Today we’d like to introduce you to Marsha Bradford.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
The Center began as a grad school project back in the late 1990s. Integrative health wasn’t an especially well-understood concept back then, and at least in the Midwest, wellness centers were dichotomized into medical models or holistic offerings, The Center came to fruition in 2016, just as integrative medicine was finding its feet. I had been running a group mental health practice for the decade prior and was noticing two major issues: 1) clients were making great strides in their mental health but often needed to go outside our group for other modes of healing. This would often mean traveling to new offices, establishing new relationships, working through new insurance billing, etc. And for clients who were already dealing with social anxiety, depression or more… these could be daunting hurdles on their way to healing. To overcome this, we wanted to host as many services as we could reasonably accommodate under one roof. 2) As health practitioners, we knew how difficult it could be to run a private practice in a quasi-isolated environment and to coordinate care amongst scattered providers. So, we wanted to have a collaborative space (both virtual and physical) with providers who shared an integrative vision and who could help integrate care strategies and client care plans with a simple set of communication tools or a knock on the door. We’ve found that the value of having a physical presence with each other goes a long way toward building community in a shared, supportive space and allowing us to read body language as we flesh out life stories with and for our clients. And even though the pandemic has challenged our capacities in ways we could never have dreamed, we’ve found this model to be resilient and the Center to be an important beacon for all of us in finding our way back to health and healing.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth roads are not the way for trailblazers! The path is barely there or not at all in most cases. We’ve had enormous struggles, ranging from juggling multiple business models, marketing highly different niches, financial roller coasters, staffing mutinies, landlord miscommunications, technology hiccups (does anyone like their printers??)–if a rock has been there to trip on, we’ve found it with both feet! But…fall down six times, get up seven. You press on, persevere, and pound out a new path one day at a time.
As you know, we’re big fans of Diversified Health and Wellness Center. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We are a multi-specialty mental health counseling clinic, and we are thrilled to bring integrative wellness to Kirkwood and greater St Louis! Our network of dedicated professionals provides a diverse array of health and wellness services. Our goal is to help our clients to find complete health solutions for body, mind, and spirit. We tailor our services to each client to ensure the best possible outcomes of wellness and wholeness. In addition to mental health services, we also offer yoga, chiropractic, massage, Reiki, meditation, nutrition and dietary, and health and life coaching. Clients of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, ethnicities, and religions are welcome: We also provide low and no cost counseling services for under served populations through our non-profit branch, DHWCares.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
Crystal balls are always fun…I think the move will be toward more integrated services. We’ve seen some of this from our colleagues on the coasts and in Europe, where the blend of wellness services is finding a larger audience. I also expect to see more rigor in how some of the services are vetted for licensure and credentialing. An ongoing concern with alternative and complementary wellness is the validity and oversight of the fields. I expect to see more of the affected fields push for greater standards in measuring outcomes and training/mentoring strategies. Mental health in particular is in an ongoing battle with insurance companies along several lines, especially with both what is covered and the amounts that are paid out–all of which remains its own sort of Wild West scenario. As mental health continues to be challenged along so many lines, we will likely also see a sort of “Amazonification” of mental health, which concerns me greatly, as health conglomerates start pushing for a sort of “drive thru” scenario for mental health at CVS, Walgreens, WalMart, etc. This will likely set up overworked, underpaid counselors working on a volume model and aiming for a low bar in terms of treatment–highly commodified and highly ineffective.
- $0-25 counseling (via the non profit)
- $25-100 customary counseling
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://diversifiedhwc.com
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