We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Stark, PhD and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kate, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
There are several things about the mental health industry that some outsiders may be unaware of. Many still hold a prejudice against seeking services for emotional, behavioral, or relationship concerns, when in actuality, we can all go through periods of adjustment and could very likely benefit from even short-term therapy. Having a mental health diagnosis or neurodevelopmental disorder shouldn’t carry stigma, whether from outsiders or from the person themselves, such as connecting this diagnosis with a flaw in their identity or suggesting it may degrade their value as a person, as this simply isn’t true. I think the stigma is slowly changing, but it is still there. I hope one day society will view mental health treatment as equally necessary to physical health treatment and that a diagnosis of depression doesn’t make you any less of a person than a diagnosis of diabetes. Further, that diagnosis of depression deserves treatment. I think some outsiders are also unaware of how closely mental and physical health are intertwined. Something else some people are unaware of is what a therapy experience is like. It is more than simply “spilling the tea” or seeking “advice”. Therapists today use research and evidence-based techniques to help people realize their own potential, to learn new skills, and make changes to reach their goals. Your therapist is not only a great listener! We can help you identify and change unhelpful negative thought patterns or negative core beliefs, learn new coping or communication skills, change your response patterns to certain triggers, help you increase your self-compassion, and help you identify your true values. Even teens and our younger clients are able to learn new skills to make some lasting changes with the right therapeutic support.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
PEACE Psychology Center is an outpatient mental health practice located in Southlake. PEACE Stands for psychological evaluations, advocacy, counseling, and education. What sets us apart is that we have several providers who specialize in children, adolescents, and young adults, including mental health, family relationships, and educational concerns. We have some providers who see adults as well. We provide counseling, evaluations, and educational advocacy services for a variety of concerns. Establishing the business took years of preparation in terms of education, training, and clinical experience. However, establishing the business logistically and figuring out new territories such as business expenses, insurance, billing, accounting, and networking were some of the more recent challenges. These are not really covered when you are learning to be a clinician. The learning curve for owning and running a business is a whole new experience for me. I work through these challenges with support from others and a growth mindset, realizing that the benefits will be worth the difficulties and stress. What I would like others to know about our practice is that we recognize that people are often coming to us with significant stressors and that it takes courage to initiate the therapy and evaluation process. We are always striving for our services to improve the quality of life of our clients, and are very passionate about our work.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My best friend is visiting soon so this is a great question! I live closer to Fort Worth so my favorite places to take visitors are the Fort Worth Zoo (although I also love the Dallas Zoo!), west 7th, Buccee’s, and definitely somewhere to get some Tex-Mex. I personally love Chuy’s and Torchy’s Tacos. I also like visiting downtown Grapevine and doing things like a wine or ghost tour. I am somewhat of a homebody so we do a lot of game nights at our house.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are several people that deserve a shoutout who have contributed to my success; my parents, my family, teachers, former supervisors, colleagues, and friends who have all inspired me and have been supportive throughout the years. I also owe a shoutout to Dr. Jaqui Otto, a licensed psychologist in the Keller area, who showed me the ropes of owning a private practice. I also owe a big than you to Dr. Jane Jooste, my former supervisor, for giving me the push that I needed to even open PEACE Psychology Center in the first place. She is now working there as well!

Website: www.peacepsychologycenter.com

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