In 2011, after 25 years in solo private practice, I began to imagine a different model where I could join with other therapists in a way that would encourage and support one another in our daily work and professional growth.
As a psychotherapist, the opportunity to be a part of another person’s healing and growth is an extraordinary and humbling experience. As the years went by, it became clear there is so much healing work to do in this world and I wanted to find ways to expand my reach, helping as many people as possible. I learned that as I heal and grow throughout my life, my professional life grows as well. I began to imagine what it would be like to create a collaborative environment where therapists can thrive and clients heal and grow.
In considering how I could do this, I asked Jeremy Larsen what his thoughts were, as he knew me well. I knew Jeremy to be very bright, logical, a straight-shooter (no BS), a visionary with practical ideas and solutions, and figured I would benefit from his perspectives. He invited me to do a visionary brainstorming exercise, to guide me in discovering what it might look like and what was most important to me in this next phase of life. With colored markers in hand and a flip chart we embarked on several hours of exploration and repeated the process many times.
Jeremy knew me well because he is my eldest son and grew up witnessing and being a part of my extraordinary and challenging career as a solo-practitioner. With this shared history, he could guide me to consider things that he observed I was passionate about, as well as come from our shared core values of integrity, compassion, mutual respect and openness.
In its simplest form, I set out to create an inviting, warm, caring, confidential, professional environment that encourages healing in the trusted and sacred relationship of psychological counseling. One by one we hired associates that shared a similar vision. A team was forming and expanding a long with our vision.
It has been 9 years since the flip chart began its colorful iterations. There have been many surprises and challenges along the way. For example, I had not set out to hire pre-licensed associates and become a supervisor on top of a business owner. Yet, with each associate we brought on, I experienced the magic of our collective passion and felt a resurgence of meaningful energy in work and life. This next generation of therapists are remarkable people who have worked hard, are smart, creative and have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others. They inspire me each day! Another surprise was that Jeremy’s role would expand along with the company. The more we worked together, the more Jeremy was able to take on some of the business responsibilities so that I could redirect my energy on the clinical side of things. As a solo-practitioner for all those years, doing everything myself, I discovered that sharing the load, navigating through the challenges and actualizing the company mission and vision, with a trusted business partner, was fun and rewarding. Additionally, it is an honor to work alongside my son and come to know him on many different levels.
While I may be the business owner and ‘senior’ clinician, I am truly the beneficiary of continuing to learn from all our team members. Working together, collaborating and supporting one another strengthens all of us. Our vision to expand our reach ripples out throughout our local community and beyond. Through evidence-based methodologies, continual professional development and our collective compassionate hearts for helping others heal, we will continue to do the work that we cherish in this ever-changing world.