We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariah Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariah, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and small business owner of a private practice. I provide mental health therapy to the Los Angeles community, specializing in helping people recover from stressful and traumatic experiences.
We all would like to think that the painful moments from our childhood don’t impact us anymore, right? We want to be strong, move on, and forget about it. Yet sometimes that stress can be so intense that it is difficult to simply forget. It turns out there is a direct connection between childhood trauma and physical ailments such as heart disease, asthma, cancer, and early aging (according to research on the Adverse Childhood Experiences study – ACES, and California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris). So even if a traumatic experience occurred years ago, it can have a lifelong ripple effect on our bodies, DNA, and mental health unless it is addressed.
My goal in providing direct therapy work is to reduce the impact of trauma so people can have healthy and fulfilling lives. I use my business’s social media to decrease the barriers (and headaches!) people run into seeking their own mental health support. On my blog and Instagram I share information so that people can learn therapy tips, resources, and how to effectively advocate for their needs.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I provide mental health therapy to adults; I specialize in trauma, anxiety, depression, and life stressors.
My training in becoming a certified Parent-Child Interaction Therapist gives me an in-depth understanding of child development, attachment, parenting skills, and how to treat adults who want to work on their early child trauma. My previous work in community mental health helps me to empower those who have had trauma dealing with the oppressive and prejudiced social systems in place.
I like to openly give my clients knowledge – on their rights in therapy, education on what is going on with them, and then which treatment steps would work best according to research.
Some therapists push their own goals, have sessions for talking only, and keep clients in for therapy for years and years. In sessions I balance talking with skill practice time, if preferred, so that new tools can be applied to take on problems outside of session. For me, the goal of effective therapy is for it to end (when clinically appropriate).
I create customized treatment plans for each client. This plan is centered around the goal the client tells me they wish to focus on. I consider factors of presenting symptoms, medical info, trauma history, cultural background & values, and the person’s individual strengths & hobbies.
No subject is too taboo or intense for my clients to share with me. Some of the topics discussed in my sessions include the following: death, relationships, family traditions, anger, racism, insecurities, suicidal thoughts, sex, and self-worth. These are parts of every human’s experience, so processing them in the safe space of a therapy session is welcomed. I use humor, directness, and authenticity to help navigate these discussions.
My biggest challenge in starting a business is imposter syndrome. It causes an isolating and lonely experience, to where an inner critic is constantly minimizing any successes made along the way. I cherish my community of family, friends, and colleagues who are incredibly supportive. I keep in mind that everyone is passionate about something – an “expert” in something. I would encourage those reading to be around people who are not in the same career realm as you, so that reminders come up of how much of an expert you truly are in your field. Take the courage to keep going, because the world needs what you have to offer.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Millie’s – for comfort breakfast food made from scratch with local fresh ingredients.
Alcove – to sit on their patio garden area and catch up over coffee and dessert. preferably a slice of one of their three-layer cakes.
Bestia – to try out creative Italian dishes
Tierra Mia Coffee – can’t beat their horchata latte
La Colombe – always in the mood for their coffee
Club TeeGee – to sit in one of this mellow bar’s cozy booths while listening to the jukebox and catching up over a spicy margarita
Perch – to show a great rooftop view with their drinks
Bar Flores – my favorite bar. Latina-owned, well-decorated, dimly lit cantina with incredible crafted drinks. Plus walking distance to Echo Park Lake if we want to stroll after
Huntington Library – the absolute best escape from the LA city feels. acres of gorgeous gardens
El Matador Beach – getting there early in the morning on a weekday to have one of its entire rocky coves to ourselves and lay in the sun
Griffith Park – for the hiking trails, or to see a show at the Greek
Museum of Death – I adore art museums, but when this opens again I can’t wait to take friends back here. Always itches the scratch of this existential-humanistic therapist
And if this friend adores music as much as I do, then I would definitely take them to Amoeba Records.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family – especially my mother, father, and brother. They have been endlessly supportive of my dedication to school, to work, and to starting this business. I would not have been able to accomplish anything without their continuous kind words, humor, honesty, and love.
Other: Therapy Blog: https://mariahdennislmft.com/whataboutblog/