We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Dillard, mental health therapist in California and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gabrielle, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started my career as a social worker many years ago, working with all ages. I worked out in the community, in hospitals, schools, and in homes. Once I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I started doing therapy and worked for a major health care plan. It was great meeting with people in person and providing mental health services. Then pandemic hit, and things shut down for a while. For the first time in my life, I was reminded that things could change in an instant. I watched the organization I worked for quickly develop a plan to continue mental health services to patients, and that’s when I began to learn about tele therapy.

At first, I wasn’t sure how I would like it. The idea of doing therapy through phone or video felt sort of strange initially. Once I adapted to the concept of providing virtual therapy, I actually began to really enjoy it! I started seeing more clients coming in for treatment that might have never been open to it before, due to transportation issues, scheduling issues, or stigmas of going into an office to see a therapist. Virtual therapy made treatment more accessible for others, and it was refreshing to see clients incorporating therapy into their daily lives from the comfort of their own home.

Once I realized that virtual therapy is here to stay, I decided to take the leap and start my virtual private practice. It has been amazing to see the business grow as I’m meeting with clients all throughout California. It has truly been a rewarding experience.

What should our readers know about your business?
I utilize an eclectic approach to incorporate a combination of evidence-based practices. I understand we all learn in different way, and our journeys are all unique. My treatment approach includes providing a client centered, trauma-informed, strength based therapeutic style. I take a whole person approach with an emphasis on the mind and body connection to mental health. Common modalities used in treatment are; CBT, Mindfulness, EFT/Tapping, and EMDR.

I enjoy incorporating non-traditional therapeutic modalities into treatment. One of the reasons I love virtual therapy is because a client can be outside in the backyard, or on the couch with their pet, anywhere they are comfortable and have privacy to discuss very personal topics. Therapy doesn’t have to be serious all the time, we can have fun in this space together!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If we had a week to roam the city I would say let’s definitely spend some time at the beach having some shrimp tacos! I would also like to catch a few games at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center. Maybe attend a few concerts and catch a few movies as well. Each morning we can start the day at local coffee shops, and check out farmer’s markets. I love attending pop up museums and supporting small businesses.

One of my favorite places to grab some street tacos in LA is at Avenue 26. They have two locations, Little Tokyo and Eagle Rock, and for the past few years have been my ultimate favorite tacos!

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Fun fact, I started a social media account for my dog a few years ago. It was through managing my dog’s account, that I realized the potential social media platforms have for sharing mental health content and allowing others to get a glimpse of who I am as a therapist and mental health advocate. It was also a way to showcase my work. Once I started building connections with other mental health professionals online, I realized the power of support systems.

The mental health community has been extremely supportive! I jokingly say “all my friends are online,” and that is partially true. Pandemic required us to get creative in how we connect with one another. Social media platforms made it accessible for me to meet and connect with fellow therapists from all across the U.S. I have enjoyed collaborating with other mental health professionals who I’ve learned so much from through their encouragement and words of wisdom shared with me. I’m thankful for the connections I’ve made with local colleagues as well.

My family has also been an amazing support. Prior to launching my business, I met with my family to talk about ideas I had for the business. I really had no experience running a business, and one of the beauties about this process has been seeing the business grow literally from the bottom up. The idea of “therapist turned entrepreneur/business owner” still amazes me! It gives me goosebumps just thinking that there are so many opportunities for growth in the mental health arena that I want to be part of. I am so thankful for my family who continues to support me any time I have creative ideas.

Website: www.gab-therapy.com

Instagram: @gab_therapy

Other: Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/gabrielle-dillard-san-francisco-ca/998671

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