We had the good fortune of connecting with Rakima Parson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rakima, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance is essential to me, especially as a mental health professional. I am very client-centered and enjoy the work that I do, so there have been times I’ve let balance take a back seat. However, I’ve learned that I’m the best and most creative in my work with others when prioritizing my own wellness. Keeping the “practice what I preach” mindset has been helpful in maintaining balance. I look at wellness as a daily practice and I don’t wait until I’m burned out to take care of myself. I take breaks often, schedule in time to eat mindfully, and I take walks daily even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Additionally, I compartmentalize my work and home life, setting a time each day to close my laptop and put my phone away. Our world is so focused on productivity, which can lead to overwhelm and burnout. I encourage everyone to build at least 10-15 minutes into every day to do something just for them.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am the owner of Centered Counseling and Consulting and I have worked with clients of all ages. I have a special interest in trauma, chronic stress, burnout, and workplace dynamics. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Play Therapist, I have advanced training in working with children, adults, and parents. In addition to counseling, I provide consultation and training to both non-profit organizations and corporations, focused on various mental health topics, corporate wellness, eliminating racial bias, and trauma-informed practices. I believe what sets me apart is my commitment to community engagement. Additionally, I’m proud of having both the extensive professional training in the field and the ability to draw on lived experience. When I advocate for people in communities of color to connect to mental health resources, I am not asking individuals or groups to do something I haven’t done myself. I know first-hand the stigma and obstacles to connecting to services and have personally experienced the transformative power of engaging in services. I am most proud of the many community groups I have collaborated with to provide mental health and wellness information to vulnerable populations. My business journey has been pretty consistent but has needed to evolve with the on-set of COVID 19. Creating new systems to effectively serve clients during a pandemic was a learning curve that I overcame. Also, finding ways to take calculated risks when investing in myself and my business has been vital. Building something that has an impact can feel challenging in such a microwave driven society. While it’s not the glamorous approach, I have prioritized the idea that going slow in the right direction is better than rushing. I first began with heavily investing in my education and training, the foundation of providing quality services. Subsequently, I created a mission and vision for how I want to serve others through my business. I ensure that anything I do or take on, aligns with my values and that mission. A lesson I’d impart is that sustainability comes from staying grounded in making an impact and not getting distracted by what is trendy in business or in your field. I want people to know that the Centered Counseling and Consulting brand is about holistic health that encompasses all wellness dimensions. I strive to bring the mental health and wellness message to as many people, organizations, and systems as possible. Not everyone will step into a counseling office, but I strive to make wellness education culturally relevant and accessible to all.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 currently reside in Austin. My favorite spot is the lake, honestly. Pre-pandemic, if I had a friend visiting town, we’d probably start the day walking a few miles on the Town Lake trail and then grab some brunch at Tillery. Later, we’d do some shopping on South Congress Ave. and then have dinner at Nightcap restaurant on West 6th. Those are some of my favorite local eating and hangout spots.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?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my wonderful husband. He has always been supportive of my dreams and career. He also holds me accountable when I set personal and professional goals and reminds me to rest and have fun.
Kimon Horne and Riley Blanks