It’s been quite a year for Laura Gatien & Associates. January 1st of 2019 I had one associate (Taylor) and we were sharing a 200 sq. foot office.
There are now 10 therapists, 2 administrative staff, 2 social work interns and we’ve grown to about 2,000 sq feet of office space.
We've expanded our services from individual and couples counselling to group counselling and community workshops. We've been partnering with businesses to offer corporate workshops on mental health and we now offer virtual therapy for anyone who cannot get into our physical location. We started a free walk in counselling program in September to improve accessibility to mental health supports, regardless of income, age, place of residence or concern. We also offered a therapy group specifically for First Responders and their unique challenges, a first of it's kind in the city (that I know of).
We also implemented a low cost counselling program for those without insurance and began offering parenting plans, voice of the child assessments and custody plans for those going through a separation with children. Lastly, we're in the process of designing and publishing a therapy companion workbook. Stay tuned!
We support hundreds of people of all ages from Saint John and the surrounding area and I'm so proud of my team for the work we do. Some of them have left their secure employment to join me in my dream of a full service private practice and my goal of re-defining mental health supports. We are working towards a future where mental health is seen no differently than physical health and seeking help doesn’t carry shame or stigma.
All of this was not without a price as this endeavor hasn’t exactly looked like how I imagined. It’s been hard. It's been exhausting and isolating. It's been a year of sacrifice; my business has kept me up at night on many occasions. I have worked harder than I ever thought possible. People are feeding their families from my business. It has been an incredible amount of pressure and quick decision making, but I'm learning to roll with the chaos, and we're heading into the new year thriving and ready to serve.
So what’s next for us?
We'll continue to provide individual and couples counselling, with each one of us providing a different specialty area. Our team will be growing just a little bit more, and each person will bring unique experience, training and perspectives to challenge one another and serve a diverse group of people and problems. There aren't many challenges that we don’t work with.
You'll see us doing more community outreach and engagement to increase awareness of our free drop-in counselling program. This is individual single session counselling sessions held on Fridays from 2-4, first come first serve. We're excited to be continuing this into the new year and beyond.
We'll continue to promote the importance of First Responder mental health as well as provide training to some First Responder groups in the city and surrounding areas.
Our next in house First Responder mental health group begins January 30th. Please call 506-651-1239 to reserve your spot.
We'll be doing more corporate and community mental health workshops & training in the new year. Look for a new course we have partnered on with NBCC that supports parents to help their children & teens with mental health challenges.
We'll continue to be very active on social media, promoting mental health through valuable content that I hope you can slowly implement in your daily lives. Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date and inspired to keep improving your mindset & ability to cope with life.
I absolutely cannot wait to see what 2020 will bring and I sincerely thank every one of you for making my dream of this practice a reality. I'm so proud to have this opportunity to help my community. Please provide us with feedback at any time.