We had the good fortune of connecting with Lindsay Camp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lindsay, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
As a sixth generation Texan, I grew up in the Texas Hill Country, where people work really hard.
Growing up, I watched my parents create businesses. I loved the flexibility, autonomy, and creativity it gave them – and honestly, the control over their own work experience. I also saw how much work it was so I don’t think I was glamorizing it either. It looked like hard work that paid off.
Looking beyond my parents, I saw my extended family forging paths for themselves as well. My family tree is full of folks working for themselves and creating fruitful businesses. I have been digging around in my genealogy recently and I’ve discovered I have relatives who had successful businesses as women in the 1600s. These are the shoulders on which I stand. And…
My story is also interwoven with my identities and the privileges afforded to me by them. Telling the story of my family and myself is incomplete without also acknowledging that these artists, entrepreneurs, business owners, creators did not do this alone. I am white, as are most of my ancestors and that whiteness has both been leveraged and willingly downplayed for benefit. I cannot say I built my business all by myself. That would be a lie. I built it on the back of my white privilege.
One of those privileges is access to higher education. I graduated college in 2009 which was a tough time to be a newcomer in the job market. I had no idea what I wanted to do or what I was particularly good at. Looking back though, I didn’t take myself seriously enough at that time to truly explore what I was capable of. After a year or so, I decided to apply to grad school to pursue a masters in counseling. I found a program that allowed me to go to school in the evenings after work and was accepted. It felt right, and I was terrified- this was a big, honest step into adulthood.
During grad school, I began dreaming up what I wanted my future in the field to look like. I knew I wanted flexibility, autonomy, creativity, and control. And I knew I wanted to create something bigger than just me. I didn’t know exactly what yet.
After I graduated grad school, I had an amazing supervisor that asked me a pivotal question early on. Therapists have to do 3,000 hours of supervised work post grad school and I was weighing my options for where to accrue those hours. As many do, I was considering working at an agency where I would be most likely to get the hours I needed. My supervisor asked me, “Big picture, do you want to work in an agency?” To which my answer was, “No.” “Then why start there? Start where you want to be.”
And Austin Teen Therapy was born, and reborn over and over.
What should our readers know about your business?
Austin Teen Therapy is a group practice specializing in supporting teenagers and the people who love and care for them, through individual teen therapy, parent coaching, family therapy, and group therapy. We have a passion for working with young people.
Part of my “why” for becoming a therapist for teens is because I desperately needed a therapist as a teenager, but didn’t have one. I wanted to be one more person out in the world that could see, hear, and understand a hurting young person, to hopefully increase the likelihood of a teen in need getting support. I want Austin Teen Therapy to communicate that we truly care for and respect teens. We often act as a bridge between the teen and adult world. I remember being confused about how my parents seemingly forgot what it was like to be a teenager; most of the clients I work with express this too, so by bridging that gap we help foster more understanding, compassion, and connection. I hope the work that we do communicates our commitment to social justice and it’s intersections with mental, and global health. Those who join Austin Teen Therapy are aligned in the mission to be identity affirming, anti-racist, and defeaters of diet culture. We work hard to demonstrate to clients that we acknowledge and believe the stories of their past, we see their resiliency today, and we hold hope for their futures.
I started Austin Teen Therapy in 2014 as a private practice. It grew into a group practice in 2019, when a colleague/friend, Sam Robinson, and I decided to take a leap of faith together. Sam worked at Austin Teen Therapy for two years before successfully launching his own practice: Strong Roots Psychotherapy.
Having Sam on board brought me to another part of my “why” for this work. My graduate program only scratched the surface of the business side of the counseling field. I was lucky to have mentorship that taught me the ropes and I wanted to share that information. I had seen colleagues get burned out working at group practices and agencies that didn’t take care of them as well as they could have. That is something I’m really proud of- there is a magical moment when an associate at Austin Teen Therapy gets a twinkle in their eye when they realize that their work can both be rewarding AND make them more money than they had previously thought they would make in this field. This field is still predominantly dominated by women identified folks, many of whom are of the global majority, and the idea that this work is of little value or that the emotional labor is expected- quite frankly is bullshit.
I feel incredibly proud of our team and the culture at Austin Teen Therapy. This isn’t something I’ve created, rather I’ve co-created it with the team. Feedback and improvements are an integral part of the work for us. We all share values of wanting to dismantle toxic and oppressive systems that cause harm and that starts within our organization- how it’s structured, how it’s responsive, the work we do with clients, and the work we do ourselves.
I got where I am today because of a perfect storm of factors. First and foremost, my white privilege, and the white privilege of my ancestors. The entrepreneurship interwoven into the fabric of my family tree. My post-grad supervisor who challenged and supported me in all the ways I needed. My husband who championed every step. My colleagues who are more family and friends than colleagues. My best friend who is my family. My blood family. My therapist(s). The nine associates, and one intern, who have been a part of Austin Teen Therapy over the past few years that have taught me more than any class ever could about business and the people you do business with. And most importantly, the clients we work with.
Was it easy?
In some ways yes and in others not at all.
It is “easy” because I’ve been in my flow. I am exactly where I need to be. I have trusted myself (most) every step of the way. And the times I betrayed myself I was reminded again to listen to my gut. It is “easy” because it isn’t just work to me. I truly LOVE the work I do from the work with clients, the mentorship with my associates, website building, social media, etc. I have found a calling that I get to use my whole self in.
It wasn’t easy in the beginning. My bookkeeper and I often talk about how different my finances look now from my first year when I made less than $20k. I babysat well into my late 20’s to supplement my income.
It’s not easy when I mess up. I have people who count on me and I’m human so I make mistakes. Early on, I’d lose sleep over mistakes, but I’ve learned to soften my ego around needing to know it all/do it all and have ultimately become a better business owner by NOT having all the answers.
It’s not easy when I’m tugged into the tornado of toxic hustle culture. There’s a joke that entrepreneurs didn’t want to work a 9-5 so they became their own boss and work 24-7. One of my mentors, Vanessa Flores, owner of Colors of Austin Counseling, told me, “Nobody will ever care as much about your business as you do.” I have to actively take breaks from caring so darn much.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m going to lean on the knowledge that my best friend will visit Austin many, many times over the course of me living here and so I don’t have to plan the perfect weekend. Now that I got my perfectionist part to step aside, here is what I might offer, an array of women and QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, and People of Color) owned businesses:
Brunch at Lin Asian Bar; Lunch buffet at Taste of Ethoipia; dinner at Thai Fresh
Sweet treats from OMG Squee
Tattoos at No Good Tattoo or Modern Heart (these aren’t spontaneous, pop in places, but we are living in my fantasy)
Nails at Cute Nail Studio
Adult bevs at Kitty Cohens
Shopping at Garment Modern + Vintage and Paper + Craft Pantry
That being said, Covid is still a very real issue so we would probably just watch Bravo on the couch while ordering pickup from my favorite neighborhood spot: Fukumoto.
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?
The brave and bold young people who have come to Austin Teen Therapy and trusted us with their stories.
JOELI MIDDLEBROOKS with Kara Marie Collective