We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Noyes, LCSW-S and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
As a clinical social worker, I have had the opportunity to work in many crisis situations where I witnessed firsthand the gravity of trauma and grief. It was in these situations that I realized there were not enough opportunities to heal from trauma and loss after the initial crisis. With this knowledge, I formed Finding Freedom Therapy, PLLC, with the vision of providing specialized treatment to those who have endured (or are continuing to endure) horrific traumas and unspeakable losses. We provide this specialized treatment in a safe and down-to-earth environment for individuals to heal without fear of judgment or fear that they will traumatize their therapist. I think many people believe therapy can be beneficial, but when the trauma or loss is ongoing, or feels too unspeakable, some people may believe no one can help them. But that is exactly why Finding Freedom Therapy was created—to provide healing even after the most dire or heartbreaking moments. After traumatic events, it can be difficult to imagine life improving, but it can and will. Sometimes we just need the right treatment.
Due to our focus being on significant or ongoing trauma and grief, while we work with all individuals, we naturally specialize in working with military service members, veterans, police officers, firefighters, medical personnel, and other first responders—all those who deal with trauma and tragedy on a daily basis. Additionally, we provide a safe place for all individuals needing to grieve any type of loss, as well as having dedicated services to parents grieving a loss after perinatal demise. While we cannot fix a loss that cannot be “fixed,” we can provide a safe place to process through the heartache where our clients can grow while still holding onto the memory of their loved ones.
My purpose for starting Finding Freedom Therapy was to make the world a better place by addressing trauma and grief from every angle in order to promote healing and increase resilience. In short, we want to change the world by helping others heal.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
While there are some wonderful therapy practices in the DFW area, what sets Finding Freedom Therapy apart is that we provide a specialized focus not only on trauma and grief, but specifically on the more horrific and unspeakable events. And, in order to provide the best and most beneficial care, our clinicians are trained specifically to deal with the most difficult traumas and losses imaginable using evidenced-based modalities. We are constantly training to ensure we can offer the most up-to-date trauma-informed and grief-informed treatments in order to provide legitimate and lasting healing. Depending on the treatment modality used, we also conduct assessments throughout the therapeutic journey to monitor symptoms, enabling us to see our clients’ improvement and to quickly respond when they are stuck. This provides us the ability to be more purposeful in our treatment and help our clients obtain the healing for which they sought out therapy.
We also place tremendous value on empowering our clients. Empowerment is such a vital principle in trauma and grief therapy. Surviving significant trauma or loss creates a feeling of powerlessness or a sense of being out of control in our own lives. If our clients do not have a level of control and power within their therapy, then they will not be able to process the moments when they have felt the most out of control.
Remaining a small practice has also been very beneficial as we maintain the human component. While Finding Freedom Therapy has forms and procedures like any other practice, we strive to always start with where our clients are. Throughout my career, I have worked with many large and impressive establishments. I have watched as, in an effort to create an organized model, they missed the needs of both their staff and their clients. At Finding Freedom Therapy, we work hard not to get lost in the process and instead connect with our clients, empowering them to not only share their story, but to be a part of their own healing journey.
Possibly the most important aspect that sets Finding Freedom Therapy apart is our therapists. I sought out clinicians who believe in making a difference in this world through healing. Each one is passionate about making an impact on their clients and helping them heal. In my practice, I take time to listen to my clinicians, and we mindfully create space for their goals so that they have the opportunity to make the impact they have envisioned. When clinicians are in an environment of growth and empowerment, their capabilities expand, and subsequently they are able to genuinely empower our clients and our community. It is not a flawless system, as human beings are both beautiful and messy, but when mistakes are made, the goal is to have an environment where our clients feel empowered to be open and honest, and where our clinicians feel the same. In this way, growth and healing are possible.
I feel as though I was destined for a career in the helping field from birth. I grew up in a family with two parents who believed in service. Both came from fairly meager beginnings and even when money was tight and we were putting things on layaway, my mom would bring me along to volunteer with her. My dad, who was a big part of my inspiration to help people heal, was a constant beacon of hope. He had more faith in humans than anyone I have ever known, and he always helped me hold onto hope even in the most difficult of times. My parents were by no means perfect, and like many other families we had our struggles. But somehow, despite it all, they managed to instill in their children a strong work ethic and a belief in service to others and our community. It taught me that even when everything is a mess, there is always hope.
Because of my childhood, in addition to my own experiences of trauma and loss, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to make an impact on the world and help others. A key factor that influenced my path was that my father and both of my grandfathers, as well as my brother-in-law, all served in various branches of the military. Especially impactful was the untimely death of my brother-in-law, who was killed in action in 2005 in Iraq. I saw firsthand how that kind of tragic loss can break down a family on so many varying levels. But the most prominent reason why I chose a career treating trauma and loss was because of hope. Each and every time I witness my clients progress from a place of utter devastation to being able to live their lives again, I am in total awe.
Throughout my career as a social worker, I have sought out opportunities to help treat trauma and loss. I have spent time on the frontlines working alongside police officers on-scene, supporting doctors and nurses in the ER and ICU departments, counseling heartbroken parents at the moment of perinatal loss, and even working next to the U.S. National Guard when assisting during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Harvey. I was also honored to work at an inpatient psychiatric facility with active-duty military struggling with combat PTSD.
While this type of work can be heart wrenching and difficult to do at times, I am inspired each and every day by my clients—by their strength and courage, and by their resiliency. And because of my clients, I am moved to continue on this path and to make a difference in this world, even if it is just one life at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love how Dallas has little bits of history hidden throughout the city. My favorite “underground” restaurant is Dakota’s Steakhouse as it is literally underground and has a fabulous story as to why. Other delicious places to eat include Fred’s Downtown Philly, Ida Claire in Addison which also has a lovely vibe, the Rustic, Mignon in Plano is delicious and the owner is so kind, and Cane Rosso Pizza where you have to get the Honey Bastard. For something sweet, Emporium Pies in Deep Elum is divine.
Dog friendly places are especially important to me as Lily is such an important part of my family and of Finding Freedom Therapy! She is a certified Animal Assisted Therapy canine and is present in session with my clients for additional support. Since she works so hard comforting my clients, I like to take her out to Mutts Cantina in Dallas and The Shacks in the Colony.
If I had an afternoon free, I would spend it at the Perot Museum to see their wonderful, rotating exhibits or the Nash Sculpture Garden to attend their fun events. Dallas really does have some fascinating museums: The 6th Floor Museum, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, The Women’s Museum, and the African American Museum are must-sees if you want to do something educational.
To get outside, Klyde Warren Park is always fun and food trucks are normally nearby. There is also the Ronald Kirk Bridge which has scenic views of downtown, Heritage Village allows you to go back in time, and Cedar Ridge Preserve is naturally beautiful and has a selection of good hiking trails. You also can’t go wrong with White Rock Lake or the Dallas Arboretum.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Liz Higgins with Millennial Life Counseling was the person who encouraged me to take my dream to the next level and expand my practice. She has been a friend and support every step of the way.
Jess Griffith, a good friend, has helped me push the bounds of my creativity, not only in my writing, but in how I have envisioned my dream.
My husband, Ryan, has been a huge support and my consigliere, if you will.
Other: Amanda Noyes, LCSW-S- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/amanda-noyes-dallas-tx/222929 Carisa Bustillos-Givens, LPC- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/carisa-bustillos-givens-dallas-tx/856139 Mark Chapman, LCSW, LCDC- https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/mark-w-chapman-dallas-tx/945025