Building the Plane While I Fly It
In 2019, I needed to make a change in my work-life balance. I spent nearly 15 years doing trauma work with children and families in community mental health agencies, a domestic violence shelter, and a major hospital system. My career has included work as a trauma-focused child and family therapist, a master’s level educator, a clinical supervisor and internship host, and as a parenting coach. The work I was doing was very rewarding, but hard. In addition to my career, I put in daily effort to deal with my own personal history of complex trauma and its impact on my whole being - body, mind, and soul. Some days I do better than other days when it comes to bearing the weight of my own trauma, but in 2019 I realized that the times I did well with coping were more short-lived than the times I did less-well with coping - I was completely burnt out.
So, in July, I left the hospital setting (and my commute!) and I joined a small group practice, taking on a less complex caseload and the role of clinical supervisor. I loved that I got to continue teaching and that I was able to shift my priorities to my family, which was an adjustment I had to learn how to make. Change isn’t easy, and, despite what we think is most important, how to navigate a complete shift in context, schedule, and role makes everything jumbled and confusing. At least it does with me. Then… Covid.
In June of 2020 I left the group practice and started to work on my own, from home - like so many others. I worked tirelessly, not saying “no” to any new client who needed help dealing with what was happening to them or those around them. Kids were hurting, parents were hurting, individuals’ lives were being turned upside down and inside out. And, part of how I coped was to lean into my work. I found that I had returned to trauma work in a way I never could have imagined - working in an acute crisis in a veritable war zone in which I was also living. There was no P-TSD, this was straight up TSD.
I’m not even sure I know how yet to talk about Covid and its impact on my life, or on the small world in which I live and work, because we are only just beginning to be safe enough to poke our heads out of our mental hidey-holes and to assess the biopsychosocial landscape around us. The catastrophic and global damage to our collective identities is great and the impact is vast. There is no “new normal” yet. But, we have to move forward and keep living; there is no stopping. So, as the need for mental health support grew, so did Patchwork Therapy. I was not a business person, and I never expected or planned to start a private practice. But, disaster struck, I had to survive, and, so, I took off. And I’ve been flying ever since, figuring it out as I go. With amazing support from family, friends, and from a rock solid team of professionals, I’ve been learning to build this plane as I fly it.
The best part of building this business is watching the stigma that surrounds mental health melt away. It truly is so amazing to hear parents calling in and saying “my child asked to talk to someone,” and it’s amazing that parents are listening to them! And, as we adults try and clean up the mess that Covid (or childhood, or work, or love, or family, or health) has left us with, and as we work to create the “new normal,” we are asking for help, too. We are so honored to be able to help. I am so honored to have the amazing team of therapists who are also deeply committed to the work of helping here with me on this journey. Patchwork Therapy is created out of my strong commitment to serve those who need help and my love of the process. Helping is healing, and doing this work also helps me to mend my own tattered pieces.
Thank you. And, welcome.