counseling but would offer all of that and be a one-stop-shop for all of your self-care. When I found this place (on Penn Avenue), I said, “This is going to happen.” I kind of just threw it all together, and it came together pretty quickly.

Q: What are some particular services the Giving Tree offers, and how are they meaningful to you?
There is the counseling; there is the cafe with smoothies, coffees and teas — all drinks that are good for you. Next there are the float pods. There are major benefits (to those); they help with insomnia, depression, anxiety or mental health issues. They also help with blood pressure and skin problems. The water is set at your average body temperature, and the room is 80 degrees. It’s a place for you to be mindful. I love the float pods, salt and everything that has to do with that. I know the benefits from using them. I also am into the massages, working out and acupuncture. There is a nutritional coach and a fitness instructor who offers all kinds of classes and a spinning studio. I utilize all of them. I try to get in the float pod as much as I can. It helps me sleep a lot better and helps me calm down from the average stress of owning a business. It just lets me turn my mind off when I’m in there. My other favorite thing to do here is work out. Michelle, who owns Trybe, offers classes, private trainings and spin classes. That is my other outlet to de-stress.

Q: What is something you’ve learned about yourself through counseling others?
I learned that I really do want to help people. I am a good listener, and I feel like I can connect with certain people on a very personal level through experiences. It’s more than just sitting there and having a structured session. It’s more real to me, and I can be myself.

Q: What is it like to interact with so many different people and help someone who could be going through very difficult things?
I think it’s awesome. I really like working with teenagers and young women. It’s a good feeling to know that they can come here and feel comfortable and they can utilize any other service even if they’re not sitting in my office. Sometimes I see recurring people in the hallways. After they see me, they’ll work out or float, and it’s awesome. It’s satisfying to know that I’m helping them feel comfortable.

Q: What other hobbies and interests do you have?
I like to travel a lot. My mom lives in Montana half of the year. I like to go visit her. I love to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and I love to go anywhere warm. Those are big things. Any time the weekend comes, I love taking day trips too. I love my pets; they’re like my children. I love cooking. It’s good meditation for me. I also love working out, especially here. It’s a good de-stressor.

Q: What is a piece of simple advice you would give to help brighten someone’s day?
You have to remind yourself daily of what you’re grateful for. Even just being thankful that you got up today and you have a roof over your head, remind yourself that things could be way worse if you think they’re that bad. Set your intentions for that day and remind yourself of the positives.

Q: Have you had a particularly moving experience in your professional or personal life?
I think my dad’s passing was a big thing. I’m at a point where I just have to live my life for every day. You have to take risks because you could wake up tomorrow and not be here. I suffer sometimes from a lot of anxiety, and I need to talk myself through it. I was put here to do something. I think everybody needs to find their path in life. My family and I live for every day. I can say I tried. I can never turn back; I can only move forward.