We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Sarah E. Carlson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Sarah E., what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started Mighty Oaks Counseling with a vision that combined my clinical work, and my own personal growth experiences. After years of working in clinical, school, and agency settings, where I supported children and families through trauma, grief, abuse, bullying, and other difficult life stressors, self-care, mindfulness, and movement became an important addition to my personal and clinical work. I felt that I could provide more wellness and healing services, outside the confines of an agency setting. The main vision of Mighty Oaks is empowerment, individually, and as a family system. We provide individual play therapy, adolescent counseling, adult therapy, family therapy, social skills groups, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness classes. Additionally, I wanted to provide services based on the families financial needs, not based on an insurance company’s dictation of what happens in therapy. Mighty Oaks provides families with a sliding scale, to not only help families work from a budget, but to find more meaning in their counseling process. Although COVID-19 has been tough, our Mighty Oaks branches have grown immensely over this past year. I am so proud of the team of strong women that work under the Mighty Oaks tree, to empower more individuals and clients all over the State of Texas.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The vision of Mighty Oaks is simply one word: empowerment. We work hard to help our children and families feel empowered in their words, feelings, and actions, in the hopes that kindness and caring of themselves translates to others! One of our most popular services, besides individual play therapy, is our Mighty Girls socials skills group. This helps girls, ages 8-12, learn confidence, assertiveness, kindness, empathy, and helps them feel that they are not alone. As a woman-owned business, empowering our female clients came easy, but what has been wonderful to see, is the empowerment of our female clinical team. My hope is to not only support and empower the clients I work with, but also my clinical team, and therefore, their clients. There have been a lot of bumps along the road, including COVID-19, but I have learned to stay true to my vision, while continuing to be flexible (mental, physically, and emotionally). I also believe that the energy you put out there, with be returned to you. I think this is why we have had such growth over the past year. When COVID-19 first hit, I began shifting how we deliver services. We offered child and family fitness classes, social stories, and mindfulness lessons online. I also began publishing more on my blog series, specifically how to talk to children about different events. This contribution has allowed us to reach a wider audience, and for our community to know our main goal is to support our families. Mighty Oaks believes that connection and support is much more important than profit, and large therapy fees.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The wonderful things about North Texas, is there are so many wonderful neighborhoods to visit! We love restaurants, music, and being outside. Here are a few of our favorites: Oak Cliff: Whitehall Exchange Eno’s Pizza Tavern The Kessler Theatre (which will start outdoor concerts soon) North Dallas: Alamo Drafthouse Masami Japanese Sushi & Cuisine Josey Record Store Plano: Whistlebritches Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Pie Tap East Dallas: The Dallas Arboretum Good Records Hypnotic Donuts
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would definitely have to say my husband has been the biggest support. Opening my own business, leaving a consistent income, jumping into the deep end with only 5 clients has been a scary and overwhelming process. His encouragement through every bump and hiccups and helped me continue to push through. Even as COVID-19 hit, and we were unsure what Mighty Oaks would look like during a pandemic, he quit his job, became the business manager of Mighty Oaks, and helped create content for our children and families. We would have not made it through this past year without his dedication. In addition to my husband, Dr. Brooke West of HOPE Child and Family Center of Texas has been a wonderful mentor. We met back in 2006, when I was attending the University of North Texas Center for Play Therapy’s fall conference. She encouraged. me to apply to the doctoral program, and I was accepted a few months later. When I thought about opening a private practice, she allowed me to use her counseling room a couple of nights a week. When I was ready to move full-time, I rented an entire room from her practice in North Dallas. This allowed Mighty Oaks to grow big enough to need our own multi-room counseling space. She has always been there for questions, and helped me navigate all things private practice, and I am forever grateful.
Youtube: Mighty Oaks Counseling and Wellness
Richard Hill Photography