Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in mental wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sylvia Piedrahita, Founder of Sylvia Piedrahita Therapy, located in Burlington and Hamilton, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a registered psychotherapist, and I help individuals, couples, and families through a Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) lens wrestling with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), first-generation immigrants, relationship issues, teachers with burnout and I am 2SLGBTQ+ allied.
Tell us about yourself
I have two jobs. I am a secondary school teacher part-time, and I am a psychotherapist part-time, both equating to full-time work. I love that I can go into a building with an energetic and creative staff. It is a privilege to work with adolescents who, for the most part, want to do their best in school. If I can engage them and encourage them to always try their best, then that is success for me in the teaching field. When it comes to psychotherapy, I love that I can work with a variety of individuals who are trying to reconcile their identities and roles and are working on showing courage in changing what is not serving them anymore. If I am able to encourage positive change and love for myself, then that is success for me in the psychotherapeutic field. Both professions speak to my extrovertedness and introvertedness, and that motivates me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am not sure if I could name an exact business accomplishment, but at this point in my life, I am measuring accomplishment with my own self-care for both professions and how the people I work with respond. If I am healthy and willing to help those in need and my students or clients feel and see positive changes in their academic or emotional intelligence, then THAT is the accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Currently, one of the more challenging things is trying to maintain boundaries. There are many people hurting, feeling lonely, or feeling confused as to what direction their lives need to take, and wanting to partner with them is a strong desire for me. Yet, for me to stay true to myself and carry my life with integrity, there are many times when I have had to politely say pass on a client and refer them out to another therapist.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It is really important to talk and ask for help from other professionals that you trust and respect.
- Don't be afraid to try; follow through and stick with what is authentic about YOU.
- Take it slow. This isn't a race. Understand yourself and who your clients are.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I have a heart for the BIPOC community, who, for so many years, has been marginalized, mistreated, and overlooked, and who may continue to feel that lack of inclusivity. I now have an opportunity, along with other BIPOC therapists, to hold space for BIPOCs who have never thought that therapy could be a useful tool in navigating life's big issues and understanding their own emotional intelligence. Even in my teaching job, the majority of teachers are white, and I am proud to be a Latinx who can cultivate character development and remind my students of how privileged they are to be able to learn every day.
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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