We had the good fortune of connecting with Mona Kumar, PhD and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mona, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started a private practice in psychotherapy because I believe that the work of therapy is best conducted free of corporate bureaucracy. The process of therapy is an intensely personal one. Both the clinician and the client bring their most authentic selves into the room, risk being vulnerable, and engage in a transformative relationship. This is all the more true when working from a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic perspective which is not manualized or prescribed. The moment to moment interactions arise from the immediacy of each individual’s experience and are best served when both client and clinician are free to follow their stream of consciousness. In the absence of external constraints often imposed in a corporate setting, each party has greater access to the intuitive direction that the therapeutic process takes. Both the clinician and the client can exercise greater autonomy and self-determination. Another important aspect of seeing clients in a private practice setting rather than within a larger organization is the opportunity it provides clients to self-select the clinician they wish to work with. Finding a therapist with whom one feels a good fit is an important part of establishing rapport and trust. The client must feel that they are working with someone who sees and understands their experience. Many conscious and unconscious factors go into determining a client’s level of comfort with their clinician, and obtaining therapy from a therapist one has personally selected rather than been assigned to can facilitate the trust and openness essential for the therapeutic process to take place. Finally, although the economics of therapy sometimes lend themselves to services being subsidized by insurance companies, the ideal scenario is one in which the monetary exchange occurs purely between client and therapist. Fees, frequency of sessions, duration of treatment, and remittance of payment are determined collaboratively by client and therapist. A tremendous advantage of self-pay is in the sense of personal ownership it provides for the client. They are in control of the work they wish to do, how much to invest, and deciding when they wish to conclude the treatment. There is no third party that decides how sick they are, what kind of treatment they should get, or when therapy is considered done. In fact, in private practice therapy moves away from a medical paradigm of sickness and health and toward a psychological understanding of wholeness and self-acceptance. In conclusion, as described above, starting my own business felt essential to providing the quality of care I believe in and having my work be unfettered by priorities unrelated to the treatment of my clients. As a psychodynamically oriented clinician my goal is to tap into parts of the client that are outside of their awareness, bringing them into closer contact with themselves. The more connected a client is to themselves, the greater their sense of clarity, fulfillment, and resilience.

What should our readers know about your business?
One of the things I find exciting about my work is the opportunity it provides to connect deeply with the people I see, to have real conversations, and explore what lies behind their symptoms. I don’t treat a disorder or an issue; I learn about the person and how they came to be the way they are. I understand how difficult it is to change engrained patterns of relating but also believe in the enduring desire of the human spirit to evolve and grow. Building my business has been a multi-pronged effort including networking with colleagues and allied health professionals, creating an internet presence, and joining online referral services. The work I do and the people I work with are incredibly meaningful to me, and I am deeply cognizant of the responsibility I take on when they entrust me with their emotional well-being.

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?
Some of my favorite places in LA are in the vast outdoors. I gravitate toward these places for the positive energy, the natural beauty, and the sense of community they offer. One such place is the Self Realization Temple in the Pacific Palisades. It has a gorgeous sanctuary and is surrounded by lots of natural beauty; a great place to read, meditate, or take in the peaceful views. Another favorite spot of mine is Griffith Park. With its magnificent trees, green spaces, and trail to the Observatory it draws an eclectic, friendly crowd and provides a great place to unwind. Lastly, I would recommend Corona Del Mar State Beach. Although there are many lovely beaches to visit in SoCal, this Orange County attraction is situated just below the stately neighborhood of Newport Beach, and offers plentiful parking, temperate water, and serviceable restrooms.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My undergraduate TA, Dr. Scott Bishop for teaching me how to write, my undergraduate honors advisor, Dr. Michael Sullivan for encouraging me to pursue my interest in applied psychology, my graduate degree from Alliant International University for preparing me for a career I look forward to everyday, my parents for the value they place on education, and my clients who teach me something new every time I step in the room.

Website: www.drmonakumar.com
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/mona-kumar-21b4731a6
Twitter: @DoctorMonaKumar
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DoctorMonaKumar/

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