We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Mayes, LCSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kimberly, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Essence Therapy & Wellness Center has a mission, to recreate the definition of therapy & self-care for the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community through effective, relatable & holistic therapeutic services. With that being our #1 goal, we have expanded our impact in just 2 short years from 1 provider offering mental health therapeutic services to having 4 mental health providers & 1 intern supporting clients within the practice. Although our focus is to support individuals & couples within the BIPOC community, we provide services to anyone who needs mental health supports. Clients have identified with our style of delivering mental health services because our services are relatable in the sense that each provider brings their full self to session to support clients eliminate barriers to their healing. That includes ensuring that each provider is operating within their niche, which allows the provider to be fully present & competent to support clients with their needs. We also added retreats to our services, Essence Wellness Retreats, as clients often need more therapy sessions to release negative coping behaviors or build connections, as they may need community & a change of environment to encourage them to take the leap towards healing.

What should our readers know about your business?
1. Please tell us more about your business: Essence Therapy & Wellness Center is a mental health private practice where we pride ourselves with recreating the definition of therapy & self-care for the BIPOC community through effective, relatable & holistic therapeutic services. We also accomplish this through our self-care retreats (Essence Wellness Retreats) and by offering group coaching & corporate trainings for other mental health providers.

Our speciality is providing therapeutic services for individuals and couples experiencing anxiety, depression, life transitions, divorce, infidelity, mistrust, trauma, abuse, parenting issues, relationship issues, work related issues, racial trauma, spirituality, grief & loss and so much more!

We also offer holistic therapeutic practices such as sound healing sessions, Reiki, Chaka assessments & cleansing, trauma-informed yoga & other holistic supports.

2.What you are most proud of or excited about:
I am most proud of us remaining in alignment with our mission, as safe spaces for BIPOC individuals can be hard to identify.

3.How did you get to where you are today business-wise:
I started Essence Therapy & Wellness Center in Atlanta, GA in 2020. I was working in a hospital setting as a medical social worker & as a part-time venture, I decided that I wanted to support clients via psychotherapy sessions during COVID-19, as everyone was feeling some sort of mental health pressures during that time. I decided that as of Dec 2021, I would be a full-time therapist & expand the mission & vision of Essence Therapy & Wellness Center, as my passion of supporting those suffering mentally has always been my true passion. COVID-19 highlighted that for myself & for those needing my services.

4. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
I will say some parts of this journey has been smooth & other parts have not been. As with any business, there are learning curves, learning moments & moments where you hit it out of the park. I think for me, hiring individuals who are experts within their scope of practice (i.e. CPA, office assistant, niche providers etc. etc.), has supported my growth & ability to pivot in business when things are getting to be a tad bumpy. I don’t think I would be where I am today, personally & professionally, if I had not stuck with my mission of having a successful private practice if I didn’t lean on others when I reached my capacity as a leader & as a provider.

5. What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I can work hard for myself just like I did for someone else. For the longest, I have always known that my talents & passion was providing therapy services. However, I was always afraid of failing, until I got tired of sacrificing my joy because of fear. Once I was decided that I would open Essence Therapy & Wellness Center, I knew it was “the” thing that I have wanted to do my entire life & I had to talk myself through it. So to keep me from allowing imposter syndrome to take over me, I told myself every day when I quit my full-time job, “I will work hard for myself before I work hard for anyone else”. This motto kept me barreling forward when I was afraid that I wouldn’t have clients or that I wouldn’t make enough money to sustain living. Thinking back on it, it wasn’t that I wouldn’t be able to make enough money or bring in enough clients, it was me being afraid of not being disciplined in the business aspect of things. I will admit, not everyone is made for entrepreneurship & at one point it my life, I wasn’t cut out for it either! I was not disciplined & I did not hold myself accountable for the things that mattered. in business. So I learned how to be disciplined & hold myself accountable for meeting deadlines & being a great leader before I decided to step out on my own as a full-time business owner. Had these skills not been developed prior to being ready to start my full-time journey of entrepreneurship, I would have failed early on in the business.

6. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Essence Therapy & Wellness Center is an extension of who I am as a person. We offer therapeutic services in a traditional setting & we offer holistic therapeutic supports outside of the traditional setting by offering wellness retreats via Essence Wellness Retreats. Personally, I travel extensively domestically & internationally. One of the unique things traveling & seeing the world can do for you is to expand your thinking, show you so much about yourself, allows you to embrace new lessons/people & release thought patterns & behaviors that no longer work for you. Just by taking a plane or train ride! This phenomenon has been just a joy of mine to indulge in, that I decided to bridge the world with traditional therapy. We provide a safe space on our wellness retreats to release habits, thought patters, connections & so many other things while on a retreat, via cultural tours, gentle yoga, sound baths, meditation sessions, fire side chats, sister circles & so much more. This is unique to our brand, as therapy has a traditional tone, whereas, our wellness retreats aren’t traditional in the location & method but they are just as healing in some capacity! (All of our retreats have a licensed mental health provider to support travelers on retreats. Retreats should not replace traditional therapy sessions, but should be in addition to traditional therapy sessions)

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being new to the area, it has been fun to explore the city of Houston!

I am a self professed foodie & spots with great vibes is a must. Moxie’s, Bungalow, Whiskey Cake, The Rouxpour, & Perry’s Steakhouse have been my favorite go-to spots in Houston so far!

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?
My circle of friends & colleagues have supported me heavily on this journey. My peers, family & friends, just to name a few, Marilyn (mom), Keisha (sister), Tabitha, Chelsa, Nelvern, Inacent, Rikki & so many others, gave me the support I needed to step out on this journey & create a phenomenal safe space for BIPOC men & women. Had I not been encouraged to develop Essence Therapy & Wellness Center, personally & professionally, I know for a fact I would not be fulfilled. I was in a job that I liked but didn’t love & there was always something missing, Essence Therapy & Wellness Center was it. Having a solid circle of supportive & insightful individuals has been critical to my success. Some moments have been hard & it takes someone holding you up to make you realize, it can be done!

Website: www.essencetwc.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kimberlyrenay

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlyrenay

Image Credits
Bessie Akuba Creative

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