Tag: mental health

Press Feature: Quality Mental Health Counseling - Agape Therapy Institute

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Quality Mental Health Counseling - Agape Therapy Institute

11 hours ago by Team Subkit ∙ 4 min read

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental health but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Susan Bearden, Founder & CEO of Agape Therapy Institute, located in Orlando, FL, USA.

What's your organization, and who are your members?

Agape Therapy Institute is a nonprofit mental health counseling organization located in Downtown Orlando. We provide mental health counseling to individuals, couples, and families in the local community but also all across Florida by providing secure telehealth counseling services as well. Our mission as an NPO is to provide affordable and accessible mental health counseling. We do this through a financial assistance program that reduces the rates of counseling based on someone's income and based on the level of provider they see. We partner with accredited university graduate programs as a training site for counselors in development, which helps us offer lower-cost options to the community.

Tell us about yourself

One of my mentors told me years ago, "Just start your own nonprofit!" I kind of thought she was out of her mind, but a few years into working in the field, I felt both inspired and prepared to move forward with the idea. My vision was to create a counseling space that was safe, reputable, affordable, and accessible for clients, and also a space where counselors felt supported and enjoyed working. Burnout is a big issue in the mental health field, and I wanted to create a space where a professional in the field looked forward to going to work. I also found that, in the wake of the Pulse shooting that impacted Orlando and the country so much, there were many providers who held personal values against any fluidity of sexuality, and it was not only a barrier to care but harmful to individuals, couples, and families who needed counseling support to heal from this tragedy. I wanted to create a safe space where the marginalized and stigmatized felt safe and welcome to be their real self and felt valued for who they were. What motivates me each day is my team and the clients we serve, knowing the difference we are all making to actively contribute to creating the kind of experiences that makes life better.

What's your biggest accomplishment as an organization?

I'm most proud of our growth through COVID. COVID was a turning point in our country, especially in healthcare. We had to pivot quickly to becoming 100% online and virtual while also expanding quickly to accommodate the increase in demand without compromising our quality of care. Scaling a business quickly, under a lot of stress, and in response to an unexpected global epidemic was challenging but exhilarating! I am so proud of our team for how they adjusted to providing counseling to others who were stressed and fearful at a time when they, too, were feeling the stress and fear as they faced all the same unknowns as their clients. Our company more than doubled through COVID, and every team member played a crucial role in the success of our care for the local community and now throughout the state!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being an organization?

Oh, it's hard to say just one! There are really many things that are very hard about being a business owner. The never-ending multi-tasking and wearing of many hats, finding ways to scale and delegate (and let go of something you curated), and never feeling like you're truly off or able to take a break or vacation. But, if I had to say just one, I would say the pressure of the overall responsibility and liability of the business. At the end of the day, even in a nonprofit organization, I feel the buck stops with me, and no one else shares that same load quite the same way. I'm admittedly a perfectionist (I'm working on it), and that comes with a certain level of anxiety. There are many times I find my thoughts worrying about doing something wrong, making a mistake, and not even knowing it. Time has proven otherwise (and that others give grace when I do end up making a mistake), but this sits with me almost always. I try to remind myself that, on the flip side, it keeps me honest and means I have integrity. I care and always want to do good and the right thing. I give myself as much grace as I can when I do realize I am making a mistake or doing something wrong. I remind myself that we are all human and ask myself what I would say to someone else in the same situation.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow an organization today?

  • First, gather 2-3 people you most admire and trust to support and guide you on the endeavor. Some days are very stressful, and you'll need social support, even if they're just a shoulder to cry on.
  • Second, be prepared for very long hours for the first few years. The first few years are a big learning curve, and you learn a lot about how to effectively run your business just by doing it. You won't know everything from the start, but you'll figure it out along the way.
  • Lastly, be strategic and conservative in scaling your business. Do not bite off more than you can chew. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time...
  • Don't exclusively focus on profit and money. It's important, but consider that your passion and your purpose are equally, if not more important. A business is an opportunity to create a part of our social landscape. Be intentional about what you want to create and share with the world.
  • Don't forget that your business is your teammates and your clients. You are definitely important as the head leader and should take pride in that, but without others, your business is nothing. Support your team, and your team will support your clients, and it will all, in turn, support you, too. It's the most sustainable business model.

Where can people find you and your group?

Website: https://agapementalhealth.org/


Link to original Go Solo article published on 02/01/2023

Posted in:

  • Press Release


  • business
  • mental health

Self Care During the Holidays

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Self Care During the Holidays

Blog by Ashley Simpson, LCSW at Agape Therapy Institute

The holiday season can be a stressful time for everyone. If you have a history of negative memories during the holidays, strained relationships with family, financial stress, loss, and the list goes on… the holidays are infinitely more stressful. So… what are some things that we can do to take care of ourselves during this time?

  1. Take some down time.
    Often, businesses and schools are closed for a time during December. Schedule some time for yourself. Guilt free. If you have kids this can be after they are in bed or while they are in the care of someone else. Take some time to do something that you genuinely enjoy. And may I add, taking time away from social media, email, and probably your phone in general, during this down time is highly recommended.
  2. Keep things simple. 
    There can be a lot of pressure at the holidays. To buy the right gift. To make the perfect dish. To have the perfect decorations. To be there for everyone and every event on everyone else’s schedule. Practice saying “No” when you need to. Pare down your schedule, your shopping list, etc. Think about what you truly value and focus your energy and time on that.
  3. Practice gratitude.
    With everything going on in 2020 this may seem impossible at times. Take a moment to sit by yourself. Close your eyes, and when you think of the word “gratitude”, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Does the image of someone’s face appear? Do you hear laughter? Do you imagine a beautiful day in your favorite place? Take a few minutes to sit with the word “gratitude” and see what comes up for you.
  4. Acknowledge all of your feelings.
    2020 has been a year. This year the holidays may look different for you than in years past. You may not be able to travel, to be with people you love. You may have lost someone this year. Grief can have an extra sting at the holidays. Acknowledge feelings of loss, sadness, anger, etc. If you have lost someone, this may be a good time to do something to remember them. Visit a place that reminds you of them. Acknowledge them in some way in your home. Take some time to sit with memories of them. Creating a ritual to acknowledge your loss can help you cope with these feelings. If you have long-lasting sadness and trouble functioning in areas of your life due to these feelings of grief, I encourage you to seek out a counselor or grief support group. You may need some additional support in dealing with your loss.
  5. Find some magic.
    At this time of year you can find twinkly lights after dark, hear soft, happy music playing, smell people cooking their favorite comfort food. There are a lot of things at this time of year that can bring joy. If you did not get to experience this magic as a child, give yourself permission to experience this now, in this moment.
    For example: Look at the holiday lights as if you have never seen them before. Gaze at them as if you were a child. Take a moment to stand in front of them and really look. Notice the care with which the person put them up. The patterns, the colors, everything you see. Notice how this makes you feel. Find your inner smile.

Take time for yourself, find simple moments of joy, and seek your spirit of thankfulness and magic. Doing so can increase your feelings of pleasure during this time and reduce your stress. If this time of year is triggering for you due to childhood trauma, complicated family dynamics, grief, etc., I encourage you to speak with a therapist about this. Talking about and resolving these issues can help you to move forward and make new memories. 

Be well. 

Book an appointment with Ashley Simpson, LCSW by clicking here.

Photo by Photo by Kaushal Moradiya from Pexels


  • counseling
  • covid
  • depression
  • family therapy
  • gratitude
  • healing
  • holidays
  • inner child
  • joy
  • mental health
  • mindfulness
  • parenting
  • partnership
  • psychotherapy
  • relationships
  • resilience
  • self help
  • self-care
  • solution focused
  • stress
  • telehealth