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Exploring Life & Business with Catherine Herst of Monarch Family Thearpy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Herst. 

Hi Catherine, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I think it is safe to say that I was a ‘therapist’ before I had a real grasp of the job title in its entirety. Through high school & college, I was often referred to as ‘The Mom’ of the group, as a natural-born listener & old-soul with a desire to help & ‘fix’ the struggles of others around me. For better or worse I have always led with empathy, making it easy to understand the perspectives of others and their feelings & emotions. 

I double-majored in Psychology & Education in college & received my teaching license in elementary education. After many, many hours in diverse classroom settings, including working in low socioeconomic schools, I realized that my heart & soul was more invested in how these little beings were able to show up & be present in school & less about what they were learning there. I also solidified my love for the one-on-one relationship which is harder to establish & maintain as a teacher. I pursued my Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology immediately after college wherein I was able to again work with diverse populations & individuals of all ages. During my time in graduate school, I worked at a private practice as well as the University’s Career Center which fostered my love of working with college students & vocational counseling. 

Following graduate school, I pursued my clinical licensure while seeing clients at two different settings, knowing my eventual goal & dream was to open my own business. In 2018 I made the scary but wonderful leap to open Monarch Family Therapy, LLC as a sole clinician with much still to learn. I steadily built up my clientele, networked, completed various trainings & grew my confidence in myself as a business owner & clinician. I still tell others that establishing my own practice ‘was the best decision I ever made.’ 

Being in a helping profession certainly has its ups & down; it involves doing the best you can without necessarily seeing or hearing tangible results to validate. It means going through the same global pandemic as all of your clients & not having all of the answers, but needing to put that aside to process their needs. It means having constant imposter syndrome while simultaneously knowing that the work you do matters. 

I love what I do & feel beyond blessed to get to work alongside my clients & this community as I continue to learn & grow in the profession. 

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?
Starting a business is very rarely a smooth road. I faced deep emotional challenges of leaving my former places of work & feeling as though I had abandoned my clients and their families, something that I didn’t take lightly. Building up my business has also taken time & efforts. I’ve needed to learn what is a manageable number of clients in a given day/week vs. too many for the benefit of my own mental well-being. As a helper, learning to say ‘no’ when necessary & to practice what I suggest to my clients is a challenge that I think I will always face, but I am working on it! 

At the start of the pandemic, a challenge I faced much like everyone else was when my work went completely virtual without any training or expertise in telehealth. It was difficult to transform certain aspects of therapy that I have always utilized in person & adapt or innovate to an online setting, particularly when working with children. I have now overcome this challenge & enjoy my work both virtually & in-person.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) & Founder of Monarch Family Therapy, LLC in Prairie Village, KS. I see individuals aged 5+ & particularly enjoy my work with high schoolers & young adults. I love working with individuals with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem & or in any form of life transition. I am also trained in EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing, utilized in trauma work. Rapport building is something I consider a strength of mine when working with individuals of any age. I feel that this is critical in order to proceed & make progress in therapy & must be accomplished early on. 

I chose the monarch as the symbol for my business because of its representation of the journey & transformation it must make through various life stages. As people, we are all constantly changing & evolving, much like a butterfly. My goal is for my clients to feel supported amidst these life changes, ups & downs & transformations in order to migrate toward wellness & to soar. 

What sets you apart from others?
Rapport building is something I consider a strength of mine when working with individuals of any age. I feel that this is critical in order to proceed & make progress in therapy & must be accomplished early on.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
Making the leap into solo private practice was a tough decision, that could not have been possible without the support of those around me who believed in me before I could believe in myself. I am so grateful to my family & friends who have encouraged me, every step of the way. I am also so grateful to all of my referral sources & internal clients who share my name & business with others. 

A special thanks to my mentor & friend, Kathy Calvert, LSCSW who not only told me that I could do this (but that I HAD to), answered a million private practice questions of all kinds & offered me a room at her office to get started, you have my deepest gratitude & I wouldn’t be where I am without your support & guidance. I hope to be a mentor to others entering the field in a similar way to continue to ‘pay it forward.’ 

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