We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Collins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
At Memorial Child and Family Therapy, we really believe that we are changing and shaping the world through our therapy services, interventions and social skills groups. We know the impact that helping children feel empowered, connected, understood, and loved can make because we see the behavioral, academic and social results every week at our practice. Children who are misunderstood or not connected with caregivers and teachers act out. All behavior for children is them telling a story of what is happening underneath. There is always a feeling or a need that must be met in order for them to respond in healthier ways. According to the CDC, each year, 4.5 million children are diagnosed with behavioral problems and 4.4 million children are diagnosed with anxiety. (https://www.cdc.gov/
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am so proud of how we specialize and treat children in our practice. We have realized that children are such a unique population in mental health and there are so many more skills you need in order to treat them effectively. That is why we focus our treatment on ages 3-18. We will work with parents and occasionally treat parents who are needing their own mental health support, but our bread and butter is play therapy and working with children. It was a tough decision to specialize because you really start to limit your market and clientele. However, we saw the huge need that kids have for therapists to be equipped to really see things from the perspective of children and validate their specific emotional and developmental needs. Each of our words in our mission statement are chosen for a reason. Empowered because our therapists empower children and parents with knowledge of what is developmentally appropriate behavior and educate you on brain based strategies for parenting. Understood because we help parents understand the root issues of behavior and we are experts at weeding out any neurological, biological or environmental struggles that could be affecting your child. Connected because a foundational need for children and for all humans is to belong and feel connected. Loved because once we help parents and children with the previous 3 goals, each family comes away feeling a sense of being loved for who they are and the role they play in their families.
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?
I would definitely take friends to the new Eastern Glades area of Memorial Park. Then I would take them for drinks and a sunset with a view of downtown at Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Sabine Street park. We would have to visit El Tiempo for some great TexMex and finally, I would take them to some local breweries in the Heights (Eureka, Spindle Tap, Karbach, 8th Wonder, etc.).
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?
Everything that I am and everything I do today as a therapist has been influenced by a myriad of amazing and wise people in my life. I have had many great personal mentors as I started this journey. One person I credit my specialization in children in mental health to is Dr. Lucy Puryear. Dr. Puryear came into my life as a mentor when I had just started my graduate program and she really pushed me to work with children and try out private practice. I was hesitant in this as there were so many possibilities to really specialize in but as I started working more with children, I realized this was exactly where I wanted to be. Another mentor is Dr. Michelle Forrester. Dr. Forrester taught me the beauty of non-directive play therapy and the patience and joy of seeing the strengths in every child, no matter how difficult the behavioral struggles might be. Dr. Forrester has a private practice in the Bunkerhill area and she leads very specialized social skills groups. She taught me so many of my helpful phrases to use with children. These phrases have intentional purposes and are beautifully succinct and powerful for redirecting behaviors. While there are so many others who gave me resources along the way, one other therapist I worked with who shaped my perspective and skills was my supervisor, Stephanie Legendre. Stephanie really helped me understand the ways my background and family of origin play a role in my perspective and therapeutic process and saw to it that I worked on myself first before trying to help others.
All images were created by MCFT.