Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cathy Rosa, Owner of Embodied Art Therapy & Yoga, located in Clinton, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a Board-Certified Art Therapist, Yoga Teacher, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Practitioner, and an Art Therapy Credentialed Supervisor. I work with children, adolescents, adults, and families to navigate challenges and to gain resiliency, insight, and positive change via creativity, art-making, movement & mindfulness, self-reflection, and other interventions. Art Therapy can support a wide array of presenting issues that may be associated with depression, anxiety, adjustments, trauma, developmental disabilities, grief and loss, addiction, family and school stress, and other challenges. I love supporting and initiating healthy and helpful change in families and individuals and seeing clients begin to own their power and create lives that are meaningful, fulfilling, manageable, and integrated. I also supervise Art Therapists who have recently graduated and who are working towards credentialing and finding their professional voices.

Tell us about yourself

I stumbled upon the field of Art Therapy through serendipity nearly 20 years ago. I was close to completing my BA in Psychology and wanted to continue my studies but was unsure of the direction I would take. I wanted to work in the helping field. I had a passion for making art, so I decided to pursue a master's degree after discovering how fascinating and powerful Art Therapy is. I worked in inpatient behavioral health centers, outpatient programs, schools, and residential programs for youth for about 15 years before starting my business. I gained a wealth of experience and knowledge working in these settings but felt as though I had hit a glass ceiling. I was limited in my professional roles and decision-making, was tied down by logistical concerns, the salary was unsatisfying, and I was overcome with stress due to the demands placed upon me working for large corporations. I felt lost in the shuffle, unseen, my talents were not put to good use, and I was overall not performing to the best of my ability which left me feeling unhappy and unfulfilled.

I fell ill with a medical condition that left me unable to work for nearly two years. I knew that if I returned to these positions full time, I would burn out and not fully recover. I was very afraid and uncertain about starting a business because I believed that private practice was for someone who had experience running a business, was confident in their abilities to succeed, and "knew what they were doing." Would I make enough money? Would I be able to help people? Am I 'enough'? With the support of my husband and other people who were close to me, I took the plunge and dove in. I made a lot of mistakes, underestimated myself, and questioned my abilities, but I persisted. I healed and found new freedom in making decisions about who I'm best suited to work with, continued my education and studies, relaxed into my strengths and trusted the process, and learned from experiences. I learned about what I wanted as well as what I didn't want and now have the power to fine-tune what I offer. I am honored to work with clients in their healing process, and the incredible feeling of watching someone transform, grow, and discover their strengths and abilities is such a gift.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Finding my own power, valuing myself, and trusting myself as a clinician and individual. It's hard to be a beginner at something and to feel vulnerable and uncertain. At the same time, this place can be a fertile ground for cultivating dreams and growth. I have learned that what I have to offer has helped a lot of people and that I am making a positive impact on the community around me. I look back to my earlier years, where people supported and influenced me. It's such an incredible opportunity to give this back to others. As humans, we have the potential to change the trajectory of other people's lives by offering unconditional and non-judgmental support. This creates a domino effect, and I believe the effects can echo on for generations.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Having to balance the logistical aspects of the business such as progress notes, advertising, communicating with outside agencies, scheduling, budgeting, etc. with direct client care, finding time to rest and recover and to engage in self-care, mothering my young child, and maintaining for my home, and finding overall balance. It can be a lot to juggle, and I often think, "I've finally figured it out!" and then everything shifts and changes. It's a good lesson in flexibility and in putting perfectionism aside.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't give up. You have to have a WHY that keeps you getting up each day and working towards your dreams, even if you don't see any immediate fruits of your labor. Starting a business takes time, energy, and persistence. Keep your inner eye on the prize. It takes time to get things to where you want to be, so don't be afraid to make sacrifices or go to lengths to make things work.
  2. Ask for help from a mentor or trusted peer. You do not have to reinvent the wheel completely, and you do not have to venture out all by yourself. Other people can offer a different perspective that you may not think of; they can share their experiences and hope, help you celebrate your wins no matter how small they may seem, and encourage you when you feel stuck. It's helpful to know your own strengths and weaknesses, so your support systems can remind you of where your talents lie, and you can seek support in other areas. Never underestimate the power of networking, whether it be for support, referrals/word-of-mouth advertisement, or collaboration.
  3. Never stop learning. Become as masterful as you can at your craft by taking classes, reading/listening to inspiring materials related to your work, and asking for help or support from someone who knows more than you do and sees things from a different perspective.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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