We had the good fortune of connecting with Marie Freschl and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I was training to be a therapist, there was so much talk about prioritizing ourselves and engaging in “self-care”. Yet, when it came to action, the mental health field often perpetrated a culture that was quite the opposite. In my early years, I often neglected work life balance and that negatively impacted my overall well-being. As a therapist, it is imperative that I take care of myself and model what balance looks like. If i’m not in a good space, that could directly impact the people that I work with in the therapeutic environment, as well as cultivate a trajectory leading to burn out. Being a co-founder of my practice, I was able to ensure that my career didn’t take precedence over my personal self. I have creatively structured a work environment that allows for me to be the best therapist I can be for my clients, while still leaving plenty of space for me to be the best person for myself. Of course, it is important to recognize the privileges I have had in this career, and the opportunities that by chance have fallen into my lap. Utilizing all of this allows me to maintain balance and continue to keep doing what I love most.
What should our readers know about your business?
I co-own a private practice with my good friend whom I have known since graduate school. We have been building Coastline Wellness Group since 2017 and I am so proud of where we are at today. The process started off very slow and both of us were still juggling working two other jobs at the time. I also was coming out of a traumatic experience with an old colleague that left me questioning my work as a therapist. After getting my own therapy, and feeling encouraged by my support system, I continued with the process and so thankful that I did. Before we knew it, we were accepted to contract with a company that offered therapy to partnering tech companies all over California. This was huge for us and an opportunity that really sparked our growth. Due to this contract, we were able to create a financially stable practice and begin to focus our efforts and time to helping those with limited accessibility to therapy. When Covid-19 hit, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a chef. He enlightened me on the huge negative impact people in the hospitality industry were facing. After a few meetings, we were able to quickly design a program that offered free or low-cost services to anyone in the hospitality industry including those who are undocumented for as long as they need. We’ve also been working with programs that specifically offer low-cost therapy to BIPOC and other marginalized populations. As a woman of color, and someone who knows firsthand how limiting traditional therapy can be, I want to continue to create a therapeutic environment that is applicable to diverse backgrounds. I am so thankful that I can offer these services, and have continued to look for other populations to reach out to. I can’t say that this process was easy and at any point, all of this could be taken away. I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am at, and I experienced difficult events that could’ve easily altered my journey. But I have to acknowledge that luck and privilege also played a big role in my success. Being able to have access to therapy when times were especially tough and having the resources to maintain my overall well-being helped me get to where I am at. My biggest lesson I really took from all of this was I have to put myself first. There will be days that I work way more in order to be a good therapist, but I also allow days where I just focus on me.
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?
LA is hands down one of the coolest cities to live in and this is coming from someone who grew up in the Bay area! I’m a relatively active person, so I would want to share the different environments LA has to offer. This would include getting the best views by going to do a hike nearby in Griffith Park, but also soaking up the beautiful beaches up the coast in Malibu. LA has some of the best food so I would want them to have an experience in every neighborhood. This would include an LA taco stand, a chicken sandwich from Pikunico, some pad see ew from Sticky Rice, Chinese food from Yang Chow. All of these meals would be on the east side of town, so I’d take one of those meals and have a picnic at Echo Park lake. After that, I’d head to the westside to grab some ramen from Tsujita. I’m part Filipino, so i’d then head over to B Sweet for some delicious Halo Halo for dessert. What I love about LA, and what I would want to show anybody who visited is really the vast range of delicious food at so many different price points. Of course, no trip is complete without some good libations. Favorite bar is at the Nomad Hotel. I’m all about good drinks and ambiance and that place has it all. These are just a few of my personal favorites, but honestly, I would just love to grab a bike with my friend and ride all over town. Best way to see the city and truly experience its beauty.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As cliche as it sounds, I truly owe all of my success to my family and my closest friends. I attribute a lot of my success to my willingness to take risk. To try things out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I would possess that confidence without knowing that I had a safety net of support and love to catch me if I were to not make it. My circle of people are my everything and I am forever grateful to have them. I also attribute my success to a professor I had in my graduate program at USC. Dr. Nicole Presley shined a light on the many flaws of the mental health world. She challenged traditional therapy practices and illustrated the lack of multiculturalism throughout each facet of mental health. As a woman of color, I felt heard and truly saw how little representation there was in mental health and how it continued to distance POC from seeking therapy. She inspired me to prioritize bridging this gap and continue to educate, advocate, and cultivate space that was safe for diverse backgrounds. To this day, I am incredibly thankful for having such an empowering educator so early on in my endeavors.